Took about 1 hour to drive from Amman to the Dead Sea via Madaba and Mount Nebo. Nice highway all the way. Once we left the outskirts of Amman the road went through some spectacular scenery as we went down the Great Rift Valley to reach the Dead Sea.
Again, there is a lot of history in the area; one important one is the site where John the Baptist is supposed to have baptized Jesus.
The Jordanian side of the Dead Sea has about 10 resorts strung out along the Dead Sea shores. The Resorts are all high-end resorts with one day use area; we stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort, which was a very nice, spread out, expansive resort, elegantly built with marble everywhere.
They have 4 outdoor pools including one huge heated pool and Jacuzzi. This pool was heated to 30C, so felt like a giant outdoor bathtub 🙂 . Unfortunately, the area around the Dead Sea is also dead; there are no other choices of outside (the resorts) restaurants/entertainment except for 1 fast food place and one restaurant above the fast food place. Breakfast is included in all Middle Eastern hotels, so we used this outside restaurant for lunch/dinners as we generally don’t like hotel restaurants and prefer to patronize local places outside the hotels.
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, at 430m (approx. 1400ft) below sea level. Being this low, the atmospheric pressure is higher and hence there is much more oxygen in the air. Did not really notice any difference. The landscape around the Dead Sea is very stark; mostly rock and sand, with small scrub here and there which the Bedouins use to get their goat and sheep herds to feed on. The Bedouins live in this area and live in very simple tents with about 2-5 tents in one area, and a fenced in area to keep their goats and sheep in overnight. They are nomadic, so their housing needs to be very simple. Not sure how they get their drinking water as the landscape was a desert. . Seems like a tough life, but they have been doing this for generations, so have figured it out.
The River Jordan flows into the Dead Sea, and no river flows out. So the water in the Dead Sea evaporates and over time, the salinity of the sea has become so high, that there is no marine life in the Dead Sea; it is truly dead. The concentration of the salts in the Dead Sea is about 8-10 times what it is in a normal sea. Therefore, you have to be very careful NOT to get an of the Dead Sea water in your mouth, nose or eyes, as it stings very, very badly if you do. Trust me, I found out the hard way 🙁 . The Dead Sea water is very, very bitter on the tongue, to the point where it hurts. Due to its high mineral and saline concentration, it means that you can freely and easily float in the Dead Sea effortlessly, like sleeping on water; which is truly an amazing experience.
The Dead Sea was incredibly clear (could easily see 6-10ft down), which I found surprising as I assumed that marine life was required to keep the water clear. The water is clear, but when you disturb the water (by creating underwater waves), the water becomes translucent, like gel. I hope the pictures show this.
The Dead Sea mud is supposed to be very good for the skin, so having a mud mask is the main activity here; you take a dip in the Dead Sea first, then mud yourself from head to toe, wait for 15 minutes for the mud to dry, and then go back into the Dead Sea to rinse off the mud (only for the body). The head and face is rinsed off in fresh water. The mud color is black, so you see many “black” people at the beach 🙂 .
Saw my very first (& only) female conservative Muslim swimming costume. A woman came down to the beach in a light blue costume (long pants, long sleeved top, head completely covered, shoes and sunglasses; see picture. Glad they do venture out swimming with others.
Spent 2 days here, complete relaxation, as there was nothing else to do here and then drove off to Karak & Petra
Karak & Petra next
This entry was posted in Jordan, Jordan Nov 2013, Middle East