The "Red Sea Fish" burnt down
one night. On reflection it was probably a good thing for the City
of Eilat. The place was something of an eyesore, perched as it was
above the main road opposite the petrol station, and in full view of the
Those who thought fondly of it,
encouraged its owner to rebuild. Which he tried to do with the help
of Youth Hostel Americans who offered to work unpaid.
The owner of the "Red Sea
Fish" didn't quite trust me. He had a story he told. Held
his audience spell bound. On my nineteenth birthday he had offered
me a free beer. I had thanked him in Swahili. Our eyes met
briefly. It's not so much lying as it is wanting to impress, until
the world becomes small.
Even after it was gone, the ground upon which the "Red Sea Fish"
had stood was the place to wait for work. You could be there in the
early morning, stare down at the petrol station, watch an Israeli tank gas
up while a Bedouin and his camel wandered silently by.