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Visit the Dead Sea

I have heard about the Dead Sea since I was a little boy. Every time someone mentions the Dead Sea, a picture of people floating on the water came to my mind. To us Asians, we believe that only superheroes or people with special abilities can float or walk on the water. Remember the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon when the hero flights in the treetops and run on the water? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to do things like that even for a moment?

So the main reason I join the tour of Jordan is because they have visiting the Dead Sea on the itinerary.

The Dead Sea is not far from Amman, the capital of Jordan. Since it is the lowest point on earth, to reach there we have to drive downhill with the weather getting hotter along the way. When we get near, there is not a single tree to be seen. No people and no buildings, except many watchtowers. Some of them are Jordanian and some are Israeli; I cannot tell which station belong to what country but I can feel the tense atmosphere. We do not have any problems passing through all the watch stations.

Once we reach the hotel resort the atmosphere totally changes. There are restaurants, a swimming pool, a fresh water fountain and people all over the place, with kids runningaround having fun. People are friendly and there are even flowers growing around the resort! The Dead Sea is just a few steps away.

I am not a good swimmer and get very nervous in the water. "No one drowns in the Dead Sea", our guide repeats, reassuring me of what I aready know. Determined to have a picture of myself floating in the Dead Sea, I walk into it confidently while my friend is ready with the camera. When the water level is at my chest, I turn toward my friend and lay down to float. Next thing I know I sink right into the middle of the sea. While struggling to stand up I hear "You have to relax to float!" It is May, another friend who is floating nearby. After serveral trials, I still cannot relax. May, who is half my size tells me, "I will hold your hand and you lie on my other hand and relax." I follow her instructions. It works!!! I am able to relax and float for a few seconds, long enough for my friend to take the picture. After that I walk ashore; I do not want to be known as the first person to drown in the Dead Sea!!!

On the way back, I feel very happy. I not only floated on the Dead Sea, having a picture to prove it, but I also get to taste the Dead Sea water, unintentionally, but it was quite an experience. What does it taste like? Believe me, do not try it.

* * * * *

Published on 3/29/06

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