The Dead Sea

Still trying to cover our trip to Jordan last November . . .

Pro traveling tip: Don’t try to drive from Wadi Rum to Petra, visit Petra, and then drive up to the Dead Sea.  Not unless you know the route a lot better than we did.  We arrived at our hotel late and cranky.

Luckily it was a really fancy hotel, one of a number of upscale hotels in a resort area on the Dead Sea.  And they take security very seriously — with good reason.  This was the first time I’ve ever had a camera wheeled under our car looking for explosives.  The hotel had a variety of restaurants for every taste.  We were too worn out to make a good decision, so we ended up at an American Sports Bar, featuring bad American food (I cannot recommend their Philly cheese steak) while soccer matches were displayed on the big-screen TVs. The next day we went to the site of Jesus’s baptism, which I’ll get to in another post.  In the afternoon we relaxed back at the hotel, which had no shortage of swimming pools.

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But what you really want to do is walk down endless steps to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth:

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Really, it ain’t much of a beach.  But you’re there to sit in the water.  (Try not to get a mouthful of the water; it is really salty.)

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Also you’re supposed to slather yourself with some Dead Sea mud, which is apparently good for what ails you.  I declined.

Here is the Dead Sea as the sun sets:

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That night we had a magical dinner outdoors with friends of my son and their parents.  Below us a wedding was taking place; cats roamed the terrace looking for treats.  We drank wine and ate great food and talked about football and our children; we looked across the sea at the lights twinkling on the West Bank.  How could anything go wrong in such a world?

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Another post about our trip to Jordan.  Petra is Jordan’s main tourist attraction, about an hour south of Wadi Rum.  Here’s the iconic image of the Treasury (probably a burial chamber):


Here’s a closeup of the urn (I think) at the top of the Treasury:


You get there by walking (or riding in a carriage) through a long, narrow passage:


. . . filled with ancient petroglyphs:


You see lots of camels:


And you can ride one for a few dinars.  Here a camel poses for a photo:


It’s a very commercial place.  Little Bedouin boys are constantly trying to sell you cheap bracelets; old ladies sit cross-legged on the ground and try to sell Petra rocks.  And you have stores like this one:


If you’re adventurous you can climb up into the ruins:


There’s more than just ancient Nabatean ruins.  Here are the remains of a Roman amphitheater:


And here’s the floor of an ancient Greek temple:


Go see it — before the world explodes and it’s too late.