Again, we had coffee out on our balcony, but oddly, there was a slight manure smell. A reminder of home, as we live in a rural area. But immediately after the wonderful breakfast, in which I found small jars of fig jam, we hit the beach.
The beach area was small and enclosed by a string of bouys, but that wasn't an issue. The sand about appears to have been trucked in, as the area around is mud. It looks like sedimentary rock, but it's just dried mud. Getting into the water was tricky. As I look down at the sea lapping on the rocky shore, I can see eddies of salty water swirl by. We're warned not to get it into our eyes or mouth. My husband dunked his head and it burned and he needed to go up to the nearby shower to rinse his face. I got a drop into my mouth and it was foul.
Swimming is impossible. It's like moving through warm jelly, and if you relaxed, you flipped onto your back in no time.
Some of us try standing up, and you can do it, but even when it's not over your head, you end up bobbing up and down.The water temperature was about 24 degrees, but it felt cooler.
Everyone enjoys the sensation for a bit, then eases out of the water, which is tricky, and heads to a pair of large stone bowls at the centre of the beach. A worker will happily smear mud on you, and with some of the men, he draws elaborate designs or creates silly mohawks on the bald men.
We then stand around and chat while the sun dries us. There is no need for sunscreen here. We're too far below sea level for the harmful rays to reach us.
When the mud is dry, we return to the sea to wash off, then it's off to the freshwater shower up by the cabanas. It's a lovely experience. My skin feels silky.
Allan and I head up to the lower pool again. I see my first Burkini, a bathing suit made for Muslim women. But mostly there are women dressed in floor length coats and head scarfs standing beside children and husbands as they swim. I spoke with one and her children last night. The young boys were shy, but she was friendly.
The resort is beautiful, and reminds me of Cuba.
The large centre pool has small wading pools as offshoots, suitable for families of small children.
Waterfalls and infinity pools abound. Small bridges connect each flowering side. It's easy to see why it's so popular.
After returning to our room and packing, I had a few minutes to sit outside and journal. We have a new guide to take us to the border, a man named Jihad. He explained that his name means 'fight for your personal rights' and not 'holy war'.
We crossed the border again, at a different site, and met up with Rafe, who wisely and quite charmingly announced we all looked ten years younger. We had a good laugh.
Our next stop is Jericho, or Yericho, as this sign says. There I learn a few more surprises.