I’ve known about the Dead Sea since I was very young from a book which I loved reading and looking at because I was an “intelligent” kid. It took me just two decades later to finally see it in reality and tested, in a very painful way, if it really was salty as the book has told me. Yes, it was very salty indeed!
The Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea (surprised?), can be visited by either going to Israel or Jordan. We came from Amman, Jordan which I believe is one of the cheapest way to do it. The organized tour our hotel in Amman had advertised costs 18 JOD ($25 US) per person but we were willing to go through hell and back just to spend less than that. And we did spend less (about half of it) but made it to a very beautiful place instead of hell (thank heavens).
After a hearty breakfast of what I could remember was a couple of bananas in our room, we left our hotel very early (about 10 am or maybe even as early as 11 am) and walked to the bus stop but only after asking a bazillion people where to find it. It took a while for the bus, or it was a mini bus actually, to fill up but if we were saving a couple of bucks by doing it all on our own I guess it was OK to wait for an hour.. or so.
We couldn’t go all the way to the Dead Sea by bus so we had to get off and find a taxi which we did in milliseconds. The guy who drives the taxi, or what we usually call the driver, asked for a pretty fair price but we still bartered a bit just for the sake of bartering and being cheap. He happily agreed (I think so anyway) and then introduced himself as we got in his car. I forgot his name right away, unfortunately, for I don’t seem to have my “brilliant” memory much these days.
He barely spoke English and it was good because he can’t charge us a lot as he wouldn’t be able to say big numbers or at least not more than ten anyway, but at the same time also bad as he didn’t understand at first that we just wanted to go to the Dead Sea and not to any resorts where we have to pay at least 20 JOD ($28 US) to get in. After a guy at the resort helped us in translating our wishes to the driver, we were finally taken to our destination and even had a long strip of beach all to ourselves- for free!
We didn’t have any proper swimwear so we just stripped down into our underwear. It would have been nice to have flip-flops at least as the beach wasn’t sandy but instead it had very dry soil and the bottom of the sea had hard rock salt which were all rough on my feet. If you are not careful and had nothing on your feet, cutting yourself in the Dead Sea could be the most painful experience in your life. I am so glad I didn’t even though I had the potentials to do stupid things.
The Dead Sea is definitely unlike any other sea but just like any other sea, I was still scared to get in so Wayne, while looking savvy in his long johns (underwear), had to go first. It didn’t matter how shallow or deep he was in, he easily floated. He tried to go deeper but the further he went, the harder it was for him to stand up and reach the bottom of the sea. It was fun watching him but I was getting more and more anxious for my turn as well. We didn’t go together as we took turns with the camera and had limited time due to our taxi not wanting to wait for too long. If only we were sexy and beautiful. Kidding!
When my turn came, I slowly went in the water but I was scared even though there are no fish in the Dead Sea, because no living thing can survive in it, and it is impossible for me to drown. I shouldn’t really worry about the two reasons why I’m scared of the sea because they obviously don’t matter here but I guess I’m just a nervous wreck. I really am.
Anyway, I shaved my legs that morning and why do I have to mention this? Well, going in one of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth with newly shaven legs was quite a pain in the ass- or legs, literally. It was like being poked by thousands of needles while being soaked in salt water. This is why I should have read about the Dead Sea before we went there!
When I got out of the water, probably just two minutes later (I don’t know for sure but I won’t be surprised if I only stayed that long), our good old driver came back from wandering about the beach with some mud. He told me to rub it all over my body and I did, because I’m “obedient”. The mud was very smooth and it is known to have therapeutic qualities, which I guess will do me good. I washed it after with the water from the sea, of course, but i accidentally splashed some water in to my eyes. Oh dear heavens how ever so painful it was! It was like acid in my eyes (not that I have actually put acid in my eyes- yet).
There was no fresh water to rinse ourselves off with until we can get back to our hotel. After we have dried, we could rub salt off our skin and a lot off of our hairs too, more salt than McDonald’s put on their fries! My camera lens got wet and anything that I could clean it with was also wet, if not just slightly, with Dead Sea water and I couldn’t see clearly through it. There was nothing but my saliva (because I’m classy like that) that could do the trick of cleaning it. Oh what a salty day!
After we have left, our dear driver stopped at a roadside stall that sells coffee, etc and whose owner he happens to know. We had a coffee and tried to make a few conversations but it was hard as he couldn’t speak much English like our driver. He didn’t want us to pay him for the coffee, which was nice of him, but we insisted so he said to just give it to his son, who served us the drinks. They were very nice and hospitable, I just couldn’t forget them. And also the very nice Jordanian guy who gave us a ride back to Amman.
The fun experience of the Dead Sea and the nice people of Jordan gave us an amazing day that is hard to forget.
The Dead Sea is shrinking and one day it will actually disappear. It may not be in your lifetime but seeing this place is truly an amazing experience that no one should miss. I’m glad to be lucky enough to enjoy it’s wonder. I hope you do too!
P.S. I was not serious about me being an “intelligent” kid. Because really, I think I was intelligent (without quotation marks). 😀