The second day of our trip, we went from hiking in the morning to clubbing at night.
Starting at Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, it took us all of 15 minutes to walk to the waterfall where we took turns going in and out of the tiny pool. The winter weather here in Israel is still a bit cold, though nothing compared to the snowstorm we fled from in NYC. If only it were normal to wear a bikini outside during New England wintertime…
That day was also the baby of the group’s birthday. He turned 20. To celebrate, we headed a few hours south to Eilat, Israel’s city most comparable to Las Vegas or Miami. However, we were told we couldn’t be out for very late (12:30 a.m.); those were just the rules of the trip organization. Imagine telling a group of 23-27 year old strangers celebrating a 20 year old’s birthday that they have to head “home” by half past midnight.
The bar we ended up at had TVs that played videos of people doing dumb shit and animals having sex on repeat. The music was a selection of today’s pop hits, along with bouts of classic 90’s hip hop throwbacks. People wandered around drunkenly, smoked shisha, danced, and took turns buying drinks for the birthday boy.
It was the first group outing experience that we were “allowed to be intoxicated” for. The difference between this night out and the last night out in Jerusalem was stark. Despite the fact that earlier in the day, we had pretty much seen everyone in their near naked swimsuit wearing forms, we were all still in the getting-to-know-you phase. On the last night out in Jerusalem, we were all definitely in the I-know-too-much-about-your-poop phase.
I met a kibbutz volunteer who was in Eilat for his weekend off with one of his fellow volunteers. He asked me about our group, where we were from, and what our plans were for later. The look on his face when I told him that our curfew was half past midnight was full of surprise, bewilderment, and embarrassment on my behalf. It pretty much summed up the day perfectly.