Friday, August 07, 2009

Rules of the Dead Sea

I am giddy thinking that  Wow! In a week I have been in the Adriatic Sea (in Dubrovnik), the Mediterranean (in Tel Aviv) and now the Dead Sea in the middle of a desert in the lowest spot on earth. I am overdosing on exotic as I walk in. 

It turns out you can't just walk into the Dead Sea. So many people stand by the shoreline scooping up handfuls of the vicious mineral-rich mud to smear over themselves that they have created hundreds of unseen craters in the sea bottom. So you trip and stumble into the hot water. I was told there were no waves, but there are gentle waves. The water -- and the thick, black mud -- have no smell. This is good because it kind of reminds me of rubbing dog poop on your body from the feel of it; I could not have handled a smell. And the water is unbelievably salty, thick, heavy, chemically. I took a small taste and  survived even without lifeguard assistance. The water feels smooth almost oily and the same with the mud. And you cannot sick. You don't float so much as levitate on the surface, bouncing on the top, it is so buoyant.

There is a niggling little problem, though: an odd sensation in a part of the anatomy not usually involved in my swimming activities. A tingling -- but not in the good sense sometimes associated with this part of the anatomy.

Renee finds my problem amusing. She has purposefully not shaved her legs this morning knowing that a nick, cut or raw skin awash in salt water stings. She makes a crude joke I won't repeat about misuse of electrical toys, but I am not amused picturing in my head having to see a doctor about this issue. What do you even say? "I think I was raped by the Dead Sea?"

Anyway, I stayed in the water and after awhile the symptoms subsided and I floated and soaked by hair and lathered with mud and forgot about it as the bromide of the water began to have its euphoric effect. My mood was light and airy.

But as we got out and headed for the showers to rinse off salt and mud we saw an unhappy, howling little girl about 3 stamping around and clutching at the bottom of her bathing suit. I knew exactly how she felt. Her parents poured cool fresh water down her suit for relief. 

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