The honey was super fresh – right on the honeycomb at the Dead Sea in Jordan – delicious!
I think I’ll wear this outfit around town in New York. Is it a good look for me?
Wonder no longer! I’ve been asked about it dozens of times already, so this is the story of how Jordan and Bahrain, two countries in the Middle East, made it into my southeast Asia itinerary. I might have the strangest itinerary and route of anyone I’ve met in my travels.
While I was enjoying Bali and Java, Indonesia, Fan was working on a business trip in Tel Aviv, Israel, and suggested we meet up. They’re not even remotely close, but just for fun I did a quick search, and was to surprised to find an incredible deal! For $181 USD rountrip I could fly from KL (Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia) to AMM (Amman, the capital of Jordan), with a layover in Bahrain via Gulf Air. That’s about the same price as the short trip to the next country in the area that I was about to book before seeing this. It must have been an error in the system, or perhaps a generous promotion, but either way, after checking that Gulf Air was a reputable airline, I pounced! Changing dates or revising the plan so I could route through Israel or Egypt would have made it cost prohibitive, but at this rate I could certainly swing it. An hour later it was almost twice the price. Later that night the price had nearly quadrupled.
The initial flight I found included a 4.5 hour layover in Bahrain. Layovers are often built into my longer flights to save money. In case it’s helpful, here’s my philosophy on layovers: One hour layovers are fine, and 10 hours are often enough to leave the airport and explore. But 4.5 hours is just inconvenient. So I extended it to 19 hours for the same price, giving me enough time to experience some of tiny Bahrain before heading to Jordan. It wouldn’t have been possible to book a deal like that if I was on a schedule. I spontaneously decided to take advantage of tremendous savings with a week-long detour that took me halfway back home before returning to the Middle East. That’s the beauty of a long trip like this.
I can barely fit both Jordan and Java, Indonesia, on the same map. Java’s on the southeast corner of the map (Java Sea is labeled), whereas Jordan’s located on the northwest corner of the map, in between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming – photos and stories from Jordan!
Does Dead Sea mud really work? Is it as amazing as the crazy lady portrayed it? Does it really have magical powers? Regardless, it’s fun to be covered from head to toe in Dead Sea mud!
The Jordan tourism site says the Dead Sea has been an attraction since ancient times, and even Cleopatra used to visit.
Dead Sea mud is rich with minerals that many believe to have therapeutic and even medicinal benefits. A woman at my hotel was obsessed with it, saying it’s a miracle skincare solution. I wish I could convey her overwhelming enthusiasm for…mud. “It’s amazing. Uh-May-Zing!” Her Medusa hair swayed with each animated sentence. She went on to explain that it’s the raw materials for multiple Jordanian Dead Sea cosmetic product lines bottled and sold all around the world. If you believe the hype (and the crazy German lady!), it’s not just great for cleansing and stimulating the skin (apparently it worked wonders for her teenage daughter’s acne), but can also be used to improve blood circulation, relieve muscle and emotional tension, offer immortality, and ease rheumatic pain. I’m not 100% sure I heard one of those accurately but she mentioned quite a few benefits in her interesting yet painfully slow never-ending list. It reminded me of the scene(s) in Forrest Gump when Bubba’s listing the varieties of shrimp meals. “Shrimp Gumbo, Shrimp-n-Peas…” [If you just got a sudden urge to see that Gump scene (I did!), here’s the 0:43 clip from YouTube below]
It was surprisingly captivating, if only see her hair knock over everything in it’s path. After a long pause I figured she had finished the long list of benefits and started saying goodbye, but as I was getting up, she then continued. “You can use it for anti-aging, anti-acne, anti-wrinkle, anti-…” She had me at “amazing” nine minutes ago. Her accent seemed to get thicker with each word. At this point her hair’s already knocked over a pile of papers and a mostly empty glass. She then shifted from helpful endorsement to borderline infomercial. “And that’s not it! It’s also great to help with psoriasis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, oh and you know what else? Most people don’t even know it’s great for…” Perhaps there’s somebody to fill Billy Mays’ shoes. I love meeting interesting characters in my travels.
It’s called the “Dead Sea” because the salt content isn’t exactly welcoming for underwater life – it’s one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water (33% saltine). Due to the hypersalination of the water, you can float!
In this photos from the Dead Sea on the Jordan side, I have both hands and feet out of the water as I float. I found a newspaper for the photo but it was just a prop. Look closely and you’ll see I’m reading a Japanese newspaper!