The much anticipated Eilat trip came to an end on Saturday night, but I was too exhausted to do anything other than tuck Eli in and climb into bed myself. I spent all of yesterday being super lazy and unproductive and shamefully skipping Artist Sunday.
Right, enough of this super exciting introduction!
On Friday we had an organized group trip to the Eilat Bird-Watching Park.
Our guide explained about the importance of the location in the birds’ immigration path, and showed us the two ways the smaller birds are handled.
The trapped birds are transported in cloth bags. They have no trouble breathing through the cloth, and they can’t hurt themselves if they thrash about, the way they might in cages. They’re also easier to handle and pick up while in a bag. They are then released back within the hour after all the checks-ups.
Now we all know that the male bird dresses like a pop star from the 80s to attract the female, but I was delighted to learn the real reasoning behind it. It turns out, that the females prefer the male with the longest tail/brightest feathers/loudest voice not because they have bad taste, but because a male wearing something so inappropriate for their surroundings (and that loud, alerting every predator and their grandma of their location) must be very good at surviving, and therefore is less likely to die while the female is laying eggs. Running in comfy shoes is fine, but running on huge high-heels in a tight pencil skirt just as fast? Super impressive! (Strangely enough with humans it’s mostly the females that dress up silly)
While I was snapping photos of the park views, I suddenly realized that it was also the perfect opportunity for me to gather reference material for Boonka. A few people gave me funny looks as I crouched down to take photos of the grass and other uninteresting plantlife that grows there.
One of the birds on the following photo is a doll. They are planted around the area to attract some other type of bird, and it totally works, according to our guide.
After the walk around the park we took a bus to the pools nearby, to look at the flamingos that hang out there munching on crabs, mostly. Flamingos aren’t naturally pink, their feathers get coloured by the algae they consume (or the food colouring some zoos add to their flamingos’ food). Below you can see three younglings, who haven’t eaten enough of the stuff to change colour.
We didn’t actually get out of the bus by the flamingo pools, in order to not scare the birds away. They were totally okay with the big noisy bus though. These guys below here don’t look all that pink either, but I did notice quite a few pinkier ones as we were passing. However, since I had to take all the photos from a moving bus window, most of them turned out unusable.
Back at the hotel, between the eating and the napping, while Husband and Baby were hanging out with other kids in the playroom (when I vacation, I vacation HARD!), I tried to do a sketch in watercolour from the balcony. Even though the sketch looks like poop, I still really enjoyed the whole “painting from the balcony” process.
This is as far as I got:
Because this was very distracting:
Funnily enough, it wasn’t even that hot, I think it was only around 21-22 degrees during the day, I was told the water was 23 degrees, and it felt warmer than the air. I was seduced by the idea of swimming outside in December, and after a lap or two I’d warm up and feel pretty good about myself. Plus there was hardly anyone else in there with me, people mostly sat around on the sunbeds wrapped up in coats and blankets, eating ice cream 🙂
We did a lot of shopping. Basically, the whole of Eilat is like the duty-free area at the airport, so we try to time buying stuff like cameras, phones and laptops with our trip there. It was also really nice to have most of the shops working all throughout the Shabat, which feels pretty exotic, especially to Jerusalem dwellers like us.
I got a cool idea for yet another project while at the bird park, so adding that to the ever growing list of things I want to do. I kind of wish I had sketched more and took more photos, and even though I dragged the sketchbook and camera with me most of the time they still didn’t get half as much use as I would’ve liked. Next time we go Eli will be even older, and I wonder if I’ll get any time to do draw at all.