As I walked towards the Ein Bobek Beach, my eyes, I am sure, were twinkling. Dead Sea is so much fun and I was getting a second chance to indulge. I was so looking forward to it! Ein Bobek is on the Israel side of the Dead Sea. Dead Sea is a landlocked salt lake between Israel and Jordan. Dead Sea is 430 meters below the sea level. The Dead Sea lies in the desert region, so it was hot when I was there!
We arrived at our hotel at 4.30 pm and we had spa appointments almost immediately. I dumped my luggage and went for the spa. They wrapped me in Dead Sea Mud and covered me in layers and left me in the room! However, when I emerged from the shower, my skin was glowing.
However, I was in a hurry to go to the beach. I changed quickly and emerged. I asked at the reception about the hotel beach. They said they shared it with another hotel and it would anyway close at 6.30 pm. It was 6.15 then. The receptionist advised me to go to the Ein Bokek Beach right across the road to the hotel. It is a public beach.
There were fresh water showers on the public beach and that is important when you wish to enter the Dead Sea. The salt content of the Dead Sea being 33.7%, even a single drop of water in the eyes stings like mad. Standing below the fresh water tap is the quickest way to wash out the salt, should you get it in your eyes! I gave a reassuring glance to the freshwater showers and waded into the lake!
The Ein Bobek Beach has some stones at the shore, so I waded in carefully. The Dead Sea water feels so good on the skin. The Dead Sea has given rise to a big cosmetics industry. Ahava is one popular brand which markets various lotions, creams, mud packs and much more using Dead Sea ingredients. I shopped a lot (by my standards) at their store!
Finally I was in the water, floating, like yo can float only in the dead sea. Reading Nook was just for show, after all I am allowed to be a show off sometimes, more so at the Dead Sea!
The next morning I got up with the sun but clicked it only from my balcony. I was starting off early for Masada. I know I am being greedy, I have already been to the Dead Sea twice, but I surely want more.
PS. I was invited by the Ministry of Tourism, Israel on this trip!
If you are planning to travel to Jordan, I have some good news for you. Byond Travel is offering the readers of Travel Tales from India Rs 6000 off if you book your vacation with them through this link.
Clicking on the link should show you a window with the picture shown above. You can register with the link to avail the discount. The discount is valid only on the first purchase.
Not only that, Byond further lets you personalize your Jordan Itinerary. Once again if you wish to personalize your itinerary and avail a discount, use this link. Since I did a short trip myself (I was invited by Jordan Tourism Board and I have Business Relationship with Byond) I would surely add Petra and Wadi Rum if I were planning a trip again.
If you are looking for reasons to go, I will give you five of my experiences.
Jordan is popular with Christians for the biblical sites. Mt Nebo, Madaba, Bethany Beyond the Jordan, all have deep significance for Christianity.
Amman is the capital city. I found it a beautiful mixture of old and new. They have luxury hotels and brand new shopping malls and they have old amphitheaters and shopping district. I was more fascinated by the history and culture. Shopping malls after a while look the same everywhere.
When my family knew I was traveling to Jordan they were not so thrilled. I told them if the tourism board thought it safe, it must be safe and I am going. I clearly remember my husband saying, “there are millions of Syrian refugees out there.” And I retorted, “yes and all of them would be sitting in Amman.” My trip went perfectly fine. In fact the mandate of the trip was to cover Pope Francis’s visit the country. In spite of being in Middle East, Jordan is a peaceful nation.
A lot of Indians are vegetarians. I am a vegetarian too. Jordan has fabulous vegetarian starters. The people and restaurants are hospitable. They will find something vegetarian for you. As long as you don’t insist on the Indian food, you would do fine in Jordan.
It is an experience of a lifetime to float on the dead sea and read a newspaper! Need I say more? But one has to be very careful to keep the water out of the eyes, it stings like mad!
It was my niece Vasudha who spiked my interest in the Dead Sea, Jordan when she heard that her masi (Aunt) was going. She read in her geography lesson that you could easily float in the Dead Sea. She was quite excited that I was visiting it. Of course she wanted to come but I gave her the ghisa pita (usual) answer, that her masi is not that rich and we will have to wait! I could go because I was invited by the Jordan Tourism Board. Before this conversation happened, I was only mildly interested in Dead Sea.
From the Amman Airport we straight headed to the Dead Sea which is 427 meters below the sea level. Our guide was explaining all this but to my sleep deprived self, it was simply not sinking in. However at the first site of the lake, yes Dead Sea is a lake, all my tiredness vanished. The sky was blue and so was the lake. Like a mirage in the distance I could see ‘floating’ white mountains.
We were staying at Holiday Inn which has its own beach. It was not too crowded in the morning. I almost ran to the beach and got into the water. Once I started floating it was difficult to stand up. It was as if the water was pushing you up and wanted to keep you horizontal. The Dead Sea water and mud is said to be full minerals which are good for the skin.
However let me warm you as the water is 9.6 times more salty than the sea, even a few drops in the eye or the mouth cause severe discomfort. I was lucky, I just got one drop in the eye once. Even that was stinging like mad but only for a few seconds. People who managed to splash it liberally would be seen running to the shower or the water can kept by the thoughtful lifeguards, to get it out of their mouths and eyes. So, you have been warned.
The Dead Sea mud pack is said to be very good for skin. They put it in pots at Holiday Inn next to the beach, you were free to pick it up and smear yourself liberally. And that is how I managed to click the Dead Sea alien selfie. There are even more horror inducing photos of mine but I will give it a pass for now. However, I was not alone.
The life guards at the resort were always happy to lend a hand if you wanted to get some mud art done at the Dead Sea, Jordan. This was a large group from Australia and I so loved their spirit of travel. They were loud, they didn’t care how they looked and they dragged each-other in water among other fun things. They knew how to have fun! I am so much more dull even when I might be 15 years younger to many of them!
Before going to a new destination, I usually Google it for images. I knew reading in the Dead Sea was an iconic picture! I initially planned to take a PG Wodehouse I was carrying but I was scared to soak it in the lake. After breakfast, I spotted an Arabic newspaper on the stands and I decided to risk it rather than the book. It was a good decision as when I got up, I soaked the newspaper thoroughly! That PG Wodehouse was a borrowed book too.
I hope one day and that too not in too distant future I will be able to take my brats to the Dead Sea, the only thing that scares me is that they will liberally get water in their eyes and mouth, so it is better to wait a while I guess. Oh and I need to save tons of money too!