Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Forced Floating

So apparently normal people ask for days off of work. Me... well I get told by my boss that I need a day off and she doesn't want to see me around the office for a whole day. I suppose she was right and I took full advantage of my forced break!
Another one of our staff members celebrated her birthday today so she also had the day off of work. We decided to make it the best birthday ever. Our destination of choice? The Dead Sea!
Once again I braved the public transportation system, this time with much more success although still a bit of confusion as to which bus we needed to get on. But we figured it out eventually and made it to the En Gedi Beach on the Dead Sea this morning. It was already a warm day so we decided to jump right in. Maybe that's not the right way of putting it. For those of you who have never had the privilege of experiencing the Dead Sea, let me advise you to put on your bucket list. It is the coolest and weirdest sensation. You start walking in and before you get in up to your knees you feel like you are going to fall over, so you quickly turn around and sit down. And you're off! Floating on the waves without a care in the world. The first time I went, I didn't believe it. You can't possibly just float... but you do. The ridiculous amount of salt in the water forces you to float. It is so cool!
So we paddled around for a bit, trying to avoid getting salt water in our eyes. It stings so bad! Then we laid out on the beach for a bit, enjoying the sunshine. It was at this time that we noticed everyone rubbing dirt all over themselves. Odd, but also normal here. Apparently the mud next to the Dead Sea has tons of minerals in it. You can actually buy bags of it at the stores here, or if you visit just find it on the beaches. We figured we would do as the locals do and also joined in the fun, completely covering our bodies in the dark substance. After letting it dry for a few minutes, we waddled back into the Sea to wash it off. Our skin really did feel smoother so it must have worked.
After enjoying a nice PB&J sandwich on the beach we decided to find a new adventure. We were close to En Gedi so we thought we would hike one of the trails up the waterfalls. However, the directions we got from the local snack shop guy were a bit off. We headed the wrong way down the highway a couple kilometers and found a kibbutz (hotel) where we were given the right directions. We headed back the way we came and finally found the right area.
The hike up the hills was beautiful! The entire area is gorgeous desert mountains, but then randomly there are a cluster of palm trees and these lovely waterfalls spilling down the hillside. We hiked the trail up alongside the stream and swam in the pools along the way. It was so refreshing!
All in all, my coworker has decided it was the best birthday ever. For me, it was a great forced vacation. Who knows, maybe sometime I'll actually think to ask for one of these before my boss kicks me out of the house...

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