Monday, July 9, 2007

Hotter than Eilat in July...

Nope, sorry. If there is anything hotter than Eilat in July I'm not sure I want to know about it. (Actually, it was a practically balmy 99 degrees (37C) instead of the 114(!!!) (45C) it was the last time we were there. Hot, but bearable. I'm still traumatized from the last visit though.)
If you haven't already guessed, we spent this past weekend down in Eilat, an Israeli resort town on the Red Sea (the very tip of that little downward pointing bit of Israel which is sandwiched between Egypt and Jordan) on a trip for all the employees of Jay's company. In other words, we were on vacation with 130 of our nearest and dearest... (When you're management these trips are pretty much compulsory. Oh, and the company just subsidizes it, they don't pay for it all, so it actually ends up costing the employees a fair amount. Bygones.)

The city is pretty much what you'd expect - loads and loads of big hotels, mediocre food, lots of street stalls and shops, a very narrow beach (because the hotels all go nearly down to the water), tons of water sports available (for a price of course), etc. (In case I haven't mentioned it, Eilat has never been my destination of choice - it's way too crowded and more than a little provincial, and hotter than all the fires of hell in mid-summer. Thousands of other people apparently disagree with me though.)

If you look past the rampant commercialism that is the city itself the setting is spectacular - there are coral reefs, incredibly calm, clear waters, striking desert mountains... It's just a shame that it looks more like Atlantic City than a desert oasis these days.

Jay and Itai took the company bus down Thursday morning. Maya had her preschool end-of-year event that night (more about that in another post) though so she and I stayed home for that and then flew down Friday morning (so much more civilized). That afternoon Jay surprised me with an Ayurveda (hot rock) massage at the hotel spa (divine!) and then we all (the whole company) went out on a glass bottom boat for a 2 hour cruise to gawk at the coral reef through the smaller-than-I'd-have-expected glass windows on the boat's floor, followed by a quick dip off the boat (that part was lovely) and then rush back to get ready for a company dinner.

Maya on the boat (never even made it to the fish, let alone the swim)

The following day we all went to the aquarium / undersea observatory. We'd been several times before but that's always good fun. Itai particularly liked the multi-media Oceanarium movie (complete with rocking seats and freaky effects), while Maya preferred the play areas with spitting fish and hatching turtles. What? Oh, the fish. Yeah, they looked at those for a few minutes too.

In between all of this the hotel put on shows of a surprisingly high level - an "African Circus" featuring amazing acrobats from Kenya, some kind of Kung Fu team, a Peter Pan play, and others... The kids were in heaven. Okay, yes, I enjoyed the acrobats too - they were spectacular. The Kung Fu didn't do it for me, though I heard that the guy who threw a needle THROUGH GLASS to pop a balloon on the other side was pretty impressive.

A few glitches aside (I fell down some slippery metal steps getting off the boat - just a few bruises and a lot of embarrassment - and they never brought a bed for Maya so she squeezed in with Itai - and fell out twice - which earned us a free lunch as compensation) we had a nice weekend. It wouldn't have been my first choice for how to spend my birthday weekend, but it was nice all the same.


deedee said...

I have never figured out why people go to the beach when it's so hot. We head to the mountains for cool air and hiking. I know you didn't choose to go there , your husband's company did...I bet that would be a fun place to go snorkeling, though.

Unknown said...

I drove through the Mojave Desert last week as part of my road trip with a friend...turns out it was during a record-breaking heat wave! 120 lovely degrees!

Very cute pictures, by the way! Looks like everyone had a good time! ;)

Jen said...

I went and picked my cousin up at the Phoenix Airport last week. 117 degrees! We all thought we were going to die! yuck! I would take your destination any day - commercialism and all :)

Kim said...

That is a cool looking place Robin! (Even if it is a tourist trap) Looks like the kids had a blast. Sorry about your fall! Happy Late Birthday to you my friend.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Happy Birthday!

I'm not sure if it is age, or what, but anything over 90 turns me tres cranky!!!