Dead Sea – it’s salty! So salty, that you can float without any effort!

If you’re going to be in Jordan, might as well as go see one of Earth’s natural wonders – the Dead Sea. This place has quoted or referred to a lot in the Christian and Jewish religion due to its extreme saltiness that no organism can live in it since it’s 10 times saltier than an ocean! That’s why people can float on the Dead Sea without any effort to tread water.

I had a teacher who spoke about how he went to the Dead Sea and used to float in it easily, without any issues, that he would read a book out on the water for fun. I never believed the stories until later, the photos started showing up. So it became one of those “I won’t believe it until I see it and try it.” So going to Jordan to see the Dead Sea and float on it was a life goal… and I had the will to go achieve it! So I did it!

low point punto bajo de tierra agua saltada Jordan's dead sea israel west bank

Interesting sign telling you information about the Dead Sea. It’s one of the low points that is not in the ocean.

salt sal salz sel поваренная Мертвое моресоль Иордания Jordania Jorden middle east arabs christians jews biblical reference

First step for me into the Dead Sea. If you noticed the white stuff – it’s all salt. It’s that salty that it compiles itself onto the beach.

chill out beach place jordan middle east resort tourist turista lugar sitio para pasajeros extranjeros

I was getting a feeling for the Dead Sea. When I went, it was relatively warm so the water wasn’t cold. Even the tourists around me were all in shorts and t-shirts or even bikinis.

lying on the water dead sea s'allonger sur l'eau dormir en el agua

Once I got comfortable, I started to lay back and just chillax.

vacation in Jordan middle east my fun time beach sunbathing tomar el sol en arabia

Just gotta be careful with the occasional wave. They can actually push you around and splash you in the face to where your sunglasses get ruined due to the extreme salt.

Tip: Try not to taste the water. I had a wave throw some water in my mouth and it was very bitter. Had to buy a coke to use it as mouthwash.

ноги вверх float legs up water recliner bein piernas arriba

Gotta have the legs up! A view of what it looks like when you cannot swim down but the water keeps you upright floating.

dead sea view vista Mar Muerto

Make sure you come during a time that is not high season. You see how there are people on the beach? During high season, you will see 10-20 x more people!

Tip: You can do this trip from Israel since the Dead Sea is shared by Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank. I recommend renting a box to put your stuff in and then going out to the Dead Sea to float for about 20-30 minutes which is a good amount of time to freshen up your skin and let the parasites get choked up to death due to the bitter saltiness.

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Wadi Rum, Jordan

Why just stop at Egypt? Jordan is nearby and has a lot of things to do and see as well. So Jordan is the next stop!

So coming out of the airport and after spending the night in a hotel, I was off to Wadi Rum! This place was famous for two reasons. First, the famous T.E. Lawrence of Arabia helped lead the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. He was actually a British archaeologist who became commissioned during World War I as an Army Officer in the British Armed Forces and was sent off to Egypt to assist in collecting intelligence on the Ottoman Empire who had joined forces with the Germans and Austrian-Hungarian Empire. He then led an Arab army of complete irregulars in a victory against the Ottomans. Wadi Rum is supposedly where he made his crossing several times to surprise and fight the Turks.

The second reason why Wadi Rum is famous is the amount of movies that have been filmed there. So what better way is there to film the Lawrence of Arabia where he actually did the famous desert crossings? In Wadi Rum! Supposedly, even the King of Jordan, King Hussein, went out to Wadi Rum several times to see how the filming was going and even provided assistance in making the movie. As a result of the movie and later stabilization of the country of Jordan, more movie producers have started utilizing Wadi Rum as a movie scene. One of my more favorite movies, The Martian, was filmed the external scenes as the background for the planet of Mars using Wadi Rum. Of course, there was some computer graphics and special effects included but actual filming did take fact there. Even some of the props such as the Mars Rover in the movie were given to some of the museums in Jordan.

mars planeta marte movie set background desert mountains dry sand arena seca seco Strand Jordan Wadi Rum

It does look like the planet of Mars. It almost makes me so alone in that desert.

jump gravity low none jumping saltar salta salto en aire planeta especial espacio nave navegar desierto Jordanian desert

Because it looked and felt like Mars (with the exception of the heat), I figured that I would jump to see there was any gravity. Yep, still on Earth.

seabed dry sand dry mountains ancient old viejo arena tierra middle east

So my guide explained to me why this region of the world is so sandy and dry – this part of the world used to be an ocean seabed, meaning that it used to be completely underwater. That explains why the ground is not so great for growing crops because there are no nutrients in the soil.

barren rugged Transjordan desert arabia arab arabs islam muslim country

Another barren view of Mars… I mean Wadi Rum. Sometimes even planet Earth can show a glimpse of what other planets would look like.

long distance walking in desert survial sobrevivir sin agua camellos

There goes my 4×4 truck driver. I can’t imagine the long trips on camel back back in the day to travel long distances.

Tip: Bring cigarettes from your home country and share them with the locals. The farther away and more unknown the place is, the more exotic and better it is. If you are able to go to the Bedouin camp, they will offer tea for a price. However, if you offer cigarettes, you might get free cups of tea! I remember speaking with the Bedouins who are quite fascinated with foreign cigarettes (if you have any).

camel artwork obras de arte en roca desierto Kunst Jordanian bedouin ancient

Someone a long time ago scratched this artwork into this rock formation.

camels rest point resting area

A Bedouin camp in the middle of nowhere…. or more like a resting point.

cabeza roca humano human rock formation korp la tete

Many years ago, when the ocean was occupying this area, it more than likely formed this rock into the shape of someone’s head.

lawrence of arabia carving head face

A carving of the great man in history who made this Wadi Rum famous to the world – Lawrence of Arabia.

sandboarding sandboard surfear en la arena surfeando desierto

I didn’t know what my guide was doing but he took out the board and asked me if I wanted to sandboard. Hell yeah!

sandboarding extreme desert heat sun arabian

I did good. Didn’t fall and went at a decent speed but no tricks.

There is one great thing about Jordan is that there are not that many tourists in this country. It’s relatively an unknown to travelers and tourists who generally only go to Jordan to go see Petra. There is a lot more to this country than you expect! And no, I never encountered any issues with terrorism or stuff like that. Even the people have told me that Jordan is quite safe that even kids play late at night. It’s not like their neighbors who for some reason keep appearing on the news.

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What to buy in Egypt…. I recommend camel meat!

Being in a country heavily influenced by the Middle East, Egypt has gained quite of a bit of culture, language, and society norms from the Arabs even though Arabs don’t really see Egyptians as being pure Arabs. Nevertheless, there are some things that you can expect from Egypt that you might see somewhere in a Gulf Arab country such as camel meat!

camel meat carne de camello unique exotic food comida exotica arab arabe african food cuisine locals egyptians special bbq meat

If you have a tour guide, ask him to take you to a camel meat restaurant. You will not find this on your own so it’s best left to the locals to locate one. So what it did taste like? Tasted like beef but much more chewier. We had three different plates brought out and they all varied in spice/hotness level. This is definitely not for squeamish – stick to soups, salads, and sandwiches like a sheeple tourist.

You can buy whatever in Egypt in terms of souvenirs (pictures, paintings, cups, key-chains, smaller models of the pyramids and sphinx, etc.) as there are tons of them left and right in Egypt, but camel meat is one that you have to try!

One item that’s kind of unique but it can get pricey is the papyrus artwork. Generally, the bigger it is and the more colors it has, the more expensive it is. There are tons of these on the internet as there are so many variants so if you go to a papyrus store or even at the airport store in Egypt, you can find them easily.

Tip: Bring cigarettes from your home country and offer them to the locals. I don’t smoke, but quite a bit of Egyptians do and if you have any foreign cigarettes, they will more than likely accept them as they’re curious about the outside world. What might be another typical day walking by the Pyramids is a complete awe-struck view for foreigners going into Egypt and seeing them for the first time. So a smoke (or cigarettes) can help bridge any gaps such as foods and drinks do as well. This definitely helps if your guide or driver is a tobacco user.

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Cairo, Egypt: where the famous Pyramids, Great Sphinx, and Egyptian Museum are at

Any trip to Egypt will undoubtedly require a trip to the worldly known and famous Pyramids (most likely the Giza Pyramid), the Great Sphinx (and it’s broken nose), and the Egyptian Museum where many of the photos taken of the famous archaeological finds such as the tombs, artifacts, and many more are featured. Even King Tut’s tomb and its treasures are also part of this museum with its own exhibit (and police section that also enforces a no-photo rule), definitely is worth going to. So once my scuba diving trip was over, it was back to the chaotic city of Cairo where the world wonders await.

And forget about all that crap you see or hear on the news about the violence or terrorism. The people and government of Egypt take great pains to ensure that foreigners, particularly tourists, are in good and safe hands. The last time that they suffered through a huge drawback in tourism resulted in a lot off people to be in poverty and/or laid off because tourists became scared. This time around, I don’t think the Egyptians want to do go through pain  again so they’ve put in a lot of work to ensure the tourism (and tourism money) continues to flow in the people’s coffers which is helping the country become more of a regional power which results in their government put more protection and improved services to foreigners. For example, around the well-known tourist areas, you will see a lot of police conducting patrols to make sure tourists feel safe.

Onward to the pyramids! And yet, another world wonder is complete! Well, actually, they’re part of the 7 world wonders of the ancient world, not of the new world wonders. however, I still put the Pyramids in that 7 world wonders list which really makes it 8 world wonders of the world. Even the organization that held the 7 new world wonders campaign made the Pyramids a honorary candidate.

egypt pyramid piramides symbol egyptian ancient world architecture archaelogy

The best time to go to the pyramids is in the morning when the sun is coming up and the tourism crowds are low.

posing with egyptian giza pyramid cairo tomb kings queens

If you have a guide, ask him or her to take you to where the crowds are smaller so you can get a better picture.

side of pyramids sandstone desert desierto arena mucha sunny glazed rocks

On one of the pyramids, you can climb a certain section of it. Might as well get up and personal with the pyramids!

view vista vue de von pyramids piramides egipto cairo sand desert hot sunny dry

Another area with a view of the pyramids.

shade pyramid sun blue sky clouds dirt

You can go during low season such as spring or fall, it’s best to go then. In the summer, I heard that it’s unbearably hot and even the local Egyptians go to the Red Sea and Mediterranean resorts to cool off.

hole aguja in center of pyramid egypt arab middle east world wonder

Interestingly, this pyramid has a hole in it.

horseman camels desert pyramid tan color salvage quarry

You can see that the top of the pyramid’s color is different from the majority. I was told that over time, people would go to the pyramids to make them into quarries in order to salvage the rocks from them to build their own homes or other buildings.

 

If you’re in the Pyramid area, you will likely to go see the Sphinx. How did the Sphinx lose its nose? No one knows but I think in the Disney movie Aladdin, that was probably the best story of them all – Abu and Jasmine were riding on a magical carpet which caused the sculptor to mis-strike the rock which caused its nose to break off. So just looking at the Sphinx – gosh, it’s a lot smaller than you imagine it to be. You would think it’s huge like its Pyramid brothers surrounding it but nope.

broken nose nariz rota sphinx de egipto egypt simbolo symbol area tan desert color

Who broke the Sphinx’s nose? That’s a million dollar question or billion dollar question.

Sphinx and pyramid

Sphinx and pyramid.

angle of sphinx view small not big pequno

It just isn’t that big as you can see. Don’t believe the movies!

Another side of the sphinx

Another side of the sphinx.

sand bricks sphinx legs back backside

Here’s the backside. I thought that there would be a tail but there isn’t. Must have taken a long time to get those sand bricks in place.

Once you get your fill of these ancient world structures (and avoiding the touts trying to sell you souvenirs), your next stop is to the Egyptian Museum (also known as the Museum of Cairo). There is a lot of priceless ancient world Egyptian artifacts with many dating back thousands of years! There are so many in there that it might rival the British Museum in London which alone is a very big museum.

Museum of Egyptian Antiquitie

The front entrance of the Egyptian Museum. This is just the start of numerous artifacts and exhibitions.

carved hieroglyphics museum piece artefact

Some carved hieroglyphics. Very well detailed work done thousands of years ago.

pharaohs kings emperors of egypt empire ancient dynastic

I guess this is what an Egyptian king (pharaoh) would have worn back in the ancient times.

artwork statue tomb pharaoh ancient egypt upper lower lotus reed

Something interesting with the statue and the artwork inside.

A great day to see what I remember reading all about when I was a kid. I’m lucky to have finally seen it in person!

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Scuba diving day 2 in Hurgada, Egypt – Red Sea

Sometimes, the second day is always better than the first day as seen with my first and second fishing trips to Scotland have shown. But in diving, it’s more of the fact that if you haven’t gone diving in awhile, then the second day gets you more acclimated to the gear, diving conditions, boat, personnel, and running schedule. In other words, you’re getting that rhythm down so you’re more in-sync and can dive better. That’s what I think. So this second day of diving was awesome. Saw a lot more fish out there than usual and was more comfortable after seeing how the diver operators run the boat and how they dive.

follow seguir buceador en el agua bajo in saltwater diving waters

I was following this diver as he made a gesture to check something out.

escuela de pez big ball of fish pelota de peces

He ended up leading me to this huge school of fish. Like a big ball of meat, you could actually hear underwater, the simultaneous sound of all the fish making a turn underwater. Swoosh!

amarillo jeune gelb farbe fisch pez fish peche

A yellow striped coralfish. Interesting how the light is affected by sunlight and the sand underwater which makes the fish’s yellow stand out.

angel fish pez coral group grupo agua

Again, the yellow stands out in these angelfish. Gotta have that good camera to take good pictures.

crocodilo pez ambusher ambushing fish en la arena bottom dweller

I don’t know what this fish was but it looked like an alligator fish or some kind of predator fish lurking on the bottom to ambush prey.

And I’ve stated before, always be on the lookout above, below, and around you. Because sometimes you see the unusual even if you’ve gone diving many times underwater.

ray raya nadando nada nadar swims along the bottom

Generally, you don’t see rays swimming along unless they get scared off but this one was on a mission.

dig digger fish sand murker clean eat snag

Apparently, the ray saw something in the sand and started to dig in it, possibly looking for some crabs to feast on. It ended up attracting other fish who might be able to snatch a free meal as well.

tuna atun red sea trophy fish swimmer

I didn’t get a good look at this fish but it looked like a tuna! Although I don’t think so because tuna are generally chasing after baitfish and are not bottom feeders.

long fish pez largo

Some kind of long fish. Don’t know what.

moray eel red sea egypt

A Moray Eel – quite common anywhere you go it seems when you go diving.

fish hygene dental gill cleaning parasites gills limpiar limpiando skin rashes

Ever seen the documentaries where there are fish that clean parasites of bigger fish? Yup, they exist! I managed to take this picture of a fish from behind it without spooking their hygienic operation.

ball of fish school peces yellow

In places where there are less people, you’ll see these big balls of fishmeat swimming around.

luces peces yellow orange red green mixed colors stripes dots spots fish

I really liked the view of this place because the lighting was perfect to where I could capture the different colored fish along this tall rock underwater. I liken it to a Christmas rock with all the different colored fish as the lights.

So the Red Sea is a great place especially for Europeans to go to since it’s relatively close, somewhat cheap (cheaper than some places in Europe), and it’s generally sunny most of the time down there. All that makes for a pretty good combination for Europeans who might want to get out of the snow and cold during the winter times. So one recommendation is to check when are the high and low tourist seasons because when I was out there, I could count 20 dive boats moving about in the area. However, one guy told me that he went down there during winter vacation (Christmas, New Year’s) and the Red Sea was just packed with boats and tourists. Not all of them were there for diving but you gotta compete with snorkelers, passenger yachts, luxury yachts, tour groups on boats, etc. Some dive  spots do get overloaded that there are times where people didn’t see any big fish because they got scared off by the large amount of people in the water.

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