I was rather skeptical about this floating in the Dead Sea business. It seems such a cliche that you come to Israel and you have to go float in the Dead Sea, but we were there so I had to do it. Well, it is a very cool experience. And floating is the right word; it’s pretty much impossible to swim in the Dead Sea. We tried, but it just doesn’t work. We rolled face down and tried to kick, but our legs were so buoyant they came out of the water so we couldn’t kick. So we tried to see if we could actually submerge ourselves below the water, but couldn’t do it. We bobbed up like a cork. So we settled for what the “Special Instructions for Swimming In the Dead Sea” advised, floating on our backs. While floating your body is at least half out of the water. It is really quite amazing. You can just put your head back and lie perfectly still, and you will float forever.

But today we left the Dead Sea. And being the lowest place on earth, there was nowhere to go but up. So we climbed and climbed. Luckily there was a good breeze blowing today, and as we climbed the temperature dropped, so we stayed comfortably cool. That made a big difference in our day.

We also played leap-frog with a group of cyclists from a cycling club, and we stopped to chat with their SAG driver, who also topped up our water bottles with nice cold water. That also made a big difference because it meant we didn’t have to ration our water, as we otherwise would have had to do since we didn’t pass any place to replenish all day. We just cycled, mostly uphill, through the empty desert. On one long stretch of road every few kilometers we passed a large sign cautioning us to Beware of Camels Near Road,” but we never saw any.

We made it to Dimona early this afternoon. Dimona is a hard-scrabble, depressed, working class town. We had a bit of a hard time finding the Guest House as none of the signs are in English, and of the few people we passed on the street and tried to ask directions from, most spoke no English. Finally we asked one man who spoke just enough English to understand our query and pointed to the building right across the road from us. Not until we approached the front door did we spot the sign identifying it as the Guest House we were looking for. The woman here when we arrived didn’t speak English but she dialed the phone and handed it to me to speak with someone else who does. I believe we are the only people staying here tonight. It’s a rather large guest house and I can’t imagine who their clientele is; my only guess is people working at the electrical generating station down the road, or on the railroad serving the mineral quarries a bit further east.

There is a small shopping plaza down the road so hopefully we can find something to eat there. Tomorrow we will head south to Mitspe Ramon, on the lip of Maktesh Ramon (Ramon Crater).


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