Jordan is the land of rocks and stones? Is that what you have heard? You'll be surprised to see some splendidly blue and pure water spreads in this country...
By: Soumya Jain
Posted on: July 10, 2011
Jordan is the land of rocks and stones? Is that what you have heard? You’ll be surprised to see some splendidly blue and pure water spreads in this country…
We gasped in awe as we drove towards our hotel in the Dead Sea area. It was about 4 o’clock in the evening and a bright sun was shining down upon the Dead Sea, making it shimmer like a million diamonds. This was the first look of Dead Sea for us and this image will be forever embedded in my memory.
We swung to look at the opposite side of the Dead Sea and saw rocky, mountainous terrains. “Nature’s games,” we thought.
As our mini-van entered the gates of the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, we were all thrilled with the thought of exploring this five-star hotel property which had eluded India till recently. Neither were we disappointed. Standing near the entrance is a Turkish Ottoman who stylishly pours you a lemon drink from the long jug strapped on his shoulder.
We stacked our bags in beautiful rooms in the Jordanian village styled section of the hotel. Styled with green wooden doors, mud walls and a charming balcony which looked out to a very pretty flowered area, the room was perfect to the hilt.
But who wanted to stay in the room while there was so much beauty waiting outside! We freshened up and ran out to survey the area and watch the sunset at the Dead Sea.
But what is it about Dead Sea which makes us so excited. It’s not just blue coloured water. Being more than 400m below sea level, it’s the lowest point on earth and the world’s largest natural spa. Dead Sea receives a number of rivers, including the Jordan River, in its fold. But after Dead Sea, the water has nowhere to go. Therefore, it evaporates, leaving effective salts like magnesium, sodium, potassium and others, behind. The mud around it is also rich in these minerals and is considered the best ‘mud pack’ you can apply on yourself. Even the air around the Dead Sea is eight percent richer in oxygen as compared to sea level. Many people suffering from skin diseases spend days at the Dead Sea to cure themselves – and they have succeeded!
After our sunset musings and chats, our group headed towards the hotel for dinner. Munching our food at the Al Saraya restaurant in the Mövenpick hotel, our eyes were simultaneously checking the time again and again. We were going to see a traditional belly dance and nobody wanted to miss it!
The belly dance was held in an open air venue. As the night progressed and dancer gyrated flexibly to the Arabian music, the air became a little chillier, and I could actually feel the fresh air from Dead Sea filling up my lungs.
It was a pleasant, blissful time. You could make it as vibrant as you wanted, or as quiet and intimate as possible. We preferred to be the noisy ones as we laughed, gossiped, clapped for the dancer and exchanged little idiosyncrasies.
Next day, it was time to have a dip in the famed Dead Sea waters. We excitedly reached the sea side at 6:30 am with a cool air blowing across. There was hardly anyone at the shore that time. I don’t know how to swim, but I confidently stepped down in the waters, and lo and behold! I was floating away to glory! Quite simply said, no one can drown in the Dead Sea since it’s so nourished with salts. So non-swimmers need not despair about missing the experience.
We had an absolute fun time at the Dead Sea as we frolicked in the slightly warm water, applied a generous helping of the mud on our body and secretly filled some in bottles too to take back home! After all, it is said that the Dead Sea is fast losing water and will be dry by 2050.
After that was breakfast and back to road for the next place to visit – the Ma’in hot freshwater springs. Constructed 264m below sea level, The Evason Ma’in resort by Six Senses is built around these springs. The drive down to the resort is as stunning as the resort itself. Winding down the mountainous valley, we screamed at Basel, our guide, to stop the car that instant! A photo-session was definitely in order among the rocky scenery!
The resort, once we reached there, presented a minimal design, which prefers to capture the senses by highlighting the natural beauty outside. Their spa is, of course, the tour de force of the property. The spa is built around one of the springs where you can relax, jump in and savour the hot waters – all in privacy. The spa menu shows a list of Arabian inspired treatments using figs, olives, Dead Sea mud, dates and more.
Lunch was at Brown Bar in Evason Ma’in Resort. It was a simple Italian menu of Ceaser’s Salad, Penne Pasta with Parmesan Cheese and Cream and Double Chocolate Cake with berry sauce – but very, very filling and absolutely delicious. It was the perfect comfort food to tuck in after a refreshing bath in the hot springs!
Aqaba, the port of Jordan, was a completely different ball game all-together! It was the most active city of the country with cars swishing down the roads, neon lights blazing up the sky at night and people hustling-bustling around to shop at 10:00 at night! You literally feel ‘alive’ in this city as compared to the calmness of the rest of Jordan.
The Red Sea, located at Aqaba, connects the country to its neighbours, and is one of the major routes of trade with them. The shore is lined up with some expensive, classy, drool-worthy yachts. Hire a spacious boat and roam around the lush turquoise coloured waters of Red Sea. Our boat, named Alissar, was a big boat. We lifted our heads and cameras to the cool breeze as we rocked to songs of Akon and Enrique Iglesias and savoured the traditional Arab ‘chai’ and a sweet dish made of semolina and dates. Even Basel, our constantly instructing, walking, talking and laughing guide, seemed to relax with the calmness of the sea.
We made a small round of the Red Sea and tried to notice carefully as Basel showed us the coast of Israel, Egypt and other countries. Truth be told, we weren’t listening much! We were just content to see out at the sea and feel blessed…
After that, we transferred to a smaller boat which had a small glass floor, and zoomed towards the coral reef area. We gasped in awe as our eyes were arrested by the coral reefs – all of different kinds, shapes and sizes – and some visibly breathing! Small fishes swam in and around the corals on groups. It was like spying upon another world! The only disappointment was that the bright colours of the reef were not discernable from the glass floor. A better idea is to opt for snorkeling and actually dip inside the sea to swim among the reef and give a feast to your eyes and senses.
Do you know what’s the best thing about Jordan? It’s not just a holiday, it’s more like a spiritual journey, where you feel blessed to be alive and to have a rare chance to view and live in this kind of natural beauty…