Eilat is a coastal resort at the southern tip of Israel. It really only factored into my trip as a gateway for a guided tour to Petra in Jordan tomorrow, which based on what a couple friends who've been there have conveyed, promises to be phenomenal.
It took a 4+ hour ride on a public bus to reach Eilat--another reason I love Springsteen: one bootleg show on my iPod nearly covered the whole trip, plus a bit of sleep--which meant I got there too late to either see dolphins at its famous Dolphin Reef (I wasn't going to swim with the dolphins, but those who can, can; hopefully I would have at least been able to see/photograph some) or view the impressive coral colors of the Red Sea at the underwater observatory. Not for lack of trying mind you; it took about $20 in cab fare to learn I was too late.
But with the lovely sea, a great promenade walk allowing for excellent photography of the coastline, palm trees and the beautiful mountains of Jordan in the background, wonderful weather, the ability to wear shorts, an indoor shopping mall complete with a McDonald's, western music playing along the promenade, and an excellent Asian restaurant in my hotel at which I just had the best meal of my trip so far--sushi and Malaysian fish--all served to make the past 5 hours or so more acutely pleasurable than any of my time in Jerusalem. Of course, given another 3 hours of daylight to see dolphins and the coral reef, and I would be completely bored here. There's a reason I've never made Acapulco, Hawaii or other beachy locations a vacation destination. But for a little while, Eilat has been exactly what I needed.
Early to bed, early to rise. The bus leaves for Petra tomorrow at 6:50 am. Then it's back to Eilat, for a small-plane flight to Tel Aviv, arriving near 10:00pm. So until next time...