Finally I can float!

Trip Start Jan 17, 2007
Trip End Aug 29, 2007

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Flag of Israel  ,
Saturday, May 19, 2007

Today because of a lovely thing called Shabbat, where all the buses
stop from Sundown Friday to Sundown Saturday, we were forced to pay to
have a tour to visit the Dead Sea and Masada, an ancient (I mean
biblical times...) palace, where King Herod lived...

Needless to say, it was a very interesting tour...

The day started off bright and early, leaving from the Jaffa Gate
(named after the ancient road to Jaffa that led from there) at 7 with a
guide who was volunteering as he had just finished guide
college/ you can tell, we really did try to find a cheap
tour (which really didn't end up being so cheap)

Being the wise intelligent person that we all know and love, I went to
bed rather late after an evening of talking with a fellow hosteller
(talking me?! Shocking)

We started the day off by visiting Qumran, the locale where the Dead
Sea scrolls were our Shekels were getting rather low,
we opted out of the entry fee (We had seen parts of the scrolls in
Amman and I saw them at the Museum of Civilization)

From there, despite the terrifying driving skills of our guide, we made
it in one piece to the next destination, Masada, where Sam and I
splashed out ( 57 Shekel each...god bless the visa card) for a cable
car both ways, up to a huge desert plateau, where we toured 2000+ year
old ruins, and got some stunning views of the Dead Sea and the Desert...

On the way down, we talked with a group of American tourists who were impressed by our travels...I do so love to shock people!

Quick facts about the Jordanian 'desert'

a] it is not actually a desert, because it rains there, howeverthere isno vegetation so they call it a desert...

b] the Dead sea is apparently the lowest land point below Sea level

c]  The Dead Sea is reducing by a rate of a few kilometres every
year and within 50 years it will probably be gone (the Jordan river
used to feed it, but they damned it to nourish the desert Bedouins
andnow there is no source...

d]  The water is full of minerals: Bromine, Magnesium, Iodine,
etc.and in far greater quantities than the ocean...due to the fact that
the water evaporates in the heat, but the minerals remain and there is
no souce of water to dilute the sea again...

e]  The reason that one floats in the water is that the minerals make it very heavy and so bodies just float

f] You're not supposed to stay in longer than a half hour as it cause
welts/bumps and if you swallow a fair bit of water, you will
immediately begin to retch (it tastes foul, trust me!)

Anywho, after the Dead Sea, we headed off to Jericho, in the West Bank...

We had to go through a checkpoint and the guide warned us that it was
dangerous, as there is a civil war going on...however we were whisked
to a ridiculously toruisty place, where everyone spoke English and the
shopping prices were higher than Jerusalem...

We got to go up and see views of the Mount of Temptation (Jesus lived
up there for a while) and now I can proudly say that I've been to the
oldest town in the world...

Than we went to the Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem and then made our way back to the city
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