Thursday, August 25, 2011
Let me now return to our tour of Israel. After dipping in the Jordan River, we drove down to the Dead Sea. Along the way, we could see Mount Nebo in the distance, across the Dead Sea, in the Kingdom of Jordan. That’s where Moses stopped to look into Canaan more than 3,000 years ago, after he had led the Israelis out of Egypt. He died without getting into Canaan himself.
The Dead Sea is drying up because of a lack of water. The smaller southern section is now cut off from the bigger northern section, and is in danger of getting completely dry. The northern section is still relatively OK, being continually fed by the River Jordan. Hence canals are dug to channel water from the northern section into the southern section, so that the tourist resorts in the south do not have to go out of business.
The Dead Sea is really dead, completely devoid of vegetation or fish. It is also pristinely clean and calm. The myriad hues of the blue water, yellow sand, red earth, and white salt combine to create captivating scenes. I felt I could watch for hours and hours. Unfortunately, I had to follow the group. I wonder whether, one day, I could come back with just my camera.
The water felt strange. It did not feel like normal water. It felt “wet” and thick. It was a bit like molten jelly.
The water was clear, however, and one could really float comfortably in it. Unfortunately, the water was also 30% salt. That meant every little cut or scratch, even those that I did not know exist, would now hurt terribly due to the salt. I took a little sip without thinking and regretted it. I shudder to think what would happen if I should put my head in it.
They said one should not stay in the water more than 10 minutes at a time, otherwise one would get de-hydrated. I wasn’t sure what that meant. I really would love to stay longer, to really take in the scenery and the strange but rather comfortable feeling of the water. Unfortunately, I could not. All I am left with are photographs now. It was a stark kind of beauty, but it was really beautiful.