ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI

ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
ISRAEL 2016 // DEAD SEA + EIN GEDI.
Siraj, our boisterous English hostel roomie, swooped in one Saturday morning with a spontaneous proposition: He'll rent a car, we'll all go to Ein Gedi, do some waterfall hiking. Him, Vince, Marcela (the Polish roomie in our 10 person room) and me.

In a few hours time, we were in that rented car with our swimming gear and off on a 2 hour roadtrip to Ein Gedi, with Siraj taking the front seat. Siraj, we collectively found out the hard way, is quite the aggressive driver. Borderline loony driving skills, really. Think most of us spent the car ride fighting off dizziness and nausea. But despite all that, we somehow still marveled at the passing, arid desertscape, watching it transform into the soothing Dead Sea scenery. That Dead Sea. It's all kinds of serene. With a hazy (salt?) cloud looming over the waters, filtering the harsh sunlight. We stopped at a cliff to take in the Dead Sea serenity for a quick minute before getting back on the road.

Now I'm fairly certain we got to Ein Gedi in 1 hour instead of 2, somehow making it in one piece, thanks to Siraj. Or thanks to God - I don't know who to thank! But nevertheless, ready to see the waterfalls that Siraj made a big fuss about. Only an hour or so hike up the mountain. In the heat. At high noon. Double oi. Luckily, there were many little waterfalls along the upward climb, each time we stopped to cool off in the waters and shade before moving on. My kind of hikage. In a few hours time, we were back down the mountain and wondering what to do next.

The Dead Sea. It's just right there! Yeah, why not?

There are a few places along the Dead Sea to enjoy the waters, just that most of them cost money to access the beach. Which kinda blows. Luckily, about 30 minutes south of Ein Gedi there's a free beach. Ein Bokek. It's not the nicest beach and it's quite crowded. But, it's free. Spent a solid hour or so, floating around in the waters and hanging out on the beach by the time dinnertime rolled around.

Floating effortlessly in the Dead Sea is quite the mixture of feelings. On one hand, it's amazing how freakishly easy it is to just float. No fear of drowning here. On the other hand, that high salt content is quite fierce. Every open skin, cut, scratch - you will instantly feel with a vengeance. It stings beyond what you'd expect. Stepping out of the waters is equally just as interesting. A layer of white, flaky salt residue appears on your skin as you're drying, the swimsuit hardening along the process. It might take a few douses underneath the open-air showers to feel somewhat clean.

But to say that you floated on one of the saltiest and lowest places on Earth? Cross that off the bucket list!

--

When: April 2016
Temp: 50-80F

Car Rental in Jerusalem: Middle East, 190NIS/day, only certain cars are allowed and insured in Palestine.
Dead Sea Hike/Waterfall Mountain Trail: Ein Gedi, 1.5hr drive from Jerusalem.
Free Public Dead Sea Beach: Ein Bokek, 2hr drive from Jerusalem.


-jin-