After an absolute overdose of two days full of Jordan’s historical wonders such as Petra, Jaresh and Aljoun castle I was looking forward to a break of fun and games with a visit to the Dead Sea.
It goes without saying that you simply can’t visit Jordan and not have at least dipped into the Dead Sea. Hani, my driver and Dave, a photographer from Arizona whom I had met in my tiny hotel in downtown Amman and I grabbed our swim things and set off south from Amman on the scenic route to the public access known as Amman Beach.
The scenic route leads past Mount Nebo where Moses died and after that through miles and miles of overwhelming nothingness. A few bedouine tents here and there, the odd camel, goats, but no vegetation to speak off, rubble, sand and an eternal road.
One more bend and, after approx. 3 hours, the scene changes dramatically. The Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, suddenly spreads out before the eye, surrounded by fertile plantations of vegetables, fruit and palm trees.
Bedouine tents give way to very upscale holiday condos and luxurious beach resorts. Amman Beach is where everybody can go to float In the sea and wallow in the black mud to their heart’s content.
The first thing I saw was a sign at the entrance which gives instructions as how to behave in the Dead Sea. Among them…not to dive. As I found out soon enough, diving is impossible, even if you wanted to. The water won’t let you. In fact, due to the extreme salt content, you can’t do anything much. I tried to stand upright and popped back like a cork. You just wade in, drop on your back and drift. I used my flip flops as paddles to be able to swim (backward) back to shore. It’s really unbelievable.
More fun however is to be had ashore. A group of Spanish tourists really got into the spirit of things and smeared themselves all over with the beneficial mud of the Dead Sea. Huge buckets of the stuff are placed everywhere along the beach and are free to use for everyone.
Admission to Amman Beach is $15 which buys you the use of the beach, shower and changing facilities, two swimming pools and chairs and tables. For another $10 you get a very substantial buffet lunch. It’s a nice day out in a place of this planet which you won’t find anywhere else.