Jesus’ Baptism, Moses’ Hill, and the bizarre Dead Sea

Well, today I continued running around Jordan with another full day of touring various sites.

Our first stop was the city if madaba, the home of mosaics. There was a church in the city center that had a huge mosaic that is a very accurate depiction of distances of the places in the Jordan river valley. This was an important find to see place names and an understanding of place distances. It was cool to see. We then went around the city for a bit looking at some shops. I found some cool crafts that I really liked, along with meeting a store owner that has done a lot of work of helping other woman create mosaics in a micro entrepreneur fashion. She even did work at the thunderbird institute in the US and gained accolades from the king and queen of Jordan for her work. Quite impressive!

We then went to some biblical sites in Jordan that included a trip to mount Nebo, the place of Moses’ death. Here we had a great view of the valley below and could see how the Jordan river separates Jordan from Israel/Palestine. Both pope john II and pope Benedict XVI have made pilgrimages to this holy site.

After this we went to the baptism site of Jesus by John. Here we boarded a bus that took us around the grounds which were so desolate. It was pretty cool to see because there was literally nothing around but desert like grounds and some churches spread around. We weaved through the hot piercing sun to the river and saw the original place of the baptism. Since then the water has moved a bit and now you can baptize yourself in the waters.

This was my first view of Israel from Jordan. The river is sacred to both, and they both have marked pools in this river where you can get in. Across the way, Israel touts its flags, nice building, ropes in the water, and nice stairs up out if the river, while Jordan’s side was more plain-just planks of wood creating a covered deck and some stairs leading in. This was the first time I started to understand the conflict between Israel and Jordan/Arab nations.

After this we were very hungry and we continued on to the Dead Sea. We opted to go to a resort that have us a buffet lunch as well as access to the Dead Sea below, along with nice fresh water showers, pool, and changing rooms.

We had a pretty good lunch while looking out over the Dead Sea below. It was so still, and mirror like. After our lunch we were like kids on Christmas Day changing into our swim suits and heading down the stairs to the sea. Ok well maybe it was just me that was a kid :). Jane got in first and immediately I started cackling because if how funny it looked for her to be floating so high off the water.

The water looked oily as if there were gasoline swirls in it, but it’s actually just from the salt content. As I got in, the water felt silky smooth on my skin as if I was putting baby oil on, but not as heavy. It felt like water but not. It was really bizarre. Once I got in and began to float I immediately wanted to try to go under water. After dunking my face in, it felt as though gasoline had been poured on my face. My lips felt like they had been singed, and my face was sore. It was so uncomfortable! I quickly got out and ran to the showers at the shore to wash off. Round two was ok, but at this point I started to feel the salts way into various skin openings from my snorkeling trip.

After about 10 minutes, I really couldn’t stand anymore and got rinsed off at the shore. I then found the mud bucket where these guys were rubbing mud all over you to get your skin completely covered. I got painted up and told to stand dry to get the full benefits before running it off in the sea again one last time.

After my last time in, I did not want to go back in because of the stinging sensation I had which I’m sure was helping anything heal. We then went up to the infinity pool and enjoyed a cool dip looking out at the sunset falling in front of us. It was a beautiful day for sure.

Khalid then drove us back to the hotel and we thanked him for how much fun we’d had the whole day together.


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