This morning I enjoyed my last shower for an indefinite period. We are in Eilat at the southern tip where Israel, Egypt and Jordan meet and where the trail begins.
We arrived in Tel Aviv inadvertently on Shabbat (which is from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) and all public transportation had ceased. There was not a plane, train, bus or donkey to be had in the state of Israel. Taxi was the only mode of transport and we paid a steep premium. Our hostel on the Tel Aviv beach had funky plumbing and a communal bathroom but a gorgeous view of the surf and suited us just fine. We wandered to a nearby takeout for a delicious “salty cheese and olive” bannock turnover for dinner for 16 shekels (approximately $7.00) and felt completely safe.
While waiting last night for our flight to Eilat we met a lady named Joy and her 18-month-old baby. She was from Montreal and was on her way to Petra in Jordan to meet her Jordanian husband. Our original plan was to see Petra before starting the trail but because the cost was prohibitive, we nixed it. So when she invited us to drive there with her and eat with her family in their cave we jumped on it. But alas, we were turned away at the Jordanian border because of a recently implemented advance visa requirement. So it was another taxi to the shelter hostel in Eilat.
We got stove fuel today, sorted our packs and celebrated the begin of the trek by dipping our feet in the Red Sea. Tomorrow we start to walk. We are anxious to be on our way even though the weight of our packs is daunting. The weather has been cool, windy and rainy but it’s time to limbo (not “Limpo”) and we are ready. (I just hope the bar is not set to low)!