Out of all of the places in the world that I have visited, the Dead Sea has to be one of the most unusual. The name for this body of water is especially fitting, as until recently it was thought that nothing could survive in its high salinity waters. Nothing, except for the thousands of tourists that jump in every year to enjoy the other benefit the salt rich water provides – buoyancy.
As the Dead Sea is one of the few places in the world to experience buoyancy while on the surface of a body of water, I was thrilled to have experienced it on my Middle East adventure. A quick change into our swimsuits and our tour group ran into the water to experience this wonder in all its glory without second thought. The euphoria of some members of our group was quickly wiped away as they began having the sensation of severe burning moments later.
The Lowest Point on Earth
The Dead Sea was not killing them, but the high salinity water was quickly filling every scratch, cut, and break of the skin that my friends had on their bodies. After watching their agony, it was obvious as to why other travelers have recommended to avoid shaving for several days before entering the waters. How I managed to avoid significant pain from not shaving for only 24 hours, I’ll never know. For a few, the pain was so unsettling that they had to get out of the water, and their skin was visibly irritated from the salt.
After having a significant amount of time goofing off in the water, with the added bonus of our bodies being completely purified from bacteria, our group decided to try out one of the second activities that the Dead Sea is famous for – a mud body scrub.
Getting Covered in Dead Sea Mud
For just a few dollars, workers on the beach slathered our bodies with mud said to be raked from the bottom of the Dead Sea. The nutrients that are infused in the mud due to the high salinity waters are supposed to be beneficial to healthy skin.
Just like the first round of goofing off in the Dead Sea leading to pain for a few, the second round brought it back. My friends that covered their faces in the mud began to rinse it off with the salty water from the sea, and the agony repeated itself all over again as the water began entering new parts of the skin and the sensitive regions around the eyes. Knowing the pain that was experienced by a few the first time we jumped in, I opted not to cover my face and was relieved that I did not.
A Once in a Lifetime Experience
With more goofing off in the Dead Sea, our time at the wonder was coming to an end. The Dead Sea does not disappoint, and I look forward to going back one day and experiencing it from the Israeli side. Perhaps I will take in one of my favorite activities the next time I visit, scuba diving. This would be one place I would not want to be faced with an emergency mask purge, but I think it might be worth the risk.
For anyone who may be making a visit to the Dead Sea in the future I have this one recommendation: don’t shave!
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