Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 18: Dead Sea and Madaba, Jordan

Day 18 - Dead Sea & Madaba, Jordan

After walking for countless hours and kilometers the day before, I wanted to do nothing but sleep away today. However, not the case when you are on vacation.

After waking up and almost becoming manic depressive at the sight of another breakfast that has more bread....I realized that I am stuck in that movie called Ground hog Day - you know the one where Bill Murray does the same day over and over again? My god people - there are other things to eat in life!!!!

We boarded our bus for our main excursion today - the Dead Sea...

On the way, we visited a few castles that still remain in Jordan from the Crusader time, but really, or focus was on the Dead Sea...have I said that word enought yet?

Well we finally got there...and it was GREAT! I think it even exceeded my expectations!
First off, the Dead Sea is about 33% salt, so you are much more bouyant in it than your would be in a pool or ocean. This is good news for Vince, who sinks like a stone in all bodies of water. In fact, I couldn't wait for him to actually float without having to constantly tread water for once. The interesting thing about the Dead Sea is that with the increase in population of Jordan and Israel, the incoming water sources have been dammed. That combined with the lack of rain (Climate change?), has resulted in the Dead Sea dropping by about 1 meter every year. It is anticipated that if nothing is done, within 50 years, the Dead Sea will be just a salt crud on a sand bed. The Jordanian Government has a project coming online that costs $6 billion dollars to build a channel 250 km from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea to start replenishing the water...will see how that works out.

Anyway, we started by lubing our bodies up with "Dead Sea Mud" - essentially, salty mud taken from the depths of the Dead Sea...this stuff was BLACK! We lathered it on, and (after copious photo shoots) when the salt started burning our skin, we ran into the Dead Sea as one big group to wash it off. What a crazy experience! One of the girls on the tour described the feeling of floating in the Dead Sea as similar to an apple bobbing in water - and she is not far off. You are very bouyant, so you don't have to swim at all, you just bob and lie around. In fact, once you get to the point where your feet don't touch down with gravity, it is difficult to even force yourself to touch the ground due to the bouyancy. I can't describe the feeling - it was just surreal. After about 1 hour in the sea, all the little razor knicks, blisters, etc were flared up red and hurting, so we decided to wash off and head for the pools...

The evening ended with a trip to Madaba - home of some of the best mosaic art from about 400 to 600 AD. We visited a Mosaic Factory, and after seeing price tags of $10,000 for intricate and beautiful works of art, I decided my beer budget belongs back on the bus...much to Vince's delight...

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