Tuesday, December 13, 2005

So much to blog about, so little time

I'm back from my little hiatus! Man, I hope I can catch up on blogging all the wierd and wonderful things that have happened the last few days.

Let's start with the wonderful:

I was in Eilat for 2 nights! A local congregation, the Late Late Minyan (yes, that is really what it is called, because it starts at 9:30) organized a trip to Eilat from Thursday night until Saturday night. For 800 NIS (well under $200), we got 2 nights at the Isrotel Lagoona, all meals included, plus bus travel to and from Jerusalem. That is a most excellent deal (Eilat can be expensive: many Israelis go to Turkey rather than Eilat for vacation, to save money), and I hadn't taken a vacation all summer. I desperately needed the beach. I convinced a really nice acquaintance of mine, Mia, to go with me so we could share a hotel room. Turned out that several people I knew were also on the trip, including Aviva C. and Simona F. I also got to meet, once again, the wonderful Purple Parrot, and also a frequent commenter on my blog, Nushyworld!

For those not in the know, Eilat is the southernmost town in Israel. It sits right on the Gulf of Aqaba (or the Gulf of Eilat, depending on whose map you are going by), and affords views of Egypt, Jordan, and, way off in the distance, Saudi Arabi. The water is crystal blue, the sand is white, the mountain views are stunning, the weather is gorgeous pretty much all year, and there is no sales tax! The atmosphere is reminiscent of southern California with a tinge of Las Vegas thrown in for spice. It is very secular, very beautiful, and very fun.

Having been there before, I opted out of the tourist attractions. Others in the group went to the underwater observatory and then snorkeling. I simply hit the beach to soak up some rays. I asked the taxi driver to take me to a non-busy beach far away from the hotel, because though I am willing to go to a co-ed beach, I'm not interested in hanging out in my bathing suit with men who pray at my synagogue. You know what I mean? There is the line of halacha, and there is the line of pas nicht, and one does not have to cross both. Enough said.

Anyhow, I got a few hours of warm, glorious sun at the Dekel Beach in Eilat, and am a happy camper. I also hit the mall (remember, no sales tax! An instant savings of 17 percent!!!) and bought two pairs of boots toward an upcoming winter trip to America (and, also, cold Jerusalem days), and got good deals on various cosmetics, which, as any woman knows, can easily cost a small fortune. Click here to see one of my new pairs of boots, which I got in the camel color. Are they not super-fantastic?

Oh, and the food at the Lagoona is amazing! Three kosher buffet stations (two cold, one hot), open for hours. Everyone on the Late Minyan trip stuffed our faces. And did I mention the open bar that provides free drinks and cakes from 6-12 pm? Yes, Eilat=decadence in every way, I must say. I thought that all of you in America suffering in the cold and rain and snow would like to know that. :-P

PS I did not tan, but neither did I burn. I am a very careful beach-goer.

PPS Next up: Why Eilat is not a good place to spend Shabbat if you observe Shabbat. Weekdays: YES! Shabbat: No, not so much.

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