Feeling Alive in the Dead Sea

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Flag of Jordan  ,
Tuesday, March 23, 2010

With so many people going green, eco-tourism is more popular than ever. Jordan has tapped into this trend offering tourists a bevy of carbon footprint-free ways to explore their country which boarders on the Dead Sea. My top three favourite experiences included:

Having a mud bath then soaking in the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world getting its name from its high salinity which creates an environment too harsh for sea creatures to survive.  At 422 meters below sea level, the shores have the honour of being the lowest dry land point on Earth.  The low content of pollens and other allergens combined with the mineral content of the water helps people suffering from diseases such as cystic fibrosis and psoriasis.   

The Jordan side of the Dead Sea is virtually undeveloped showcasing the beauty of this natural wonder.  I stayed in the near-by town of Madaba where I rented a car and took a day-trip to the Dead Sea.  First I visited a beach-side day resort with showers and change rooms.  When I arrived on the beach I was surrounded by "mud people".  People believe Dead Sea mud is good for their skin.  I wanted the full Dead Sea experience, so I had my entire body covered in mud then I soaked in the sun for 20 minutes letting it dry before washing it off in the sea. 

The feeling of floating weightlessly in water is surreal.  No matter how hard I tried, I could not sink. How convenient is that? I even sat back and read a magazine!

Due to drought and water shortages, the Dead Sea is slowly drying up as water from the Jordan River continues to be diverted for irrigation purposes.  It has been dropping at an alarming rate of 3 feet per year.  Thankfully Jordan, Israel and Palestine have been working together to find a solution so that this treasure may be enjoyed by future generations. 

Visiting the place where Jesus was baptised

Next I visited the nearby site believed to be the biblical Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan where John the Baptist lived and baptized Jesus.  (Many believe Jesus was baptized on the Israel side of the Jordan River but who really knows?)  I joined a walking tour led by a local Bedouin man who pointed out some areas of interest. We finished our tour with a visit to a modern baptism site where I placed my hand on my Lonely Planet guidebook and baptized my big toe in the Jordan River.

Showering under a waterfall in Ma'im Hot springs

Later I drove to the springs where the biblical King Herod once soaked.  Numerous waterfalls and pools filled with warm water invited guests to relax and enjoy.  I walked over to a large waterfall, sat in the grotto behind it and marvelled at the boiling hot water flowing out of the mountain before taking a shower under the warm waterfall. 

Wow! I have never felt more alive than I did at the Dead Sea.  I can't wait to go back!

Check out my Dead Sea Video

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