We travel to the partially destroyed remains of a café once patronized by King Hussein of Jordan. It sits in an open field, slowly being swallowed up by the land.
We aren’t supposed to be there, as it's slated for demolition, but the gate is open and our outlaw guide wants us to see this place. I’m beginning to sense that our guide likes to push boundaries for the sake of teaching us. I suspect we're like first year university students to him.
Our driver drops us off and hurriedly leaves to park across the street at a gas station. In the 70s, this area close to the Dead Sea was Jordanian territory. A group of high school students are also there to film it for posterity, but they don't seem worried about trespassing.
Ahh, those teenaged years. The same the world over.
Again, Yossi plays his flute, then tells us the story behind the wall mural that stretches along the one large, circular wall that remains standing. Painted in 1974 by an artillery officer who was also an archeological professor, and sadly, now riddled with graffiti, the mural is a reproduction of an old crusader map.
|Our guide and what's left of the mural.|
|What is left of the cafe.|
|See how far the Dead Sea has receded?|
In the 70’s, the Dead Sea literally lapped at the café’s foundations. Now it's far away.
Our bus slips back into the weedy yard and we hurriedly scramble aboard before we’re caught.
We return to our hotel and a short time later, dressed in the fluffy, white bathrobes our rooms offer, we walk en masse to the beach, although some choose to take the shuttle down.
|There is no way you can sink here!|
It’s an amazing feeling, crunching on the balls of crystal salt that line the Dead Sea. The water's cool, but easy to get used to. Hey, I've swum in the Bay of Fundy. There's no mud here, unlike the Jordanian side where we enjoyed slapping mud on ourselves, but it's a lovely beach and pleasant end to the busy day.
|Turn away from the water and you see this!|
The view is spectacular, one side displaying the sea, and the other the imposing hills behind the hotels. We rinse off at one of the many outdoor showers and return to continue the luxury of the water within the hotel. The pools here are Dead Sea water deliciously heated. After another shower, I marvel at how smooth my skin feels.
Some of us take a walk to a strip mall near the hotel. I find a few packages of mud, (not as attractively named as Ahava; more basically named, Dr. Mud).
To my delight, I spy one of those white cats whose eyebrow markings make it look sad.
|Saddest cat in the world!|
We return to our hotel along the boardwalk. So far, our trip hasn’t felt too spiritual, but we have not yet traveled to the heart of Jesus’ ministry.
Tomorrow we enter Palestine and meet Barak Obama!