A Salty Birthday

Spa Club Dead Sea, Ein Bokek, Israel

We celebrated my birthday this weekend by floating in the Dead Sea and having relaxing, pampering, and unusual things done to our bodies.Charming scheduled a mud wrap, and I really tried hard not to sound creepy as I asked if it was okay if I... watched.

"No, " said the rather abrupt and brisk lass at the reception spa. She seemed very sure, until she changed her mind five seconds later.  I grabbed some great photos of Charming getting wrapped up in a mud enchilada, but to protect his privacy I won't put them here.

Later, I got oil dribbled all over my forehead and massaged into my scalp during an Indian treatment called Shirodhara.

When we arrived on Friday afternoon, I got right into the Dead Sea; I really wanted to feel the famous floating sensation. Sure enough, I felt like a was wearing floaties on my limbs as they popped to the surface of the  water.

A Salty Birthday-001 
I tested out a few different poses and angles, spending some time (as well as countless hours in front of bathroom mirrors over the course of my life) trying to take the most flattering bikini shot. Here it is.
 A Salty Birthday-002
Later I was playing in the water, finally able to live out my solo synchronized swimming dreams:
 A Salty Birthday-003
Before getting water in my eye. Ouch!
A Salty Birthday-004

It kind of hurts.It really hurts!

A Salty Birthday-005

The water has only gotten more potent with salt and dissolved minerals as it has shrunk in recent years due to the Jordan River, its only supplier, being siphoned off gradually. When you get in, you feel it sting any parts of your body that might be a little raw or red. After 15 minutes, (for me) it started to tingle and burn everywhere. If you get in in your eye, or if you have a cut somewhere, you better run out of the water and rinse it out.There was a ramp to help beachgoers enter the water, but salt had crystallized all over it, making it sharp and dangerous.

A Salty Birthday-006
Anything that touched or hung in the water, such as the ropes on a large umbrella planted in the water, grew heavy with sharp salt crystals.
 A Salty Birthday-007
We reached down to the bottom, and pulled up not sand, but Charming's favorite cooking ingredient: salt.
 A Salty Birthday-008

The water looks like water, but it feels like warm oil, and beads up on your skin when you emerge. The warmth was strange, considering that it was very hot on the beach.  The double heat meant that a long, pleasurable day sunning on the beach was out of the question. We spent most of out time in the hotel.The next day, we woke up at 5 am to catch the sun rise on my birthday. It was a great way to start another year of life on this crazy planet. Thanks to my wonderful prince charming for this shot:

A Salty Birthday-009

The morning was two or three degrees cooler than midday. That was my last float in the Dead Sea.What did we do for the rest of Birthday Weekend? There was eating, of course. Breakfast at Spa Club Dead Sea:

A Salty Birthday-010
Dinner and lounging at Orjuwan Lounge in Ramallah Sunday evening.
 A Salty Birthday-011
And finally, the playing of the ukulele and the game of Risk.
A Salty Birthday-012