When someone mentions vacation, I think beach. That’s just the way it is. Perhaps it was growing up in Southern California, spending summers at lifeguard station 26, or at a friend’s beach club if I was lucky; I love getting grimy with sand, love getting salty from sea water, love reading on a blanket (turning over every 30 minutes), love drinking hot water out of the water bottle I accidentally left uncovered, love feeling wiped out from a day doing nothing.
So, when my sisters and I extended our Israel trip by 5 days, we went to the beach. The plan had been to go down to Eilat in the south, but after hearing that it was 45 degrees Celsius and an uncomfortable five-hour bus ride, we changed our minds and stuck to the nearby Mediterranean shore.
I’ve enjoyed every beach I’ve ever been to, and mostly, all beaches are the same. Cali might have the reputation of Baywatch girls in red suits jogging around all over the place, Sitges outside of Barcelona might encourage toplessness with European abandon, the north coast of the Dominican Republic might have people selling you coconut shakes out of the shell, but really, all beaches are pretty similar.
But outside of Tel Aviv, I saw something I’d never seen on a beach before:
Out of nowhere, a parade of women in modest dress descended onto the sand. They just kept coming, an endless line of them walking down from the bluffs; they laughed, splashed each other, and thoroughly enjoyed the sea breeze while remaining completely covered. It was such a contrast from stereotypical Western beach behavior, and delightful to observe.
Another phenomenon I encountered on the Israeli Mediterranean was this absolutely fantastic older woman. Just look at her: pink lips, fabulous sun hat, stylish black one-piece, lounging at the water’s edge… I totally want to be her when I’m an older woman myself!
And then, you never know what you might find at the beach: washed up jellyfish, sandcastle-building contests, Quasimodo?
Yes, Quasimodo. Rachael took this series of photos of me and Sarah in under 30 seconds. We thought she was taking just one picture. Can you spot Quasi?
And that is why you bring your sisters to the beach with you. (Sarah has no memory of making those faces, by the way.)
Plus, they like to do fancy water jumps, and are lots of fun to be around.