It’s difficult to fully grasp just how salty the Dead Sea really is – until you put a drop on your tongue. I made that mistake, ironically, because I was told not to do it. Sort of like the “wet paint” sign that tempts you to touch. But a drop on your tongue is nothing compared to your eye.
It was cool the day we visited, and Duncan opted for the proven technique we all use when the water is uncomfortably cool – he dove straight in. Big mistake. The aftermath looked a little like the Zombie Apocalypse, until you added the sound track. Then it took all my willpower to keep a straight face.
Kind hosts advise their guests to avoid certain things before they visit the Dead Sea. Diving in headfirst is one. Shaving with a blade is another. Shaving your legs (something I rarely do, to be honest) is even worse. And I suspect you don’t even want to think about other possibilities.
If you take a glass of water from the Dead Sea, nearly one third of it is salt. There is so much dissolved salt that it feels oily. And salt precipitates out along the shoreline, creating unreal images like this.
But all that salt creates opportunities too, and every shop in Jordan carries Dead Sea cosmetics. Duncan wanted to bring a selection home for friends, but we couldn’t find shampoo. So we asked Jamal to take us to a large tourist store on the edge of town.
He thought for a moment, then said “no”.
“No! I have something better.”
And that’s how we found ourselves parking along a nondescript street on the edge of Amman. The small building looked more like an apartment than a major business. After the customary greetings, and presumably secret handshakes, we were shown a selection of products at very attractive prices. It turned out to be the headquarters for the company that supplies Dead Sea products to all other cosmetic companies in Jordan. It isn’t listed in any guide book, but we got our shampoo, and several other items, for an excellent price – and a great story for free.