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March 3rd 2009

 

    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 fine hotel.

    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.

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