On thursday, we left for Eilat at about noon and took off a big stop at the dead sea which was supposed to take 45 minutes. Benjy and Amit knew about this bunch of hot springs and sulfur pools that show up on the north beaches. Of course, Benjy knows exactly where it is and drives us out to the middle of no where and tells us to hop out. So we strip down to baithing gear and I remember that I’m an idiot and left the flip flops you gave me at home! So I walk down in my naot and we go looking for some springs. The beach is so hard to walk on and eventually I pick up a rock only to realize that it’s a 4cm thick chunk of salt! Anyway, we go looking and these Bedouins who were picnicking pointed us toward a big one. So we walk in the other direction because BENJY KNOWS EXACTLY WHERE HE’S GOING. We see a nice one but there are these guys naked in it so we try going the other way. At this point, Benjy screams at me for not leaving my watch in the car. So I take it off before getting into a spring and it’s all good. We brought water bottles to rinse of anyway and the watch survived the whole trip without a scratch on it. Unfortunately, the rest of us are a little worse for wear. We start walking the other way and thank the Bedouins who were very nice considering that their demographic is responsible for %50+ of the crime in Israel. On the way, we see this red car parked and we walk by to find this red faced boy and girl in the car. Benjy notices the thick windows and reaons that they are a religious couple from a settlement (afterall, we’re in the west bank) who are trying to get some action. We get closer to some springs and then decide that they suck and we should go into the sea. So we go in and the water is great and, unlike the resort beaches, there is tons of mud that hasn’t been carted away by the cosmetics and tourist industry. We have a grand old time and decide to keep walking. About 100 meters down the way, we start walking on these salt formations and they crack beneath our feet and it’s great fun to have the mud make all the squishing sounds. After another 5 meters, we start to sink a little bit. By this point, my naot are totally ruined so we left them with some other stuff to try and find a pool. This was the best decision ever because another 5 meters later and things get dangerous. They start sinking up to their ankles and I take one step and sink up to my knee. I can’t get out so Shmuel has to come help me up. Benjy reasons that the salt is thicker closer to the water and the three of them have no trouble walking right on the tide-line. So I go to follow them only to find that, being a heavier than they are, I sink in much faster and deeper than before. By now, I’m up to my waste in mud and salt and I finally stopped sinking about 5 seconds before they got to me and pulled me out. This continued for about 10 minutes much to my panic and their amusement. Eventually, Shmuel went back to get our stuff and we started walking back. My naot were totally ruined even worse because I had mud, salt and rock covering them inside and out. This was really crappy because walking back meant walking with my feet in pockets of abrasive mud. I’m lagging way behind them and each step is harder and harder because my feet are heavy and I can’t figure out why my feet and legs are burning. I look down and see that my legs are all cut up from sinking in the salt and climbing out has made me bleed in about 6 different places. Anyway, we finally get to the car and Benjy has us all wash off because the car can’t get dirty considering his ass is most seriously on the line. We try to rinse off and as the mud leaves, my skin is just raw as can be. So we stop at a public beach about 5km down the road and we run down to shower. So I’m still walking in my sand-paper-lined naot and boxer shorts and all these Arabs are staring at us screaming and shouting because the water is freezing cold and the wind has just begun to pick up. The water helped things a little and I managed to sleep a bit before we stopped at a rest stop and got coffee and sandwiches. From there, it was about 2.5 hours more driving south. We finally got to the hotel and checked in. The shower never felt so good to be in. Finally, we got moving and went walking around Eilat.