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Published: January 18th 2012
The Hotel was so quiet that the tours they often run to the Dead Sea weren't happening due to lack of numbers. So we had decided we would take the bus to Bethany and the Dead Sea, even though it seemed that this would be very tough. When we went to get a taxi to the bus station, we managed to reach an agreement with the driver to take us to both places and back, while waiting for us at each for 30 JD. This saved us a lot of hassle and I'm not sure if we ultimately could have done all we did that day with just public transport.
The first stop was Bethany, the place where it is claimed that Jesus was baptised by John. The site itself is not all that impressive and the guided tour wasn't up to much. There are a number of churches which were built and destroyed in earthquakes near the spot where Jesus was baptised. Perhaps the most interesting part was the point where you go down to what is now the River Jordan. You are literally a stones throw from Israel and can see the people from Israel visiting the same
spot on the other side.
After about an hour we went back to our taxi and on to the Dead Sea. We had heard that there was a public beach that you didn't have to pay on to and some hot springs near by. At first the taxi driver claimed he didn't know of such a place. He then relented and told us that there were no showers and insisted we should go to the Amman Beach Resort, which was 16 JD to get into. We stuck to our guns and asked him to bring us to the public beach, which he wasn't too happy about.
We got out and scrambled down this hill to the Dead Sea. There were about 6 Jordanians around but other than that we had the beach to ourselves. There was quite a bit of rubbish around but other than that it was perfect. We got in, took the obligatory photos and relaxed in there for a while. For the first time in Jordsan, the weather was quite hot. We then approached some of the locals who were smearing some of the black slime (not the best description) that the Dead Sea is
famous for. Before we had a chance to ask, they were smearing it all over us. They then brought us over to this waterfall, which we got under. The water was very hot and cleaned everything right off us.
We then got back in to our taxi, who was in a sulk all the way back. We reckon that he must have been hoping for some commission from the Amman Beach Resort. Back in Amman, we got some food in Jerusalem restaurant, which was brilliant if a little expensive. We then spent sometime walking around downtown Amman. It was early evening and there were markets set up on every street. This was the more traditional part of town. Most women were in hijab and quite a few in full burka, more than I thought would be in Jordan.
Later on, we went for some shisha again. We also took a walk down Rainbow St, which I'd heard was one of the liveliest. It was definitely more Western. Some of the cafes even had Santas and Christmas trees still up. As it was a Tuesday, everywhere was fairly quiet though. We stopped in a bar for 1 beer. It
was quiet, but there were no hijabs in here and most seemed to be speaking English. It was difficult to tell if everyone was expats, but I think there were at least a few Jordanians. Outside, the Porshces etc parked on the road confirmed that this was a world away from the part we had been in earlier.
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