Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yam Hamelech - There Is Salt In My Eye


The Salty Seas

Taking a therapeutic dip...

But more on that later...

Wow! This Israel thing is just dragging out. If only the actual trip was this long.

I failed to mention in my last Israel post about Israel's latest project. They always have some project going on. And because Israel is the size of my pinkie, their projects affect the entire Country.

They have undertaken the construction of a train route "The Railroad Project". Uh, like I said, Israel is the size of my pinkie. Really, no need for a train route.

They are trying to eliminate or minimize traffic or something, but we all know, THAT will never happen.

Frankly, we are still all waiting for the END of this project to happen, and that is so not happening either.

In fact, when we were on are way from "Monkey Park" to "Mini Israel" my husband asked the taxi d

"Ma Zeh (What's t

thinking it was some beautifully constructed walkway up to a Mountain.

Well, apparently it was elevated railroad tracks that looked like the "Great Wall of China" only it abruptly ended at a mountain.

Why you ask?

Because the very bright, Israeli Engineers
failed to account for the necessary drilling through mountain to continue the railroad and then they ran outta money. So if you ever want to take a scenic train ride through Israel, just be prepared to disembark 500 feet from the ground and bring your repelling equipment with.

Speaking of mountain

This is just some of the view we had on the way down to "Yam Hamelech". This is just one part of Masada. Masada is the mountain that King Herod ran to when Jerusalem was conquered by the Romans and he built a huge Fortress there. It is over 1300 feet above the "Dead Sea". It is a popular tourist attraction due to the remains of the fortress and some of its contents. While there is a cable car that can take you up most of the way, I have climbed Masada twice. And by climbed, I mean CLIMBED - from the bottom up beginning at 3 in the morning and reaching the summit/fortress at 5 am just in time for the HOT sun to reveal itself. But this day, just passing by.

Yam Hamelech - literally translated means "Sea of the Salt", because it is a sea full of salt among other minerals. However, it is typically referred to its more loose translation "The Dead Sea", because it is so dense with minerals, no creature can thrive or live in this water.

Yam Hamelech is THE lowest point on the face of the earth. It is 1300 feet BELOW sea level.

But Geography, Geology, Math and History aside, my favorite part about Yam Hamelch is the SPAS!

We stayed at "Le Meridian", a lovely 5 star hotel, IF you can really call any hotel in Israel 5 stars (It's a lack of custo
mer service/profound difference in mentality thing).

Our room/rooms were awesome. We had a family suite. Walked in one door and had a lovely 3 foot by 3 foot entrance. Straight ahead was a huge living room with a couch that opened into sleeping for two. We added a cot to this area. And, I kid you not - there was still room for roughly five more beds in this room. In the room was a TV - so I had no idea what my kids were watching, Scooby Doo and Dora speaking Hebrew, mostly. And there was a walk in kitchenette with fridge.

Back track to 3 foot entrance and to the right, a completely separate room that belongs to Bam, Hun and myself. In this room was a huge bathroom with separate shower and Jacuzzi tub.

Each room had a lovely balcony. We were a corner unit, so the kids balcony looked directly over the water, while ours wrapped around the corner and gave us a view of both, the Dead Sea and ..... mountains and and ..... MacDonalds.

The pros to this set up:

1. The privacy factor, kids had their space, we had ours (Bam included). They could go to sleep and we could chill and watch a Movie and not disturb them...

2. Space - we had sooooooo
much space.

The Cons:
1. The privacy factor. We were separated by an entire entrance. If a kid woke up in middle of the night and left the main doo
r of our unit, I would be none the wiser.

2. One bathroom, in the space that belonged to Hun and myself. It would have been smart for space like this to eithe
r have 2 bathrooms or create a Jack and Jill entrance to the bathroom, so one does not need to enter our room to use it, but this unit must have been engineered by the train people.

3. I would never know if my kids went out on the balcony and jumped. This does not really leave me having a good nights sleep.

Eh ... I can't complain - pool and spa, pool and spa , yum food galore, pool and spa...

We got there Tuesday late morning. We checked in. We hung by the pool till 530 pm. We gave baths and headed to the
dining room at 6:30 where there was a spread that could feed a small country in Africa. We pigged out.

I will interject here that also with us at the hotel was Zeidy (my Dad), D. my brother and S. my brother with his wife an
d 3 kids. My mom refused to come because she is a party pooper does not like to sit at a pool all day. I guess I got the sun worshipping/pool sitting genes from Dad then.

After pigging out, we put kiddies to bed and wat
ched "Gran Torino".

Breakfast and Dinner is included in our stay. So the next morning we pigged out again, and then went down to the actual Yam Hamelech. Because the water is so dense with minerals, you automatically just float. One can not really sink in the Dead Sea. But word of advice - don't shave IMMEDIATELY preceding your Dead Sea entrance. It's like pouring salt on a wound, LITERALLY!

People from all over the world come visit the
Dead Sea spas, because they deem the natural mineral dense waters to be extremely therapeutic, for various maladies. I don't know about that, because thankfully, I didn't go with any specific maladies. But I do know this, if you want to get all greased up, take a dip in this mineral laced water. And DO NOT touch your eyes.

My older kids did make an entrance attempt. After a few seconds of, "My pee pee is burning" Ro and Ate actually stayed for a while. So, was not enamored of burning "pee pees".

After all of 40 minutes on the beach, we headed back to the pool, where we remained again, until dinner time.

The pool side cafe provided us with lunch and ices and slushies, and their version of a Frappacino, which was more Frap and less Cino, but YUM.

And today there was entertainment by the p
ool. If you could call it that.

Like everything else I touched on that refers to the odd mentality that belong to Israelis, family entertainment at the pool seems to follow suit. I was still in the room nursing Bam, when the children fun time at the pool was taking place. When I came down I saw that So was involved in some team play at the shallow end of the pool. Three women and a guy were running this particular event. The women were wearing a sequined midriff baring top and the most minute amount of material covering their toochis, that one MIGHT refer to as a skirt. They had bright yellow and pink make up all over their face and had metallic false eye lashes.

Every so often, the Israeli version of a "theme pa
rk" character would come out and wave to the kids. We are talking about costumes that look like they were stolen from a crypt where mediocre college mascots went to die. There was a cross between Big Bird and a scarecrow. I saw a bear/rodent thing. They all looked as if they have never seen the inside of a cleaners. It gave me the heeby jeebies, frankly, and I am an adult.

I came to find out later, about one particular game the children were playing in the pool. The activity morons directors shot out some small round foam balls and the kids were divided into boys against girls. They had to collect as many of the foam balls as they could and were specifically directed to grab as many as they could and STUFF THEM IN THEIR BATHING SUITS, to collect them. The girls stuffed them down the tops of their swim suits while the boys stuffed them down the front of their pants. I only found this out when I found some leftover foam balls floating in the pool and asked my brother what they were.


Then, at 12 pm, at a pool full of families with small impresionable children, they decided to move on to games for Dads. I am h
appy to say, Hun did not participate.

They called up a Dad and the object of the game w
as to finish a race and beat his opponents time. Simple enough, right?

Lets throw in some extra details.

Dad comes up and puts on a bright red wig
that has rollers in it. He then has a really awful make-up job done to his face. He also steps into a costume that will give the illusion he is wearing a sequined bikini, complete with stuffing in the chest area to create the illusions of "cachungas" the size of Dolly Parton's. He then chugs a beer, A BEER (12:00 in the afternoon y'all) and then jumps in the pool and swims the width and gets out and races three times around a poll . TIME!

It's "Beer Chugging, Dad In Drag"
funtime y'all.

My brother and I were cracking up at the abs
urdity and Hun was not amused at all.

We were at the pool all day, except I left m fam
ily for an hour and a half when I went to get a massage and a facial - oh yeeeeeeah!

We had another yum dinner spread. At dinner, some more bizarre looking characters came by to let us know that there would be "FAMILY" entertainment that night in the little lounge. It would be a Circus act for children beginning at ....... 9 pm at night. Uh, 9 pm you say? For children? Ha!

That night, after putting the sun stroked, exhausted children to sleep, I left Hun with the kids and went with my brother D. and my Dad across the road to shops and made my purchases of "spa" products. "Dead Sea" and "Ahava" lotions and creams galore. I hope I brought back enough, because I don't know the next time I will be in Israel.

On the way back into the hotel, my brother and I
decided to check out the family friendly "Circus". We peeked in and after seeing a quite scantily clad woman wearing a next to nothing "ringmaster" outfit (the sexy version - only she was a bit overly plump for it) and five adult men on stage, I was quite thankful that my young kiddies were tucked safely in their beds. That nights Movie for Hun and myself - "Doubt".

The next morning - more YUM breakfast.
We were checking out that morning, and our plan was to stop off at a tourist attraction later in the afternoon, on the way back to Jerusalem. So we had about 3 solid hours to be at the pool.

I was sitting in the shallow end with my kids, watching them as I always do. So would swim off every so often, because she has mastered the art of swimming in the deep. I would watch her go off and return. I am one of these people who makes sure my children take swimming lessons, because I believe it is a necessity in life to know how to keep yourself afloat in water. However, I NEVER EVER leave the kids to ONLY the attention of Lifeguards. Lifeguards can not and should not be trusted as the sole supervisors of those swimming in the water, in Israel or elsewhere for that matter.

But I certainly did not trust the lifeguards at this particular pool. While there were lifeguard towers up high on either side of this rather large pool, 2 men chose to sit in low down chairs together, right next to each other, smoking and chatting.

I was sitting on a ledge in the shallow end watching my two younger kids one foot ahead of me playing. The fact that I did not see what was happening ONE foot to the right of me, is an indication of how concentrated I am on my own children.

But I looked up across the pool at the lif
eguard yelling, pointing and blowing his whistle, while still on the deck of the pool.

The same time I looked to my right, and saw a small girl in a wet suit, face down, still and floating, was the same moment an older girl (who turned out to be her sister) quickly pulled her out. As soon as she came above water, she took a breath and started crying.

I was livid. The lifeguard, who never jumped in and could almost not be heard over the poolside noise was saying,

"Ani Samti Lev - V'he Ozeret"

Meaning, "I was paying attention, and I got her (the sister) to help."

I shudder to think what would have happened if one more minute, or even a few more seconds went by.

It just reiterates to me, my feeling that parents should not feel a false sense of security just because a lifeguard is in the area. As parents, we are responsible for our children.

And in other news ... I get that Europeans are a more liberal bunch. In general, they laugh upon us that we are so uptight about our bodies and that we have a sense of privacy about things. But, when you join tourists from around the world, some of whom very much retain a sense of dignity, please do not let your 8 year old boy walk around the pool naked. And why was it that the lifeguard only said something about it, when the naked 8 year old boy actually started walking into the pool, with his overly hair dyed, smiling European mother right behind him. I mean, it's not like the lifeguards were actually busy watching those who were drowning swimming in the pool.

Besides for those few snafus, Yam Hamelech was the actual VACATION part of our VACATION, and much enjoyed.

Brother D. and Ate
(Hard to see in this picture, but evidence of previously posted "Ate's face meeting pavement)

So and Hun having Fun!

The Cousins hanging with Zeidy (Grandpa).

Cousin L. and Ate. They are about the same age and practically inseparable. Ate wakes up every morning and proclaims,
"I want to play with L. She my best fend. I lub her."
(She is kind of a seductress if you ask me.)

Here they are again... I kid you not, they picked their own small square table in the dining room to dine at. Reminded me of the meatball scene in "Lady And The Tramp".

And what's Bam been up to you ask?

He did a whole lot of this. He loved the pool and the sun...

But he is just as happy after a nice warm bath.

Just starting one of our glorious days - (don't mind the mess)

Ate tells the best stories at dinner time.

Yam Hamelech was great, but this means there are only 3 days left in Israel.

5 have shown Orah a little love:

Candice said...

Looks like your clan is having a great time. I can't believe how big your little one is getting. He's adorable!

How often to you go to Israel to visit?

Candice said...

Or I suppose I should say it looks like they HAD a great time. I realize that you aren't still there.

Brain fart.

Carry on. ;)

elisha said...

I want to go to a resort!!! Maybe if I say it enough times it will happen. Maybe not. It looks like you had fun and seems like it was a typical israeli experience!

Anonymous said...

Cute videos. Nice view indeed. What, Hun, couldn't catch a proper minyan?
Did u write that ur kids pished in Yam Hamelach and they were complaining that it burned?? Ha!
Your resort experience def sounded fun, relaxing, and weird with all the shenanigans/entertainment by the pool. But I guess ur life here is waaay more exciting/interesting Laundry Lady!
- Miss S.

Heidi @ Tayterjaq's Rebels said...

Looks like lots of fun. The view from your balcony looks awesome.