miércoles, 10 de julio de 2013

The Dead Sea

After we came back from Aqaba we stayed at the same hostel we stayed in the previous week, The Jordan Tower Hostel. We booked the excursion to the Dead Sea with them for the next day.

The guide that took us and 5 more people there was really friendly, we first went to several famous religious places like Mount Nebo, this is were Moses supposedly died, but they don't know where exactly on the mountain. We liked the history behind these places, but it got a bit boring after a while because there were so many tourists around. What we liked more was a stop we made at the Mosaic Museum called "La Storia". We really like mosaic and it was really interesting to see how detailed the work behind it really is. In a workshop that took place we could see how mosaic was made and used in many types of products and decoration. They were also making the largest mosaic portrait in the world, and Julen and I glued our little piece in it as well, it will take about 3 years to finish...

Our guide took us to a couple of little shops so we could buy something for lunch. Although there wasn't a lot we could have for lunch there, it was still nice to see the local people. In one shop the owner showed us all the different kind of seeds he sold, f.ex. sesame seeds, etc, these are very typical for cooking in Jordan.

It was a very warm day and we really wanted to get to the Dead Sea so we could go into the water.

Because of the very high concentration of salt in the sea, you need to take a shower right after you go in.

You can go to a 5 star resort where you pay 60 Dinars to get in and have access to a shower or you can go to a public resort where you can go for 16 Dinars, but of course it's very basic. Anywhere else, there will be no shower and the salt on your skin wilt crystallize because of the heat, so that is no option.

We are backpackers that just started their long journey, so we went for the 16 Dinar option. It happened to be a bank holiday and there were a lot of people. We went down to the sea and the experience of bathing in the Dead Sea was really fun! We tried the most silly poses you can imagine in the water and you will float every time. There is no chance of drowning, of course that is obvious being the Dead Sea, but when you are there you just try to see what happens ;-)

One thing, be very careful with the water, because if it gets into your eyes, it will burn like hell!!!

You can't really stay in the water for too long as the heat will get to you and so will the salt to your skin.

We took a quick shower to wash off the salt. The bad thing was that the showers here weren't the best, so you had to look for one that more or less worked. After that you just want to sit somewhere in the shadow so you don't fry in the sun, which wasn't easy with that many people around. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth, at 400m below seapoint, so you can have an idea of how warm it was.

As we had lots of time there before we had to meet our guide again, we decided to go back into the water, it was cloudy at that point, so not that warm and there were also less people. We started to look around us properly and we saw certain places with garbage, even in the water, and it just annoyed us a lot.

It was still interesting to see how you could cross to Israel if you wanted without drowning, even tough you would never get there anyway because of the security everywhere. It was a strange sensation for us to see the sea in that desert area, with no living thing in it whatsoever.

Many skin products of the Dead Sea are sold all over Jordan, I don't know how authentic they are or if they work, I didn't try any of them. The mud in the sea itself is supposed to be great for the skin, but it was hard to get your hands on, as you don't want to get water in your eyes, so I eventually gave up and just enjoyed floating around :-)

Before leaving we had a short shower again, we wanted to go into the bathrooms to have a proper shower with soap, but after seeing how dirty everything was and the bad state of them, we decided to wait until we would get back to our hostel. So we ask ourselves the question, where does the money go that we pay for the entrance?

It was a great experience, but we were disappointed to see that, at least the place where we went, wasn't well maintained at all.

Pictures: Julen Esnal