My current job took me to a shoot in Eilat. I’d never been there. The Mallorca of the Middle-East. Reviews on the net promised parties 24/7, a hotel with medium references, but 5 stars and over 7000 beds. – 7000 people drunk at lunchtime boiling in the sun. Fun.
The great thing of hotel stays is that they suggest you can get your daily swim at 7am. Were we surprised to see the pool closed at 7am? Not really. Even less of a surprise it was, to watch two old ladies pushing away the closed sign and unhooking the chain in order to use the pool at the official opening time of 7am. The 80+ swimming athletes of the keep-body-vertical-not-horizontal-when-in-water kind, climbed in and did their vertical-body breast strokes.
The sporty, tanned, stunningly looking lifeguard with sunglasses turn up tired at 7:30. He dropped down on his little chair and went for a nap. The ladies kept cruising.
We followed the gals, using their gap in the fence and emerging in to the cool chilly water.
What a joy to do your laps and breath the still fresh air in the early morning hours.
Unfortunately some devil had whispered in to the pool architects ear to build it round, the pool, and top it off with some bordering fake rocks to give it an even more lumpy shape. A complete random uneven somethingness of a puddle-pond.
My German mind sprung on work when hopping in to this water-lump. Laps! it screamed. Lanes! Up down up down! I scouted for the tiles on the ground – what is the right and correct lane to swim in? – How did I miss my good old Australian days and their pool lanes labeled with Fast, Medium, Slow and Aqua Play.
Israelis streets are a kind of almost Indian adventure. slow in the middle, fast on the left, faster on the right, no labels how to use them and from behind people circling around you to get through at light speed. All that at a given highway speed limit of 90km/h. No wonder Israel has almost double the yearly road death-toll per 100.000 vehicles of Germany, a country with no speed limit at all.
I tried avoiding any pool death toll and went in nice, straight lines. Following the tile pattern I found unreachable for the architect on the floor I chose the longest possible lane in the lump that ought to be a pool and off I went up down up down.
More elderly water-wrestlers chain-removers came. They put on their goggles. They clipped on their nose clips. They zipped up their flower topped bathing caps. I almost could feel the Spaghetti-Western close up on the eyes piercing us. The senior squad started their Israel-highway-driving freestyle swimming. Plowing, weltering through heavy waves. Open water swimming. – God! Be merciful, send us lanes!
Other peeks and perks from my Israel Travel-Diary, Spring 2012, you can find here: Israelis and Highway-Toilet-Blocks – a Yellow Story | In Jenin a Dip Dive to the Westbank | Survive Swimming in Eilat: A Pool Occupation | On the Way back to Tel Aviv: There’s more to the Picture than Meets the Eye | Scoff Gossip about Israeli Train Station Attendants | With women through Wonderland | The Tailor’s Wife – Another Travel Diary is from India, Spring 2010. You can find its articles starting from here.