Monday, January 3, 2011
Oh, it was fabulous.
If I had a million dollars and a private plane, I'd go there every weekend.
It's about a 4-hour drive from our house to the Movenpick Tala Bay, just south of Aqaba. Incidentally, for you geography buffs out there, we were a few kilometers north of Saudi Arabia - we could've walked to the border. Across the water we could see Egypt and Israel. Shay thought that was pretty cool. (Go to the hotel website and you can see a map of just where we were.)
The drive down was boring until the last hour-ish, when we descended into canyons that were just - words fail - stunning. Efficient packer that I am, I'd packed the camera in the back of the car. So no pictures of that. But it makes me excited to see Wadi Rum, which is somewhere in those canyons. (On the return trip, we went a different way, along the Israeli border and next to the Dead Sea. Even more beautiful, looking down at the turquoise waters of the Dead Sea - and again, no camera.)
We spent no time at all in the town of Aqaba, unless you count driving through it on our way to the resort. The town looked interesting, but there was a beach calling our name just down the road.
It was a really nice resort. Lots of pools, though only one is heated, so that's where we spent most of our water time. Kyra swam back and forth, back and forth. It was scary, as she's a self-taught swimmer, and I kept expecting her to go under from exhaustion. The heated pool is not shallow. At one point, after her umpteenth lap across, she took a deep gasping breath and said "I definitely need to take some swim lessons." Yes, Kyra: this summer you most certainly will.
Aidan loved the gigantic waterslide. It was two or three stories tall, and despite the fact that it dumped into one of the cold pools, we couldn't keep him off of it.
Shay would probably tell you that his favorite part was tossing the football with his dad out on the sandy beach. Or maybe it was the pizza delivered poolside for lunch.
Ainsley had a blast digging on the beach, and all of the kids loved running on the floating dock, which was quite bumpy because of all of the waves.
Personally, I loved that moment when the waiter came up to me while I was sitting under an umbrella on the beach and asked what I would like to drink. Dang if that latte wasn't delicious.
The only downside was that it was phenomenally expensive. We needed two rooms because of our gigantic family, so even at the government rate that was a lot of cash. And the food was expensive, too. We spent more on one dinner at the buffet - about $140 - than we did on one hotel room, and that's with the two youngest eating for free. Aqaba will be one of those places we'll save up our pennies for, so we can go a few more times while we're here.
Kyra was afraid of the extremely wobbly dock. So was Aidan. So they held hands and made it safely back to shore.
That's Egypt behind us...
loved these signs along the way:
the amazing waterslide:
There is a similar picture in my parents' albums, of my angelic baby sister smiling for the camera while I just looked pissed. So this cracked me up: