After leaving Wadi Musa we headed to the Dead Sea which is the lowest point on earth at 400m below sea level and is part of the rift valley stretching from Africa. On the way there we stopped at a small town to buy some lunch and managed to find a fantastic local shwarma place where they were making and cooking fresh falafel and chicken shwarmas - pretty damn tasty.
After that it was a slow drive down into the Dead Sea valley passing loads of Bedouins in their makeshift plastic tents tending their goats. It is obviously a big tomato area as well, as we passed lots of fields with people picking.
Of course we had to have a dip in the Dead Sea- or should I say float? The Dead Sea is actually a lake with one river running into it and no outlet point. It is lowering due to evaporation so the mineral content of the water is high in salt, which means you float when you swim - quite a freaky experience. You are only allowed to swim at designated resorts due to the proximity with Israel and the risk of people floating over to Israel (and vise versa) - hence the strong army presence in the area.
After our float in the salty soup, the truck made its way back up out of the Dead Sea valley toward Mt Nebo. Mt Nebo is famous in a biblical sense as it is where God told Moses to go to see the promised land. Moses also supposedly died and is buried here. Unfortunately it was a very dusty day so we were unable to see the 'promised land' however the remaining mosaics from the original church on the site were on display and were very impressive.
From here we drove further along the hilltops to our first bushcamp site of the trip. This we realised was a pretty spectacular setting once the dust lifted. We could see straight across the Dead Sea to Israel and could clearly make out the lights of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the border line between the two countries.
I was on cook group that night and dazzled everyone with my cooking prowess by cooking meat balls (actually they were already made so I only needed to heat them up!)
After an early start the next morning we headed toward the Syrian border with a brief stop at Safeway supermarket (our last taste of western civilisation for a while). Most people bought blankets here as it has actually been quite cold at night here despite the warm days.
Next entry, Syria where Heidi will finally be doing some writing (so expect a lot more history lessons!)...........