Saturday, March 22, 2008

Salt Lake City

Three days at a spa hotel at the Dead Sea - even for a teambuilding exercise - can do wonders for your state of mind. Horizons , like the mirror-still water, flatten. The hazy weather meant that the Jordanian side was invisible, giving the impression of a real sea. The hot soporific weather, an aromatherapy massage and 15 minutes in the mineral baths help to slow down the pace and the absence of constant news updates keeps you stress free.

At 6.30 a.m. two buses disgorge groups of fit-looking Russians (tourists?) who delight in the novelty of the bouyant waters.

and find a double twist on the classic reading the paper photo.

The road north between Ein Boqeq and Ein Gedi reminded me sometimes of the Sinai coast.

The Dead Sea Works at night. In fact the main Dead Sea hotel area is situated not on the sea itself but opposite huge industrial pools that serve this plant that gathers minerals like potash

Now that the flow of fresh water from the Jordan River to its north has completely stopped (Sorry folks but the lower Jordan river is now actually a sewage canal), the Dead Sea is now retreating at the rate of a metre per year. A major international effort is need to save it. Friends of the Earth Middle East a regional environmental NGO wants the governments and global bodies concerned to discuss options other than the 'peace conduit' plan proposed by Shimon Peres and adopted by the World Bank.

Meanwhile the damage done by the shrinking of the lake is becoming ever more evident. This 'sink hole' , one of at least another thousand, was created when underground fresh water dissolved dried out salt deposits causing the ground above to cave in. It's only a few yards from the main road.

Moonrise near Ein Gedi and back to the grind.

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