Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Travel Log: Israel: Dead Sea

I've never been able to float. And I know you immediately want to say, "That can't be true. Have you tried X or Y or done A or B?" Yea, I've tried it all. I was a swimmer for many years and a lifeguard as well, so I know what I'm talking about. I just can't float. So it was with great anticipation that I approached the Dead Sea leg of our trip because I would, for the first time ever, float. I was vaguely afraid that maybe I would be the one person in all of history who didn't float in the Dead Sea, but thankfully that didn't come to fruition. If you don't know, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth- almost 1,400 feet (422 meters) below sea level. Yes that is correct. It is aptly name because literally nothing lives in the water, which is 9 times as salty as the ocean. I really couldn't quite imagine what water 9 times saltier than the ocean (which I already find quite salty) would be like. And oh boy. Just a teeny tiny drop of that stuff gets in your mouth and you're puckering in bitterness. Heaven forbid any gets in your eyes. Yowzahs.

But guys, it's the weirdest sensation ever- floating effortlessly. Like not using my hands or feet or anything, and even floating perfectly well in water that is only two feet deep. In fact having to actually put significant effort into any kind of turning about or flipping over. It's so super duper awesome, especially for a person who has never floated before. They say that sometimes people drown in it though- small children mostly- because they get face down and aren't able to lift their head. And it's also quite nasty if you have any cut of any sort anywhere on your body. Or if you happened to shave that day. Thankfully I had been appropriately forewarned and took care of my shaving needs the day before.

It's crazy though when you get out of the water how you have a film of salt on you, and certainly oodles of water is extracted from the sea each year for beauty products of all sorts. No joke, my skin was never so smooth and lovely and clear as in the days after swimming in the Dead Sea. No wonder people literally bottle it up and sell it. Let me tell you what though- it is hella hot there. We got there in the early evening and went down to the water as the sun was setting and it was 36 degrees Celsius. Which is something crazy like 97 degrees Fahrenheit. At 7pm. Insanity. Nevertheless, we totally enjoyed ourselves and our fab hour of floating in the Dead Sea.
The terrain surrounding the Sea

The beach, which is now a good 10 meters up from the water level because they recently took out so much water to extract the salts for beauty products

Look ma- No Hands!

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