Friday, August 05, 2005

The Dead Sea

Today I visited the Dead Sea with Yaacov, his brother Zohar, and our friend Adam. It was my first trip to the Dead Sea. I know, I know - I have been living in Israel almost a year and it's less than an hour away from Jerusalem. Hey, I finally made it. If I had known that it was this cool, I would have gone sooner.

There are several options when visiting the Dead Sea. You can go to a hotel spa and pay for a spa treatment (massage, pedi, mani, etc.) and then use the facilities at the hotel (pool, beach, sulfur tubs, Dead Sea water tubs, Dead Sea mud tubs, etc). This runs about 150 nis ($30) and some include lunch. We choose the cheap version. For 25 nis (about $5.50) you get access to the Dead Sea, freshwater showers, chairs and some tables, hot showers, and changing rooms. There's also a bar/deli, fruit stand, and gift shop. There are lots of Dead Sea joints like this to choose from. Next time we'll check out another one and I'll let you know what we think. If you go the cheap-o route, be sure to bring lots of bottled water and snacks.

Anyway, this place was very chill and relaxed. There were some families, lots of tourist (lots of Asian tourists, yeah tourists!), many Jewish Israelis, and some Arab Israelis. It was like Disney Land in its diversity. I heard all kinds of different languages.

This was the view from my chair. They have canopies pulled between posts to provide shade. It's just too hot to be in the sun a lot.

You have to walk down the bank to get to the water. It's hot! Bring flip flops or sandals that can get wet. The little palm frond-covered huts mark the way to the water.

Here are some Russian ladies having a good time. After they found a good spot, they started rubbing the fine black mud all over each other.

Just like Zohar! Here's his scary face! Check out the guy in the back ground to the left too!

This guy had fun in the mud.

Floating and relaxing is the name of the game at the Dead Sea. The water is warm and you float effortlessly. It's like walking on the moon. There are some rocks near the shore, but as you get further out it's just sand and mud. You just dig some up with your feet or hands and rub it in.

The only bad part of the day is that I got a drop of Dead Sea water in my eye and it really hurts when that happens. You just have to get out and rinse it out...right away! If you have any cuts or scrapes they will sting in the water. Don't shave before you head to the Dead Sea!

And as requested, here I am in my bathing suit! (I'm on the right.)

We're just hanging out after a long hard day at the Dead Sea. Check out my hair - and beard!


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