The night before our flight ITF PTK and Rishon planned a little shindig at the place that started it all—the infamous Backy Bar in Tel Aviv on Ivn Gvirol. Probably the most important dance bracelet bar of our year, I definitely frequented Backy more than any other nightlife location in that crazy city. The whole crew was there and reunited one last time since our closing tiyul to the Kinneret. The bar opened especially for us on this Sunday night and we took advantage of that for sure. We danced on some bar tops, took some sentimental shots, and said goodbyes to our little cohort for the last time. The girls and I “napped” at Shachar’s before leaving at 7 AM for the airport!!
Off to a rocky start (and an immobile plane), we made it to the shoebox at 10 AM. What is the shoebox you may ask? Well, let’s just say that the airport in Eilat is just that. And we walked from the shoebox to our hotel!
Bouncing between the pool, our hotel’s strip of private beach, the cool and refreshing Red Sea to fight against the 107 degree heat, and the boardwalk (no tax in Eilat = shopping!), we kept busy yet relaxed. Finally got to try Giraffe for lunch (Asian fusion restaurant that had been on my to-go list all year), and start on my tan. One day we ventured out to מגדלור, a beach about 10 minutes south of the main city where people come to snorkel. I personally preferred to see the Nemo and Dori fish from above since I snorkeled on my Taglit trip a few years earlier, but my friend Tori swam around with goggles for hours. And wow the fish get so close! But, admittedly, the real reason she came to Eilat was for the Dolphins…
And the nights only got better. The first night we had dinner in a restaurant all to ourselves (we couldn’t last until the usual 10 PM dinner crowd), drank in the hotel room for a bit (and got a little overly sentimental…oops) and forced ourselves out to 3 Monkey’s Bar where on a Monday night we were definitely the coolest ones there. The absurd Israeli breakfast at the Dan Panorama the next morning soaked up whatever alcohol was leftover from the night before, and night 2 we went to Barbis (pronounced bar-biss not bar-bies like the doll…we think). My French fries came with 9, I repeat, NINE different dipping sauces. They have earned my business for life.
Hayley had to leave after dinner (goodbye forever) and the rest of us tried to distract from the fact we’d be leaving Israel too. Hookah, dancing, and 2 AM burritos seemed to be the solution to our problems, and I’d say we were pretty successful. I personally felt like an old grandma looking at the kids on Taglit and envying their blossoming relationship with this country, but it was also a nice to have the feeling of ownership for this place and not visitor status.
Keeping the sappiness to a minimum, I will only have fond memories of this vacation and see it as the culmination of my friendships with these ladies in Israel. Alternately, it set the stage for a solid beginning of the upcoming long-distance phase we are about to embark. There are no words to express my gratitude to these ladies, each of whom contributes something so refreshing, grounding, and special to my life. In a way, this year was a journey we all took together…starting as strangers, and ending up sisters (if any of them are reading this, they will make fun of me for the rest of my life… one will cry uncontrollably, you know who you are LOL). Missing Eilat already and counting down the days until our next vacation.