Here are some Dead Sea facts one should know before traveling to Jordan.
There are a few more locations (besides Petra) that are extremely interesting to visitors to this Middle Eastern country. One of them is the Dead Sea. This unique sea stretches between Israel and Jordan, and I just couldn’t wait to see it.
Dead Sea Facts
Hotels and spa centers are rising up on its shores since the sea mud has so many health and beauty benefits. There are many cosmetic products to choose from here, either for facial treatments or the skin in general. You will be recommended to try masks and lotions that result in detoxifying and therapeutic effects. When it comes to the Dead Sea facts, they say that its mud is rich in minerals that can also help with healing skin disorders.
So, don’t be surprised when you stumble across a specific scenery here. There will be a lot of tourists who tirelessly smudge themselves with mud, then sit in the sun for a while and when they cannot take the heat any longer, they plunge into the sea and just stay there – floating.
As for all those things you might have heard regarding swimming here, as another one of the Dead Sea facts – it’s true. It’s a bit tricky to get in, because your legs are falling deep into that (therapeutic) mud, so the best option is to jump right in.
There’s no way to sink anyway due to the salt level (one of the Dead Sea facts is that it has the highest level of salt in the world), and you will feel like a buoy. Once you are in, don’t even bother to try to straighten up or reach the bottom, because the water is constantly pushing you up. It’s almost impossible to do breaststroke swimming since your legs and behind will just keep surfacing up with every move you make. All you can do is lay back and pretend to be – a buoy. It’s useless to wiggle.
And one more thing – try to keep the water out of your eyes or you might end up crying for a few minutes.
I should probably mention that before we reached the Dead Sea, I have heard a lot of those stories about how the water “burns like hell”, how they “wouldn’t advise you to go in”, “too much salt, who knows”, etc. Forget about that!
If it wasn’t healthy, people wouldn’t come here for health treatments. The only “burning” sensation you might have would be if you previously scratched your skin or have mosquito bites. And believe me, that floating feeling is hard to beat. Where else would you totally lose control over your body and limbs to something which also has healing properties? And wouldn’t it be a huge pity to come all the way to the Dead Sea in the Middle East, one of a kind in the whole world, and not to plunge in?
The disappearing lake
The Dead Sea is a Middle Eastern lake, but it was always referred to as the sea. It’s so salty that there is no life here. There are only a few bacteria that can survive these conditions. It is 9 times saltier than any other sea in the world.
The Dead Sea stretches for 70 kilometers in length while it is less than 20 kilometers wide and 300 meters deep. The River Jordan flows into this sea.
It’s famous for being at the bottom of a natural depression that reaches almost 400 meters below sea level.
I remember reading a few Israeli government warnings that the Dead Sea was losing its water level rapidly and that it’s almost 1,2 meters lower every year. This happens due to the water consumption by both countries from the Sea of Galilee and the River Jordan. They are actually redirecting 90 percent of the river. Environmental organizations have been stating for more than a decade that the Dead Sea would totally disappear in 50 years if Israel and Jordan don’t change their policy.
As mere tourists, we cannot change the situation, but we can at least let people know about it. Because once you get to the Dead Sea it’s really hard to believe that it might disappear.
Herd of camels
Going around the Dead Sea, you will be amazed by the white crystals on its shores. There is a nice mist floating above the surface and another shore to be discerned in the distance, the Israeli one.
Speaking of water and looking out of your window on the way to the Gulf of Aqaba, it’s easy to see that is what Jordan lacks. The country even imports water from neighboring countries. Still, the landscape outside is pretty spectacular for someone coming from Europe.
There are only mountain peaks and deserts to be seen along the road. The color of the mountain rocks goes from yellow to black. I was going from one side of the bus to the other to admire the view. And then you spot a few animals in the wild – a herd of camels marching by through the sand and over these small yellow dunes.
Even the color of the sand changes due to the stone it came from, they say. It slowly becomes pink.
When devices go crazy
There is another natural phenomenon not far from Petra. This is the famous Wadi Rum area with beautiful rocks peeking out of the bright or dark rose-colored sand. Wadi Rum became famous due to the movie about Lawrence of Arabia which was filmed here. This desert is also known as the Desert of The Moon or the Red Planet.
What’s interesting about it is the special composition of the rock itself that makes all the electronic equipment go crazy. Once you enter the valley, your mobile phone will stop working. They say that even planes avoid flying over Wadi Rum because their instruments go wild.
Anyway, if you are into sleeping in the desert, under the most beautiful starry night sky, you should book a night at the Bedouin camp. And then wait for the sunrise and another breathtaking view.
The real Bedouins
On your way through Jordan, you will notice a few authentic Bedouin tents in the desert. They are long with traditional colors and they seem to pop up on small hills not very far from the road. They say that the tent costs about 15,000 Euros. Bedouins are considered wealthy, they are usually into cattle and pretty famous for breeding horses.
There is a story I found extremely interesting. I was told about a Bedouin who bought a large house in the capital Amman. He spent a lot of money to create a great home for his family. And, in that vast, nicely settled courtyard of the house, the man has put up – his Bedouin tent, where he continued to sleep.
After so many stories about the desert tribes, I wasn’t surprised to hear about the Bedouin Law that is still valid here. Although Jordan is considered a modern Arab country with public laws like anywhere else in the world, there are still certain traditional rules that remain extremely strong. The state often allows punishments given according to this “alternative” law.
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