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Amman Tourist Beach (Jordan)

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      01.04.2013 14:58
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      A must do if you are in the area,

      Floating in the Dead Sea is a unique experience and one I was keen to try on my visit to Jordan. It is the lowest point on the planet (408m below sea level) and the second saltiest body of water, with a salt content nine times denser than a 'normal' ocean. The salt content means that very little can survive in the water - so there are no fish or coral. We parked up outside the Amman Beach Tourism Resort and our guide bought our tickets as it was included in our trip, as were towels but I think it costs about £10 to get in. You could hire or buy costumes there.

      There are changing rooms for each gender with lavatories and (cold) showers. In the ladies there were four private cubicles or else you had to change communally. There were a number of chairs and tables for your stuff as well as lockers. I didn't use the lockers as our bus driver had volunteered to watch our bags for us. The changing rooms and facilities were not brilliant, but there was an attendant endeavouring to keep them clean and mopping the floor and washing the showers. Like any swimming pool facilities anywhere in the world, the floors were nearly always wet. We went down to the beach with our towels (wrapped in plastic) and put them on one of the tables on the beach before entering the water. The beach is sandy but it is a little bit rocky as you go in and there are some unusual salt 'rock' formations where the tide has washed up salt onto the beach in a pattern. I was surprised how warm the water was.

      Although it was December and we had been quite chilled in the morning, the air and water around the Dead Sea were noticeably a few degrees warmer. My guide reckoned it was about 8 degrees centigrade warmer than Jerash, about an hour away. It is not easy to swim in the Dead Sea as it is quite hard to keep your balance, as your body doesn't submerge like you are used to. Besides you are advised to keep your eyes out of the water. Having accidentally splashed myself in the lower face I would advise keeping your mouth out of the way too - it tastes foul! If you feel the need to swim it is probably best to do it on your back. If you have any cuts you will be able to find them as they will sting. At first I could float very inelegantly. I kept listing to one side slightly and my legs were flapping about in an unladylike manner, but eventually I got used to it and floated star-shaped, on my back, in the sea. For a further 3JD (£3), you can help yourself to some Dead Sea mud, which allegedly takes 15 years off you. I didn't apply it to my face as I didn't want to worry about taking it off but I did cover my legs, arms, upper chest and back (with assistance). It is very soft and smooth and black - it looks like an oil slick rather than mud. I did get some on my swimming costume but this came off easily. It was hard to get the mud off my skin in the sea however, it left my skin with a grey tone, but a freshwater shower dealt with that, although you may need two to get the final layer of salt off your skin as my first attempt wasn't entirely successful (admittedly in the cold showers at the resort where I wasn't inclined to linger). Covered in mud as a group we became a tourist attraction for the locals with a number of people wanting their photo taken with us. There is also a pool at the resort, which is colder than the sea and some of us went in for a refreshing swim. You can purchase drinks (hot & cold), ice creams and gifts here, with many Dead Sea salt and mud type packs. I believe there is also a restaurant also.

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