The Dead Sea is one of the most beautiful and mysterious places that we visited during our travel in Israel and Palestine. It’s located in the Jordan Rift Valley, bordered by Israel and Jordan, but I felt that it’s a place that brings people together from all parts of the world. The Dead Sea mystery consists of the fact that it is the lowest point on Earth at 430.5 meters below the sea level and that actually it’s a lake with salty water which makes swimming similar to floating.
We traveled to the Dead Sea from Ramallah, so it’s a little bit more difficult but still possible. The challenge for us was to find a shared van service to Jericho and not a taxi because most of the drivers would have wanted to give us a ride until the Dead Sea for a price of 250 shekel, which was way too much for our budget. After a while, we found the stop of this kind of service and we waited to get full but we paid only 20 shekel per person until Jericho. The ride was a beautiful adventure, the roads weren’t so good and we didn’t have a proper seatbelt in the back, so me and Anna we shared one.
When we arrived in Jericho, we asked the driver if he could give us a ride until the Dead Sea, we negotiated and agreed for 50 shekel all of us, but we specifically demanded to arrive at a public free beach. Here it’s the funny part… he drove us to the super expensive beach and left, the entrance price was 85 shekel, I honestly felt that I could have a heart attack. It was already lunchtime, the heat there is criminal and we felt lost. We had to take another van that for 5 shekel offered transport to the main road and wait for a bus from Jerusalem which could let us to a free beach. Here comes another funny part…this driver told us that we have to wait at least one hour for the Jerusalem bus and tried to convince us to go back with him to the fancy beach and pay 60 shekel per person for one day. I felt lost and angry because of these confusions and big heat so when we discussed it, I accepted like my mates. But I wasn’t ok, for me paying for a beach is too much tourism but in those conditions to avoid to lose more time, I did my best.
The Dead Sea is spectacular and even if it was a private beach, it was overcrowded but me personally, I wasn’t so much impressed. I tried to keep my calm together, watching different people and write. I saw there tourists from Russia, Spain, UK, Korea, France, people from Hebron or Tel Aviv. I was full of curiosity and desire to understand how Muslim women can support that crazy heat all covered up and also the salty water on their clothes. I’ve seen so much diversity there and that’s why I felt grateful to be there even if I paid for it.
Going back, the same driver that convinced us to stay on this beach didn’t let us catch the Jerusalem bus which was in the bus stop because he wanted the 5 shekel that honestly didn’t deserve because it should have been included in the service of the beach. Guess what? This time he told us that the next bus to Jerusalem is in 20 minutes…so when I want to go to another beach, I have to wait one hour but in that situation only 20 minutes. I lost my temper again and because I didn’t have any person with who to argue, I decided that I will hitchhike. I had a paper in my bag and I wrote Jerusalem with all the anger inside me and I went very confident on the road. The first car that saw me…stopped so we had a free ride to Jerusalem, from where we continued our adventure. I felt more relieved that after all this crazy day to find a nice person to give us a ride and I will recommend hitchhiking there because people are open to help and it’s another way to interact with them.