Mt Nebo

For the majority of my life Mount Nebo was a mini-mountain in Ohio where I once lived.

Once I became more familiar with religion I learned it is a place in Jordan where Moses is said to have a view of the promise land.

On top of the hill is an Olive Tree planted by John Paul II during his visit here as a symbol of peace.

serpentine cross sculpture

In addition to the views there are the remains of a 4th century church that contains an amazing work of mosaic that was able to survive the iconoclastic period during which all art such as this was destroyed.

After our visit to the church on Mount Nebo we stopped in a workshop to see how mosaics are made.

The whole process is fascinating and I would love to ship a table like below back home but it is quite out of my price range, especially for someone currently unemployed. Maybe one day if I have money flowing I’ll go back to Jordan and ship some beautiful mosaics home.

Dead Sea

A visit to Jordan wouldn’t be complete without a chance to float in the dead sea.

During one of our long tour days we arrive at a beach club with pools, a concession, and access to the sea. We are given time to go down to mud up, float, and then to spend some relaxing time at the pools afterwards.

The Dead Sea is 400 meters below sea level and the UV rays don’t affect you as much. Which means no sunburning? The ozone layer is supposedly thicker here and so high that it actually filters out many of the sun’s harmful UV rays. It is not 100% safe but safer for exposure than most locations. Use your best judgement with sunscreen and don’t necessarily rely on your tour guide for advice.

To get the whole experience you pay to have access to the “healing” mud. You can cover your entire body with mud, let it dry, and then go out to the sea to wash it off.

Pro tip: No shaving before you visit. I rarely shave while I am traveling but for some reason I shaved right before my visit to the Dead Sea. Bad idea. Once in the sea I start stinging a little. I am also really freaked out about getting the water in my eyes because that is supposed to be painful as well.

Lathering up in our mud.
Photo credit unknown.

We put our group stuff in a pile and go lather up and stand around to let our mud dry.

Waiting to dry. I blur the faces to protect the innocent.
Photo credit Travel Companion

This isn’t actually a sea but a super-salty lake which cannot sustain life. The salt density of the water means you’ll go for a float; swimming is almost impossible.

We float around in fun shapes.
Photo credit unknown

I didn’t float long since my face did burn a little bit, can’t tell if it is the salt or the sunscreen I had applied to my face. I exited the lake went up to rinse off and take a dip in the pools at the resort. At some point I realize I don’t have my sunglasses. I gave them to someone to hold for me while we applied mud and I could not find them in the pile of bags we had. Because it is the only pair I had for my travels (prescription) and because I am weary from all my travels, I have a mini-meltdown. I run up and down looking for them, accusing others of losing them. Eventually I found them underneath some of my travel companions things, right where they were supposed to be. This mini freak-out is a reminder to take it easy and not to sweat the small stuff – a skill that would be useful for the next few months of travel I have left.

I finally swim a bit in the pools but then it is time to get ready to leave. I enter into the ladies showers and changing room and the women working in the shower are very bossy and tell me where to walk and how to shower. The whole process is a little annoying especially because the shower was terrible. Oh well, it is all part of the experience.

Despite my little setbacks it was a great experience to do a float in the Dead Sea. If I had to do it over again I probably would have scheduled an overnight at the sea so it wouldn’t have been a rushed experience (In a group tour your time is limited). I’ve heard the Israel side is more lively; Israel is on my travel bucket list so maybe one day I will go back….