Seaing the Dead
The Dead Sea was incredible, to put it simply. The water was salty, which wasn’t a surprise, but I never could have imagined just how salty. The rocks that lined the floor felt slimy under my feet, and most of the rocks at the shore were crystallized from all of the salt. Rings of white surrounded the rock structures. I ventured into the Dead Sea tentatively because the water burned the many cuts on my feet. Especially painful was the blister that developed after the daylong hike up Petra. After going in and out up to my ankles three or four times, I finally pushed through the pain and ran in.
What a strange feeling it was, just floating without any effort. The farther I got into the water, the floor drifted away slowly. I was just walking into the deep. After a few moments, my feet popped out from under me and I was laying on the surface. It was so cool, something I have never before experienced and never again will until I return to this place. The water all around me felt as though it was alive, lifting me up at its own will.
Michele, Erin and I decided it was time to exit the water after 15 minutes, and paid for our mud. Thick, black Dead Sea mud that looked like clay. For two and a half dinar, we were able to reach down into the vat and collect handfuls of this clumpy substance.
Within minutes, the whole group was covered head-to-toe in black mud. It dried and hardened on my skin within minutes of application. My face felt stiff and it became a struggle to open my mouth. We all laughed out loud at our eccentric new appearances. Everyone began posing for funny pictures.
I didn’t last more than 15 minutes before I felt the urge to run back into the Dead Sea and let the water wash away the mud. My skin felt silky and slippery as the mud dripped off into the water. The most difficult task was clearing my face of the thick, black mud without infecting my eyes with salt. I wasn’t so successful, so Michele and I ran up to the freshwater showers. Carlene snapped some shots of us.
After I had my fix of the Dead Sea, I jumped into the freshwater pool in a cannonball.
In this water, it took me a minute to figure out I had to swim. No more floating effortlessly. The water was refreshing, and I felt the salt being washed away from my skin. After a few moments in the pool, I was told it was time to go. I climbed out of the pool and trotted back to the locker room so that I could change out of my bathing suit. After changing, I began to collect my belongings from the locker and discovered my camera was missing. I panicked, and the attendant must have felt my pain. He approached me with a quizzical look, and I frantically told him my camera was missing. He made the hand motion of taking a picture, and I nodded. The gentleman grabbed my bag, locked it up, and told me to follow him. Carlene and Rob were waiting outside the locker room, and asked what was wrong. When I told them, Carlene told Rob she would wait for me as I hoped to find my camera.
The man lead me to an office and granted me permission to enter. Behind a large, mahogany desk sat a heavyset man. He asked me what kind of camera I had lost, and I said Sony. His hand reached down and pulled open a drawer, out of which he pulled my camera. I couldn’t believe it! Someone was looking out for me. I thanked him. “Shukran! Shukran!” I was smiling from ear to ear. Losing my camera would have ruined what had been a pleasant day to that point. Carlene said she knew that no one would have taken my camera. “It’s not that type of crowd,” she said. The two of us walked back toward the bus, and were on our way back to Amman. Luckily, my bag was just as heavy as when we arrived. I would have been heartbroken if my camera were gone and my ability to document the remainder of the journey was lost. Thankfully, that was not the case.