Day three was loooong for Emma and me. Our bodies woke us up at 2am after only a few hours sleep. She read her book ‘Avalon’ and I watched a little of the movie ‘Hellboy’ before we got up and went for a walk on the grounds of the hotel. We checked out the playground and sat by the pools for a few hours telling stories in the dark. Around 5am Lily joined us and the sun came up revealing the Dead Sea and the steep sandstone cliffs of Jericho, Palestine on the other side.
The hotel is nice – a basic resort with several pools and a few restaurants. The resort gets more use by locals than travelers so it still feels foreign. Shisha, the flavored tobacco smoked from a bong is everywhere. You can see Israeili muscle-beach action next to women in full-body ‘burka’ swimsuits. There is almost no drinking or rowdiness. Trisha gets a lot of attention for her tattoo, though none is crude or uncomfortable. The staff love our girls and talk to them all the time – although they both act shy around new adults.
After a huge breakfast buffet (no pork products of course) we are the first ones in the pool at 8am, where we stayed until mid-afternoon. Trish and I both got dead sea mud spa treatments (about $100 each, not cheap) which were pretty good. Trisha looked radiant after hers. By 2pm the jet lag had set in and everyone was crashing fast. We tried to squeeze in a meal at the Sports Bar ($75 for burgers and fries!) and failed. Both kids feel asleep at the table, their little heads in the french fries.
Three hours later we emerged from our room and headed to the Dead sea for a dip. It’s easy to underestimate the interest of hyper-salinated water but it’s pretty damn cool. You just can’t sink, which is good because it stings the eyes like no other. The kids were timid because I was repeatedly saying ‘Don’t splash, don’t get it in your eyes’. The water has a creepy, soapy feel and is hot at in the shallow parts. Then you just float, and float and float. It’s hard to even get vertical, it just pushed you onto your back again. Trish and Emma loved it.
Dinner time at the resort next door under a gibbous moon was pretty nice. We got a felafel that was moist and not covered in cheap tahini – I look forward to more of those. The Belly dancer was clearly not arabic, (few are anymore) but she actually seemed to be having fun, which is unusual. By 10pm we were tired again and seemed finally on schedule.
[Photos by Trisha Creekmore]