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This wasnít a very busy day. We just rode on the bus a lot. But one activity more than made up for any boredom we mightíve experienced

Would you eat anything for breakfast that was described unabashedly as "foul?" Well, I did.  Foul medammas tastes like beans.

 

Put a little hummus on those foul beans and you're good to go all day.

 

Last view of Petra.

 

The old city and all the monuments are between the closer, light colored hill and the darker hills behind. This explains how the city remained hidden all those years. You can come by on the road and never see it.

 

Guess whatís under those cones over there. Thatís where Moses struck the rock and got into trouble with God. There really is water there; they call it the Moses Spring. We did not stop.

 

I think it's going to be a long, boring ride.

 

Those shrubs are everywhere. They are called artemesia and they provide food for animals such as donkeys and camels. Not much else grows in this arid climate.

 

Nice roads, though.

 

Mo said that is an ancient Roman garrison. I told him it didnít look that old, and he said it has been restored.

 

Roadside market.

 

We stopped at a souvenir shop for a potty break. Do you want one of those? Yeah, me neither.

 

This part of the world has some of the most garish souvenirs for sale I have ever seen.

 

There's really not much here I'd want on my table.

 

But if youíre looking for a mosaic of Jesus, this is the place to come.

 

Somewhere around here is a road to Damascus.  We did not take it.

 

We took the road to the Dead Sea. See that stone marker? We're back at sea level again, headed down.

 

And that's how far down we're headed.

 

Glub glub.

 

And down we go.  I think I see water up ahead, maybe.

 

Yep, and it looks inviting. Yes, it does.  Does so.

 

I mean, it's got a spa and everything. Apparently people have been taking dips in the Dead Sea for a long time, and we've come to join them.

 

The tourist stupidly left his swim suit at home because who would be crazy enough to go swimming in the dead of winter? It wasn't till he actually got here and realized that even in winter, when you're this far down it can still be warm enough to swim.  So he bought the cheapest swimsuit he could find and off he went to the lovely beach.

 

OK, the spa was lovely.

 

But the beach was rocky.

 

Very rocky.  You did not want to walk barefoot on this Dead Sea beach.

 

The lovely spa seems a long way off now.

 

But the Road Scholars are not deterred.

 

Ooh, ouch, ooh, ouch. When the tourist was a kid he could walk on anything barefoot. Not so much anymore. But he is determined to get in that water.

 

It's true!  You really don't sink!

 

Look Ma, no hands!

 

He is literally walking on water.  Yes, really.  His feet are not touching bottom, so if he's not standing on the water, what is he standing on?

 

Whatever, he's certainly having fun.

 

If only that water weren't so unpleasant you dare not get any in your eyes or mouth.

 

He's not worried.

 

Maybe it's time to get out.

 

 

There are buckets of mud on the beach.  Why, you ask? So you can cover yourself in yuck like all the other Dead Sea tourists for centuries.  It's good for your skin, you see.  Makes you look 20 years younger. Of course it does.

 

Otherwise, why would idiots do this?

 

See how lovely they look? And they've been coated in mud for only a few minutes.

 

How do you get this stuff off, anyway?

 

It's not as easy as you might think.

 

Hurry it up, tourist.  You have a bus to catch.

 

Fortunately the spa had outdoor showers to get the rest of the mud off. (No, not out there on the lovely beach of rocks. Back behind us.)

 

Oh, boy, time to overeat again.

 

This stuff was absolutely delicious.  Sort of like pistachio milk toast.

 

I took this picture so I could look up a recipe when I got home.

Bye, spa.

 

I remain amazed that the basically poisonous Dead Sea is surrounded by rich farmland. I asked Mo about it and he said that itís the minerals in the Dead Sea that make the land so productive.

 

Everywhere we looked driving away from the Dead Sea we saw roadside produce stands bursting with fresh vegetables.

 

The whole highway is like a big Kroger fresh produce department.

 

This must have been one of the seven years of plenty.

 

They even have pretty flowers!

 

(The green at the top is what you get when you take a picture out the front window of the bus.) Every town needs an airport as beautiful as Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. We will fly out of here to Cairo later this evening. At least I hope we will. Our flight has already been delayed once. We are now supposed to leave at 8 PM.

 

That call to prayer really gets around.

 

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