Its 12 noon. Its the middle of winter. Its a Friday. The rest of Europe and America is off to work.
I'm in my swim suit. I'm at a 5 star resort. Its 24 degrees outside. I'm floating in the dead sea.
And my sphincter is on fire.
What does one do in this situation? I'm supposed to be relaxing with the rich and well-to-do all around me and my wife Elodie just suggested that I try to float in a 'sitting up position' as if I'm reading the morning newspaper.
'Look the water is so salty that you can float sitting up' she says.
Something about that particular position just happened to 'open me up' to the harsh brutalities of dipping your body in 35% salt water....OWCH! YOU BET YOUR ASS ITS SALTY!!!
This is the dead sea. Full of rich vitamins from the natural springs below, it is known for its rich healing minerals but not so widely known for its colon cleansing properties.
We are pictured here at the Movenpick dead sea resort. Movenpick is better known as a fancy ice-cream brand in Europe, but has somehow found the marketing power to convince people to stay at their hotels. I expect Baskin Robbins to follow up with a string of branded motels along the Route 66 soon.
We arrived there early in the day and got our salt treatment, followed by a free mud treatment. Basically, they give you a bucket of mud that smells a bit like dirt and fishbones but evidently when applied to your skin its supposed to pull out any toxins. My theory is that it replaces those toxins with fishbone smell and drys your skin to a worser condition so I actually am not a believer that its actually good for you. If however, you are into smelling like swamp fish stew, I can arrange to send you some in the mail for a minimal fee.
We went through the whole experience of the dead sea, massive swimming pools, pina coladas and shiatsu massage treatments. Not to mention that its totally sweet that they pump you up full of strong arabic coffee brewed over open fires in the traditional bedouin manner.
We thought that the day was over but our driver introduced a few surprises. We had been driven by the father of Elodie's driver at work and he didn't speak ANY english except for 'Welcome to Jordan.' We would ask how far is the dead sea? He would say, 'welcome to Jordan.' Is the water cold? 'Welcome to Jordan.' OK, so it was difficult to communicate with him unless we wanted to say 'This is our first time to your country.'
We pulled out of the Movenpick entrance at about 4 PM and headed off to home. The phone rang and the driver picked it up and started looking around, swerving, and making multiple wrong turns. We started the day off in a a luxury 5 star resort, and ended up being driven to a dirt parking lot next door.
Hundreds of families were parked out in the lots with their barbecues at full blaze. Kids playing in broken glass. Bedouin merchants passed by on camels and horses to offer rides for 50 cents. Garbage was everywhere. We had unknowingly been invited to join in the weekend festivities with the driver and his family for the real Jordanian dead sea experience.
We were treated to barbequed pieces of lamb, chicken, and minced beef with fresh pita breads and garlic yoghurt. The best part about this was that the brother cooking the food had NO idea what Hooters meant on his sweater.
Six PM and it was time to go. Wait a minute. There are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 family members. One car. How the HELL did they get here? The answer: Car Yoga. As other cars started to pull out of their spots, I watched whole families dog pile into their family cars. One family I saw actually cut out the divider beween the back seat and the back window so that the kids could stand for the ride home. Others put the children in the trunk to lie down with their brothers and sisters.
Since we had two extra spaces, we invited three of them to join us. Hey, when in Rome right?
Exhausted, sun burnt, and smelling like fish bone soil, we thought.. its a shame that our other friends can't be here with us.