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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Israel Day 2

Yesterday, I had an incredible day. It began at 8:30 with a 75 minute drive to Masada, an ancient palace and fortification on top of an isolated rock plateau built by Herod The Great. I took the 3-minute cable car up and walked down – it took 25 minutes and it was steep at parts and my fear of heights kicked in so bad that my knees were shaking. I was all by my lonesome for the descend but I did pass 7 people walking up (3 of them Americans). TIP: Bring sunscreen, a hat and water and go early in the morning.

From there it was a 15-minute drive along the Dead Sea to a place called to Mineral. The “beach” is rough gravel and hot (bring water shoes) but the lowest place on earth (400 meters below sea level is amazing). I saw a guy floating and I thought for sure he had “floaties” between his legs – he didn’t. I went in and the salt water is so thick (though it feels like regular water) it stung a tiny bit on my warm where I had a scratch. I waded in and probably had the same sensation as astronauts in space. It was remarkable! I felt like a kid putting my hands up in the air proving you can not sink. Other bathers in deeper water appeared to be standing but they weren’t. Afterwards I went over to the mud spring which was like quick sand when I jumped in as fast as I could as my feet were burning (I didn’t have water shoes). My whole leg was in submerged in mud and I could barely pull it out. Since nothing lives in the Dead Sea I wasn’t worried about any predators - I coated the dark mud on and then went back into the water. I then ran over to the shower to wash off any places I missed and to get the salt off. My skin was so smooth afterwards. WARNING: Don’t put your head in the water, don’t drink it and don’t get it in your eyes. According to our guide a ½ cup would kill you, swallowing just a little would make you sick.

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