On the TechWomen Jordan trip, we had one free day. By “free” I mean one day where we could choose to go see some of the sights Jordan has to offer or to lounge around our hotel.
I chose to go see some of the sights, so this meant that I started my free day early. I began by waking up around 7 am, after a wonderful 7.5 hours of sleep (longest on the trip). I headed to the hotel restaurant for breakfast and sat on the patio looking out at the Dead Sea. Despite the undrinkable coffee, it was a lovely way to start the morning.
My roommate and I met two other TechWomen mentors at 8 am to get our Dead Sea on. Literally. This was an important thing to do, as some of the Lebanese TechWomen said that putting the mud from the Dead Sea on your skin is one of the best things you could do for it and would make you more beautiful. First, you float in the sea. Then you slather mud all over your body. Then you let it dry. Finally, you slough it off in the water, taking all of your dead skin cells with it. Clearly something I needed to experience!
We meandered through the pools at the Kempinski down to the beach and slowly started to wade into the water. The mud squelched between our toes as we stepped into the salty water. A couple of us reconsidered our current clothing choice and changed into our swim suits. One of the mentors and I headed out into the water an plunged in! Or rather, we sat down in the water, allowing our feet to rise from under us. As a woman who has never been able to float on her back, this was an interesting experience. We gathered mud for people who weren’t interested in floating, taking it to them at the shore, and we floated. Talk about feeling weightless! It was an incredibly cool experience!
After a while, she got out and my roommate headed into the water. The other ladies headed up for breakfast, but we stayed on the beach. It was fortunate, because that was when Ahsan, the guy-in-charge-of-things-at-the-beach showed up. He got us some towels and then headed out to deeper water a bit further away to harvest some mud. And boy were we glad he did! The mud was much darker and thicker than the mud at the bottom where we were standing. We re-applied our mud, and then had some applied to our faces. We talked to some other travelers enjoying the mud. Most important, perhaps, we waited for the mud to dry. It was chilly and overcast, but we eventually dried. Then we floated again, while scrubbing the mud from ourselves. I was told later in the day that I had a “glow”– maybe it was the sea!
After the Sea, we headed back to shower and joined other members of our group to visit the Baptism Site at the Jordan River. It’s the place where many major religions agree that Jesus was baptized. We saw the “baptism site,” a low-lying area that is no longer connected with the Jordan River due to drainage of the river. We then headed to see the Jordan river, and could see Israel only 25 feet or so away across the river.
After that, we headed to Mt. Nebo, the highest point in Jordan, where Moses saw the promised land before he died. In addition to being the highest point in Jordan, the Madaba area also has beautiful mosaic tiled floors from churches. And we saw camels (different colors) on the way back to the hotel!
I then (accidentally) baptized the inside of my mouth with water from the Jordan river. My roommate collected some water from the river (many people do this) and I mistook the bottle for my bottle of water with Emergen-C. Fortunately, I realized that I had sipped river water before swallowing it and managed to spit it out, rinse with clean water, brush, and rinse with mouthwash. Whew!
The evening ended with the farewell party for TechWomen at a traditional Arabic resident called the Panorama Restaurant, where we all watched the sun set. It was a great time, with live music and dancing– TechWomen style.
What a great day! From the lowest point on earth to the highest point in Jordan.
// There will (hopefully) be more pictures when I get them off the camera.