Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Dead Sea: Floating Bodies And Mud Baths

One of the many perks of working at a hostel is that you'll always be informed of the best places to visit, and you'll always have company wherever you might want to go!

Since there isn't really much of Tel Aviv to visit as a tourist, most of the time, the guests venture out to visit Jerusalem, The Dead Sea, or cross the border to Jordan for Petra.

I was lucky enough to have been able to do all three of these... Last week, I posted about my Trip to Jerusalem. This week, I'll take you through my Dead Sea experience with The Danish Invasion! :)

I met these 4 great ladies from Denmark at the hostel, who were all nice enough to let me tag along on their day trip to Masada and The Dead Sea. I personally didn't know squat about Masada... but I didn't mind, as long as I got my dose of sea salt!


So, Masada, as it turns out, is an ancient fortification located in the South of Israel, overlooking the Dead Sea. King Herod built palaces here where you can still see remains of... And to this day, is considered one of Israel's most popular attractions. 

I can see the appeal. It has a spectacular view, and the ruins are pretty amazing. It's a bummer we had to pay to get in though... Luckily I was with a group of students - and I got a Student Discount along with them! Thank you, Asian genes!!!


After a long and winding drive through the desert, we made it to the salty waters of the Dead Sea! Yay!
OK a few fun facts about the Dead Sea.

1. It's surface and shores are 427 meters below sea level -- Earth's  lowest  elevation on land
2. It is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water. I tasted it. My tongue burned.
3. You float. It is literally impossible to sink.
4. No fish or sea life here, folks. Too salty. Hence the name.
5. The Dead Sea has mineral-rich mud that you can smear all over your body, and is scientifically proven to improve your skin's natural processes

We got there just before sunset, and the colors were amazing! When we finally managed to get into the water, it was such a funny sensation, bobbing up and down like a cork! You really float! It's so funny! I remember trying my best to swim down and pull all my weight underwater... But it won't let me! The water just plops you back up the surface and raises your legs... It made us look like we were sitting on a floating device!


We weren't going to let the opportunity to lather ourselves up with the famous mud from the Dead Sea... so as soon as we saw someone walking around like he fell into a tar pit, we tracked down where he got his mud from, and we scrambled over to that part of the beach to cover ourselves up with the magic gooey stuff!

OK - we found it, and it wasn't pretty. The mud wasn't very clean, there was trash around it, and it was a little rocky. Luckily, this lady came up to us and showed us where to extract our mud from! She pointed to a tiny hole in the ground and said - "Reach into that hole right there. That's where the good mud is!" 

And so that's what we did! She was right! The mud inside was warm, soft, and oddly satisfying!

We may look cute and funny... but that mud smelled like rotten eggs. Reminded me of how it smelled in Rotorua because of the sulphur. I was surprised at how it didn't really bother any of us though... We just kept going until we were completely covered!

We kept it on for 20 minutes or so before washing it off in the sea again. I have to say though that what everyone says about that mud is true. My skin felt like a baby's bottom afterwards... I couldn't stop feeling my skin! And when I got back to the hostel, people who didn't even know I went to the Dead Sea said I looked like I was glowing!


And so that concludes the Dead Sea experience. We did both Masada and the Dead Sea in one day, it was exhausting, but really worth the day trip! If you're in Israel, you really can't pass up this experience.
The drive from Tel Aviv to Masada took a couple hours, Masada to the Dead Sea was another hour, and the drive back to Tel Aviv was another 2 hours give or take.

Next Stop: Petra, Jordan.

In other news... Happy Thanksgiving everyone! :)