GUEST ARTICLE: We landed in Queen Alia International Airport located in Jordan’s capital city Amman and were met by our car hire rep. After signing some papers and agreeing to pay for some extra insurance ‘just in case’, we were on our way to our hotel the Movenpick Resort located on the North Shore of the Dead Sea, Jordan.
Unfortunately it was already nightfall by the time we were on the road so we didn’t get a chance to see much along the way. But being late the roads were clear which made getting to our destination a lot easier. It took us about 45 minutes before we pulled into the Movenpick. The resort was massive! After checking in we had to walk down a cobblestone path through a maze of charming blonde terracotta buildings before reaching our room.
It was a beautiful big room but unfortunately we noticed it was adjoined to another room. From experience those types can go either way with neighbors so we had our fingers crossed we’d be on the lucky latter. Being dinnertime we ventured down to our resort’s dining area, which wasn’t too much of a jaunt from our room. The place was teeming with guests and the night was alive with live belly dancers and musicians belting out Arabic music. After a quick late dinner at their Italian restaurant we called it a night…or so we thought.
Remember that adjoining room theory…well it holds true. At 2am we were awoken by our loud, laughing neighbors whose voices unfortunately echoed throughout our room (hotels just shouldn’t have adjoining rooms – too hard to sound proof). So we called the front desk in hopes of a new ‘non’ adjoining room. After half an hour a man in a golf cart came to collect our bags and we were quietly whisked away to our new abode no questions asked. Little did we know that we were being placed into one of their premium suites that cost …oh…only $700/night! Now that’s what I call an upgrade!
The next morning after breakfast we quickly put on our bathing suits and ventured down for our first dip in the Dead Sea. The sun was brutally hot and was only going to get hotter as the day went on. The resort is situated on a slanted slope and covers quite a large area so it took some time before we finally reached the bottom. The view was incredible! Tall sheer cliffs of Israel lined the adjacent shores, which was located only about 7kms away. The Dead Sea was a beautiful deep blue and had an almost misty quality to it.
People floated effortlessly about wearing huge grins. It wasn’t until we were in ourselves that we could relate. It was incredible! There is absolutely no possible way to sink and you certainly wouldn’t want to, the salt content is like nothing we’ve ever smelt, tasted or felt before (faint memory of chemistry classes did come to mind). You could literally lie flat out and ‘just be’ – it was really amazing.
What else was amazing was the excruciating pain I felt when I accidentally rubbed my eye – yikes!!! And then got a little water up my nose – now that took things to a new level. Take note my friends it is definitely something you want to put on your ‘never-ever-ever-to-do’ list.
Luckily for myself and other misfortunate victims they had a fresh water tap located not too far away. Although I have to say trying to quickly but calmly swim in that water was nearly impossible. It was like running slow motion in a dream but trying to do so while immersed in toxic liquid, not an easy task by any means. I frantically but calmly made my way out to douse my flaming nostrils and throbbing red eye. I saw a lady leisurely washing herself off under the tap but I think from the manic look in my good eye she knew it was time to haul butt. Thankfully after a few minutes the screaming in my head subsided and I was good to go back in for another ‘careful’ float.
You can only stay in for so long before your skin starts to become slimy and it sends warning signals to your brain that something just might not be right. Best to do these floats in small intervals we found. During these breaks we would rinse off and give ourselves one of the Dead Sea’s famous mud baths. A huge urn filled with the magic elixir (so they say) was on hand for the guests. The smell was something else but in the end we did get some great pics and smooth skin.
I had previously booked myself into their Spa for one of these mud treatments but if I’d known they had the mud on hand at the beach I probably wouldn’t have. Although…after a day at the Zara Spa and getting a ‘proper’ mud treatment with their refined version I have to say it was definitely worth it. That is of course as long as you don’t mind being steamed up to the max, caked in mud, wrapped in plastic and towels and left to cook for an hour.
On our final night we sat by the pool by the beach and watched the sun go down while puffing on some apple shish-a. We ate dinner by the sea and had a full-on Jordanian style meal. Appetizers consisted of delicious dips of Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Tahine, salad, olives and fresh Bedouin bread. The main was a compilation of deliciously seasoned barbecued chicken, sausage and lamb skewers. We also found the Jordanian red wine to be really good.
So besides that fantastic upgrade, we had a wonderful time floating in the Dead Sea and really enjoyed ourselves. Also, being able to see Israel so close yet so far away was interesting. We have put Israel on our to-do list.
Swimming or I should say ‘calmly floating’ in the Dead Sea was surreal and we really enjoyed every minute of it (well most minutes anyway). After hearing so many stories about the Dead Sea it was nice to finally make it a reality as painful as it was at times lol! We found Jordan to be really laid back and tourist friendly and the Jordanians are wonderfully accommodating people and their food-excellent! Hiring a car was an excellent idea too – the roads in Jordan are great and not at all crowded. Jordan, and in particular the Dead Sea is certainly one to add your list of places to go.
This travel diary has been written by Rob Gower, a friend who enjoys taking roads less traveled!