…and mosquitoes. The 6-legged flying evil things are a lot more prevalent in Eilat than they are in Jerusalem. Despite the heat, I had to wrap myself in a blanket to limit their access overnight. The mosquitoes drilled for blood like a continent full of sheikhs who have just realised their wells are running dry. At around 5am, they were replaced by flies trying to suck up moisture from the only available source (my face) the way a fleet of Chelsea tractors drinks fuel. Oh, and some muppet decided to water the trees (and therefore, inadvertently, myself) at 1:30am.
After I woke, I went for a quick and fruitless search for a bakery to get a strudel or something. On my way I located an open-air market being set up. It just stocked the usual stuff you see at any market – cheap underwear, cheaper sunglasses, even cheaper electronic goods. The entry was blocked by a row of “Police” barriers with two gaps where bags were being searched and metal detectors run over bodies.
You don’t realise how serious the security is here until you see a granny’s handbag being rifled through and checked for Semtex. Airports, markets, bars, restaurants, bus stations, malls… Everywhere. And I’ve yet to see a single person moan or complain about the inconvenience. The probably remember all-too-recent incidents where such security has stopped more serious injury, or where it could have had it been in place. I just wish more people at airports worldwide would recognise this fact.
Well, I settled on fruit for breakfast before I was picked up shortly after 9am by another staffer from Lucky Dive and introduced to Roni (I hope I spelled that right) who looked a hell of a lot better in a wetsuit than Alan. No offense to Alan, mind. Roni’s one of these lucky people who gets paid to do her favourite hobby. If she wasn’t working showing people like me great dive sites, she’d be out there anyway diving for free courtesy of the company. I let her pick the sites for the day as she definitely knew the good ones.
Three dives followed – the Satil wreck and two from the Reserve, which incurred an extra 23NIS charge for entry. All three were superb with even better visibility than the day before. Roni was great company and it was heartening to be complimented on my diving when I’m relatively inexperienced. A shame I left my camera in the van as I could have got some great snaps on the last dive, which was fairly shallow.
With time left before my bus when I got back to the dive shop, I took advantage of their internet and allowed Israel’s friendliest cat to curl up on my lap for a while. A final falafel called my name, and a short walk around the block killed the rest of the time before catching the last coach of the day back to Jerusalem.
The route back was quiet and the bus pulled in shortly after 9pm. I gave up waiting for a local bus and walked back to the hostel via my now-regular New City shawarma shop.
Fed up and dived out, I slept like the proverbial on my rooftop perch.