Day 5 (10/10/2011)   Jordan: Dead Sea


Route Dead Sea until Petra

   The highlight of this day is Dead Sea visit. Madaba is very close of it and we could make a quick stop before leaving the city in St. George church for watching its mosaics. We could stop at Mount Nebo in our way too. The idea is arriving to "O Beach" resort where we will be able of enjoying its pools and Dead Sea private beach. We would even lunch there.

   After lunch we would leave to our way to Petra. We could stop somewhere in Dead Sea shores if the views makes us do so or even in Karak castle in our way to take Desert's Highway.

   The hotel is in Wadi Musa and we will go for dinner around it.

   The expected expenses for this day are:

"O Beach" entrance with lunch:  30 JOD
Karak castle ticket: 1 JOD


    We don’t have the obligation of waking up early this morning, so knowing that, we go downstairs to breakfast at our leisure. After breakfast, I go to the terrace outside in hotel entrance to smoke a cigarette and watch local people live, which is passing off peacefully by walking or car across ramshackle streets of Madaba. These streets look worst at daylight. When my wife comes out to tell me something I live a surrealistic moment: suddenly, I notice all the people in the street are stopped staring at us, whether pedestrians or persons inside a car. Everybody is male and feeling all of them in a crowded cross of two streets is staring at you frights the life out of anybody. I put the cigarette out and go into the hotel directly to ask to receptionist about what Eva is wearing: it’s a summer dress with miniskirt and shoulder straps. She answers me it is ok but warns me about men in this country: they’ll keep staring at her.

   I wonder the chicken or the egg question: they stare like this to outsider women because locals are always covered or local women are covered because if not they would feel the intimidation I’ve just felt one minute ago?.

   My wife covers her shoulders with a scarf, just in case, and we take the car for beginning our journey at 10:30h.

   Our first stop is close to the hotel, in Madaba itself: St. George church. We park the car in the street and go into this greek orthodox church famous by its mosaic with the first map of the area (the picture below is showing the part of it representing Jerusalem’s Old City). Entrance fee is 1 dinar and we like the colorful inside. It is decorated very different than our churches .

St. George churchJerusalem in Madaba's mosaic

   This visit is expected to be quicker but it is taking longer because of stores around the church, where we can find souvenirs by 1€ and Dead Sea world famous cosmetic products which we guess will be more expensive later, in more touristic places.

Views from Mount Nebo   Once at road we do a quick stop in Mount Nebo in our way to Dead Sea. This mount is famous because it is mentioned at Bible as the place Moses could see Promised Land and where finally died. His tomb is still being searched but the views are still here, with its infinite horizon.

   We arrive to O Beach at 12:30. They have no promotion with meal included and we pay 25 dinars per person to go in. The resort is spectacular, but it is short of activity. We put our bath suit in a big and beautiful change rooms divided by gender and don’t see any other person until arriving to Infinity pool. This pool end is merging with Dead Sea at its bottom and we feel the call of go inside at once.

   A bit later, we go downstairs for the Dead Sea experience. This sea is very special due to its salt high percentage which makes no live can be on it and gives its name. So, a swim here gives you a unique feeling. Its floatability makes you can take any position and you’ll keep in surface with no effort. The water is kind of oily as well until the point it seems doesn’t getting wet. It trickles down the skin and you get dry and salted in no time. One typical symptom from a bath on these waters is any little scratch will burn a lot when going out from the sea. All of us try this sensation and take pictures with the effect of these salty waters in rocks at shore, making them white, completely covered by salt which is forming even little stalactites.

Dead SeaDead sea

  &nbspThere are showers everywhere in order you can take salt off your body. We spend the rest of the time at pool area, taking sun or water bath or a cocktail.

O BeachO Beach

O BeachO Beach

  The resort is huge bur we’re not more than 10 people on it, so we are absolutely in peace. At lunch time we notice they only restaurant opened there is Tex-Mex, that was the reason wasn’t any promotion including meals. Furthermore, we can only choose between two options from the whole menu: chicken Burger or beef Burger.

  There are a lot of flies around. They were bothering a little bit when laying in our deck chair but now, while lunching, they’re unbearable, making us eating faster in order of end as quick as possible.

   We leave the place around 16:00 and drive following Dead Sea coast until it ends. At that moment we must take Karak road. Around 17:00 sun is leaving for today and we can make some pictures of Karak castle from road because we only stop for filling car up with gas, at 0.7€ per liter of 95.

Leaving Dead SeaKarak

   Night arrives while taking Desert’s Highway, main highway of the country, and we drive following Petra signs on it. The trip takes a little more than three hours. Roads are in good condition but driving in Jordan introduce some problems: some vehicles have no lights or extremely weak lights, country is full of speed bumps everywhere which makes you reduce quite sudden but when you meet them at highway you must be very aware of small signs announcing them or understanding is going to be one every time you see a group of houses. Another point to know here is the amount of police controls. We’ve pass by six today. At least, at the moment they can see we’re tourists the step is just this:

- Where are you from?
- Spain
- Welcome to Jordan.

   And they move the arm in a clear sign to continue.

Hotel Al Anbat II
   We find Hotel Cleopetra quickly at Wadi Musa’a main road but they explain one of our rooms is flooded and cannot be delivered, instead we’re offered these options: one couple can sleep here tonight while the other couple sleeps in another similar hotel and come back tomorrow, when they’ll have free rooms, our all four go to that hotel tonight, and come back tomorrow or all four go to that hotel and never come back. We decided to take a look at rooms in that hotel first. At the moment we see the first room we know we’re going to stay there next two nights at same price we had for Cleopetra: 35 dinars per room. This hotel name is “Al Anbat II”.

   Once settled into our new room we go out for some dinner. We order four soups and two dishes of a local recipe called Shabah Lagabiya. It is a broth with three sorts of meatballs which taste just as our meat with potato spicy balls we call “bombas”. It is served with rice with herbs apart.

   It’s been a long road day and tomorrow we want to be early at Petra entrance looking for being one of the first people, before tours appears, so we’re in bed around 22:00h.