Wadi el Mujib

We had an adventure the other day. Pops and I rented a car.  My cousin called the car rental place for us and spoke to the salesman, turns out she works with his sister-in-law. We agreed on a time and car and he brought it to our house. We didn’t pay or give credit card information, we just signed a contract and took the car for a week, or so. 

I wanted to go to the Dead Sea again and now that we had wheels, we could do whatever we wanted! I looked up on tripadvisor.com for “things to do” in the Dead Sea area.  The #1 hit was this Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve.  I read a bit about it, googled it, looked at pictures and was sold.   I showed dad some cool pictures and he was quickly convinced.  We packed up the car and were on our way. My aunt sent a Tupperware of cherries with us and some apricots, 2 very Mediterranean summer fruits.  They taste very different here. The ground is so fertile, it’s no wonder the Levant region is referred to as the fertile crescent, it’s seemingly desert but then the agriculture is magnificently prolific. I wish for you to taste apricots and cherries in a Mediterranean country on a hot summer day.
 
First we needed to fill up gas. Let me tell you a bit about driving in Jordan, forget everything you learned in driver’s ed, except that a red light means stop,  green light means go and you stop at stop at stop signs, most of the time. Otherwise, it’s a dog eat dog world, no signalling, no lanes, heavy horn usage, basically automotive chaos. My dad doesn’t want to drive, which is funny because this is where he learned to drive but he finds it too hectic, so I’m the designated driver. We got to the gas station and I need to parallel park, on the left hand side.  I love parallel parking and my driving teacher, Mr. Ellisher, God rest his soul, taught me a great technique that is foolproof. I parked, perfectly, if I do say so myself and got some looks from the attendants (all male) I will speculate that the looks are a. because I’m a woman, b. because I’m driving and my dad’s the passenger, unusual, and c. I parallel parked successfully. They filled up our gas, cleaned our windows, we paid for the gas and tipped for the window cleaning and left.  We found our way to the highway and headed down, down, down to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth.

We got to a military check point, I slowed down, and stopped, the guard waved me through, I gave him a very serious wave and drove on.  You must remember, the Dead Sea is the Jordanian, Israeli border.

The drive was beautiful, red-brown marbled rocks, desert to the left and glistening water to the right with a backdrop of beige mountains, Israel.  Eventually we reached the reserve, we pulled in a gravel parking area, parked and went to check it out.  (Website)  We paid the entry free, were given safety precautions, instructions for walking through the gorge and life jackets.  We crossed a bridge leaving the Dead Sea behind us and entered a gorge in a beautiful canyon, there were birds flying all over.

near the end of the river, the start of our trek
Dad wading in the water

We had been told that we were going to be walking through the river for most of the time so we got in the water and began walking upstream.  The water felt really nice, cool in the hot desert sun.  After a while actually, when the sun was no longer directly above us, it was actually quite cool in shade of the canyon.  We walked for a while as the water slowly got deeper, over rocks and through gravel.  We walked and scaled big boulders, using ropes that were drilled into the top of the rock to help ourselves up.  It’s amazing how forceful water is.  I mean if you lose your balance just slightly, the water will push you down and throw you into the water.  We walked and walked, through the water for over an hour, people stopping to help one another over rocks and down waterfalls.  Finally we made it to our destination, a 40m waterfall! It was beautiful! There was a little swimming hole and we threw off our life jackets and went to play under the waterfall.  Sorry, I don’t have any photos of the waterfall because by that time I had put away the camera in several plastic bags and a waterproof backpack. 

While we were walking slowly back, we made friends with a guy from New York and a guy from Denmark.  They had been at a math conference in Israel and drove over to visit Jordan for a few days before heading home.  They got to talking to my dad about the fish.  Fish?  I said I didn’t see any fish and the guy from New York said “they must be attracted to hair,” apparently the fish were nibbling at the legs of the men! Bummer – I didn’t get to experience that sensation…

Look at the color change in the rocks!

Bougainvillea above the Dead Sea
Rear view, heading back to Amman
  

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