January 16-18, 2005
I spent the next couple of days baking out in the dreamy city of Elat. Elat is at the very bottom tip of Israel in the Negev Desert, on the coast of the Red Sea. It is like any lazy beach town with the half naked people sunbathing, and the parties at night. The weather is beautiful and perfect, and the pace is laid back and chill. I stayed at a nice hostel called Corrine's Hostel and made friends with the quirky owners David and Corrine. David is a sarcastic Israeli man who is straightforward and quote's the Kabbalah often. Corrine is a sweet but straightforward woman who originally came from America but has acclimated to life here well. I like them both a lot, for different reasons.
My second night here I met a man who was one of my first real Israeli friends. I have found it hard o make Israeli friends up until now. The men are agressive and hit on me a lot. The women have friends already and hardly notice me. It seems hard just to make local FRIENDS. But this man, who's name slips my mind, was very nice. He aproached me as just a friend would. We talked a lot because we seemed to be interested in similar things. He is a massage therapist, and gave me resources for Israeli massage schools. He also goes hiking and is vegetarian. He loaned me a map of the local area so that I could plan some hiking trips. We made a nice vegetarian meal and he taught me to play back gammen, a very popular game in Israel. The next day he left for Sinai, and I felt jealous and wanted to go, but it seemed that I had more to experience in Elat first.
So, I woke up on the 17th and went straight to the beach. At the beach that day I met a bunch of birthright kids and had some more new friends. We met that evening and partied and danced at the local hip hop clubs. The next morning we awoke early and took an awesome hike on some local trails. At the top of this mountain/hill we had a small yoga session and enjoyed the beautiful view of 4 countries. From this vantage point we could see Israel, Jordan, Saudie Arabia, and Egypt. Wow, what an amazing feeling to be on top in the middle of it all breathing in the breeze and smiling in the sunshine!
One of the people I had met was named Jeff. Jeff was a very cool, down to earth guy from upstate, New York. He was planning to go to Sinai that afternoon. We were bonding well as friends, and my urge to travel to Egypt was strong so we decided to go together on a little adventure.
We went back to our hotels and packed up and headed for the border!