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tourist guide to the dead sea
By Dennis Batchelder 5 June 2000

hi guys:

yesterday, orit took me to the dead sea. and after my experience there, i have put together these instructions on how to best enjoy it.


IT'S UNIQUE: the dead sea is the lowest place on earth: 1294 feet below sea level (-404 meters). at its lowest point, the dead sea is 492 meters deep. the jordan river flows into it; so do a few springs and flood waters when it rains in the mountains. but the dead sea has no exit point, so all the minerals that enter it stay in it. the water in the dead sea is 80% salt - you can see the crystals on the shore - it looks like ice.

IT'S HEALTHY: the dead sea is supposed to be healthy to bathe in the dead sea. you can stop at mineral beach, which for a small fee rents you lockers and showers. very convenient.


FLIP FLOPS: the lockers are about 100 yards from the sea. and the sidewalk that goes from the lockers to the water is paved in dark grey cement. if you don't have flip flops, you will walk barefoot to the water, across baking rocks (it won't rain again until october). boy, is this painful! by the time you reach the water, you will have blisters on the bottom of your feet.

REEF WALKERS: if you think the blisters will give you cushion from the rocks in the water, rocks, you're wrong. you step in the water, right onto a bunch of round rocks. you know what that feels like - you kind of take a step, bend your knee to keep the weight off, and sort of "hop", only to land with the other foot more rocks. ugh! finally (after about 15 feet), the rocks will give way to mud, and you will be able to stand with relative comfort. then you can turn around and watch people get in and out of the water - everyone else has to cross this same mine field, and nobody had a strategy that works very well. except wearing reef walkers.

A TIGHT BATHING SUIT: 80% salt in the water makes everyone and everything very buoyant. it's easy to float on dense liquid - floating objects displace their weight, and since the water is so heavy, you will float high in the water. (sounds like a physics lesson, huh?) well, it's not just your body that floats high, but it's the various parts of your body that also float higher than normal. you can imagine the effect on some of the older women there - if they're not careful, they could suffocate!


GET DIRTY: ok, if you're still reading after that last visual image, i'll tell you about the mud. the thing you're supposed to do is cover yourself with the mud in which you are now wriggling your toes. this mud is full of minerals, and it's a free mudbath. so that's what you will do - stand near the shore, scoop up the mud, and coat themselves with it. you and everyone else will be various shades of grey. make sure you coat the blisters on your feet - it will help them heal faster.

WASH UP: after the mud dries, you need to wash it off at the shower by the beach. of course, you won't want to damage your feet anymore, so you will foolishly try to cross the mud flat. don't fall for this temptation. you will sink up to your waist, and have to ask your tour guide for help in getting out. and all that mud doesn't really help the blisters anyway.

BLINK: a lot. you should do this instead of rubbing your eyes. if you rub your eyes, you will have to ask your tour guide to help you get to the sweet water, because the stinging will be so bad that you won't be able to open them.


USE SOAP: after you add a few more blisters to the bottom of your feet on the way up to the lockers, you will wash off the mud and the salt. this is rather difficult if you don't have soap. but if you look long enough around the showers, you will find a bar that somebody left.


GREAT! you'll want to do it again. your skin will feel silky smooth. you will feel rejuvenated. and you'll forget about the blisters (i did!)



tourist guide to the dead sea - israel