With a plague of jellyfish, said to be traveling in a mass 125 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide, and deep storms coming to Israel's shores, it would appear that the safe haven of summer - the beach - is now part of the "situation." And so, with the sun beating down on our heads and the hope of beaches safe from bombs and slimy creatures slipping away, the search begins for reasonable alternatives closer to home.
A beach atmosphere can definitely be created on a rooftop or balcony or in a backyard with an impressive range of kiddie pools in varying sizes. While they may not have water circulation, bugs like to call them home and they can be deflated by unintended punctures. Still, in the search for escapist solutions, they are second to none.
Toy stores carry tiny kiddie pools (about NIS 50) that can hold two toddlers and a few rubber ducks (about NIS 5 a head). Because children's skin is especially sensitive to the sun and they don't like putting on lotions, the top-of-the-line kiddie pool is equipped with a sunshade, giving it the appearance of a plastic canopy bed (NIS 1,000 and its yours).
Older children can also wade in the protected home space. At prices ranging from NIS 250-300, one can buy a pool suitable for up to three 10-year olds, or an average-sized parent and one child. Babies can wade in them with individual floats in the shapes of shoes, planes and cars (NIS 24). Most inflatable pools in these sizes have inflatable walls that can be leaned on without fear of causing a flood, but some pools are made of impermeable sheets attached to a plastic frame that supports them.
These pools are cat claw-proof and cigarette-proof, but give one the unpleasant sensation of sitting in a pot on the stove.
The larger pools, which can host up to five adults for an alternative beach party, are sold for about NIS 400. Their walls are almost 90 cm high and can be safely leaned on without worry, but their regular maintenance can be quite taxing. It takes at least 30 minutes to inflate them and especially large plastic sheets are needed to cover them.
The more difficult problem, both practically and in terms of guilt feelings, arises when it becomes necessary to empty the pool. This does not need to be done every time the water temperature rises. The recommended method to cool the water down is to use ice cubes (for smaller pools) or the contents of a few dozen paper cups filled with water and then frozen (for larger pools).
The water should, however, be replaced about once a week or salted to create an authentic effect.
Water rifles are by far the most popular poolside entertainment, at least among children. Traditional games such as Nerf mallets cost only NIS 27, and Speedball, a game involving a ball strung onto two strings which are pulled to the side, throwing the ball to the other side, can be had for only NIS 10. But the real hits are hand-held water cannons.
These rifles, more suitable for washing elephants or dispersing riots that spritzing children, can be purchased for about NIS 30. But for NIS 282, one may buy a real mega cannon in a fashionable Spider-Man design. The children may perspire a little when trying to pick them up but that's why they have the pool.
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