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….

In Jordan

I arrive in Jordan and things are already going well. A fancy town car picks us up and our hotel seems pretty nice.

Hotel is nicer than any we had in Egypt. It is a welcome change.

Funky wall art in my hotel room

Amman is peaceful but lively. People talk to you because they are interested in you. It is refreshing to have people not trying to sell you something or to ask you on a date.

We decide to walk up to the citadel because I read somewhere that the Dead Sea scrolls were on display (we later learn those were moved to the Jordan museum). Very disappointed about that mistake but the museum did have a couple of cool things.

Roman Temple of Hercules

Also on the hill is a temple built during the reign of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

We also see other ruins at the top.

Soon it is time to meet with our tour leader. After a brief meeting he takes us on a quick food tour of the area.

We stop first at Habibah Sweets and try some kunafa (one of my favorites) and something else similar.

Soon we are taken to the fruit market. We pick up some snacks for our journeys the next couple days.

Have I said how much I love visiting local food markets?

Soon we say goodnight to our guide the group splits up to grab dinner. I decide to join the girls who are going to get falafel. It is a good choice because it is probably the best falafel I’ve ever had.

Hashem Restaurant Down Town

Then it is off to bed. We head to the desert tomorrow.