Have you seen Rebecca lately?
Actually, now you say it, no we haven’t.
So, where is she?
Well, she’s in Jordan.
Jordan? Where’s that?
Do you know where Saudi Arabia is?
Yes, well, to the north of Saudi Arabia, and below Syria.
What’s she doing there?
Did you know she has family there?
Oh, is that why she’s got the funny surname?
Is she having a nice time?
Yes she is. Shall I tell you where she went yesterday?
You can if you want.
She went to the lowest place on this earth.
Oh you mean the Dead Sea
Yes, where she is now is Amman, a city built on mountains so the way down to the Dead Sea is down down down, your ears pop on the drive. You pass ancient little villages once you’re out of the city, and mountain range after mountain range, the driest you can imagine, and almost pink in colour. The road twists and turns, buses overtake you, you think you’ll die, but somehow the bus just misses you. The drive takes over an hour and you look out of the window all the way and think, how do people live here when there’s no water, and you see flocks of sheep on the mountains, and you shake your head and say what are they eating, there’s no green at all. However, they do live and seem pretty healthy.
The road flattens and the Jordan Valley begins, and then you begin to see the Dead Sea is between two ranges of mountains, and between two politically important areas, the West Bank and Jordan. There ahead is the silver blue Dead Sea shimmering in the hot sunshine.
WHAT DOES REBECCA DO NEXT?
The crazy woman dashes on to the beach, covers herself in black mud, bakes it dry in the burning sun, (it’s a good sunblock), and then floats on her back in the Dead Sea. Wonderful until the water gets in her eye. The extreme saltiness feels like it will burn her eye right out.
Never mind the burning eye, look around. After a couple of metres of black mud the cliffs are striped salt and rock, the stones by the water are baked in salt. Beautiful and fascinating.
But then notice something. What a long way it is from the road to the Dead Sea. It must be a mile. It wasn’t like that years ago when she came when she was young.
The lowest place on earth is getting lower, no longer 420 metres below sea level. There wasn’t this huge empty area years ago. How sad, ..... what are we doing to this planet with all its mysteries? We need to learn how to keep it healthy otherwise we’ll lose so many areas people have loved for thousands of years.
Did you know Cleopatra used, along with asses milk to bathe in and almond oil to moisturise her skin, so the story goes, salt from the Dead Sea in her beauty routine.
Did you know also that the Romans 2000 years ago ruled the area and controlled who went down the roads to the Dead Sea because salt was so highly valued it was used like money. And did you know that the English word salary comes from salt. This is because the Roman soldiers were paid partly in salt and they were very happy to receive it. Without it their soldiers’ rations would have been pretty tasteless.
She’s got another week, where will she go next?
Maybe nowhere she’ll love more than the Dead Sea, it said goodbye to her in the most memorable way. Look.
See you all in twelve days.
This blog was written by Rebecca
Published on 28 March, 2023