Half as Old as Time

A Day of Rest
Sunday 12th March 2023


This morning we woke up when we felt like it, got out of bed only when we felt hungry. Don't get me wrong, I would hate two weeks in a resort like this but three nights of rest and relaxation at the end of an adventure is just perfect.

I put on my dressing gown and walked out to the end of our terrace to marvel at the view across the Dead Sea towards Jerusalem. Julie joined me and we spent a while gazing across the stilness.

Breakfast was served at the ground floor Al-Saraya restaurant. There was a huge choice on offer but despite the option of more familiar international style breakfasts I still wanted to keep it local.

I couldn't find any at first and almost gave up. but found it in the end tucked away on its own table, strangely hidden in plain sight.

I tucked in with a bowful of foul medames and a plateful of falafel, hummus, mutabal, labneh, all scooped up with flatbread.

Going back for more I came across this individual portion of Shakshuka, a tasty spicy tomato stew topped with egg. Another dish and new taste experience was a pickled aubergine. Not a whole large one like we have in the supermarkets at home but the much smaller variety.

I only picked one up, took it back to the table and carefully dissected it. I didn't want to shove a whole one in my mouth only to find it stuffed with minced lamb or something. Satisfied it was just an aubergine, pickled, I then tried it ... and  loved it!

I rushed back to get another three to eat!

After breakfast we changed into our swimwear and relocated down by the infinity pool where there were plenty of loungers to choose from. There was just a smattering of people. Everyone must have been still eating breakfast. It was busy there.

We sat next to the railings, right on the edge overlooking the beach. Not that we could see any of it when we were sat down, only the blue of the Dead Sea. 

Every now and again I would get bored, stand up and have a look at what there was to see. The coastline South of us was interesting, geologically. It was arid and rugged with these ridges in the rock. I assumed they were lines created by the receeding water. 

At about 1pm we decided to have another go at floating in the Dead Sea. It was a long way down to the water. I wondered how far the water had receeded since they first built the resort?

It's estimated it is dropping on average a metre every year. The Movenpick opened in 1999, 24 years ago, so the Dead Sea had dropped 24 metres, the equivalent of over five double decker London buses!

We stepped into the water.

The ground fell away quite suddenly and I was out of my depth after only a few metres out but a strange calmness came over me as I floated further out on my back. I had no fear of drowning.

This was a much better experience than the float we did on Thursday because it was a moment shared with Julie floating nearby, our hands touching briefly.

"Has it always been Dead?" asked Julie. What a great question. I had never thought about whether during the time of Christ, or even Moses, was it as salty as this. The answer to which I did not know.

We didn't spend long in the water. Perhaps five or six minutes, which was long enough.

Our skin felt wonderful when we came out, the viscous salty water stuck to us like oil. Half an hour later after drying out on the loungers I noticed my legs were covered in salt.

For some reason this curious phenomenon got me feeling hungry so we ordered some lunch to the loungers.

A falafel wrap to share and a large portion of chips arrived soon afterwards. I raised my leg and asked "Do you want some salt with that?"

The remainder of the afternoon was spent drifting in and out of consciousness with a dip in the infinity pool to freshen up.

I should have brought my book with me, Lawrence of Arabia's Seven Pillars of Wisdom. I could have done with its distraction. The sight of a geriatric lady in a swimsuit bending over in front of me was sight I could not unsee. She was like a tortoise without its shell. Don't get me wrong, she had every right to be there, in her swimwear. The problem was mine.

A little disturbed we decided to leave and return to the privacy of our room. Although we had neighbours today who were out on the shared terrace. So we decided to draw the curtains and have an afternoon snooze.

Three hours later and the sun was setting beautifully over the Dead Sea. It was difficult to imagine what horrors against humanity took place today in the West Bank whilst we made our way up the hill towards happy hour. .

This time we knew exactly where we were going and reached the main hotel and sat down with our half price drinks inside 10 minutes.

In a pleasant surprise they were showing football on the TV. Unfortunately it wasn't the United game, then again a 0-0 draw against the team at the bottom of the table was possibly a good one to miss. Whilst Arsenal were beating Fulham 3-0 we relocated.

The other side of the bar there was a flutist playing popular tunes that you sort of recognised like the one from Titanic, and the Whitney Houston one but none of them were easy on the ear.

At 8pm we left happy hour, a little happier than we arrived.

 We enjoyed our food so much last night we decided to return to The Grill. We had already made our repeat reservation last night, same place, same time.

 There were plenty of other dining options but there wasn't much competition. We already tried Luigi's Italian, there was a eat-as-much-as-you-like buffet, (I'm not a fan) at Al-Saraya restaurant and there was suppose to be a Chinese restaurant called Chopsticks but we couldn't find it.

Our table was waiting for us.  

Tonight I ordered choices that I hadn't eaten last night. It began with a lovely fresh fattoush salad seasoned with plenty of zesty sumac.

Next came labneh made with goat's milk. There was a delightful freshness to its flavour, a sharpness to it that I liked. 

The best dish however was the batatas harrah, spicy fried potato. They were just perfect. There was plenty for us to share but they were so moreish we thought about ordering another bowlful.

Julie didn't have a starter and went straight for the Grilled Chicken main course. She loved it. "They really know how to cook on the grill!" she said.

 The quality of the food was exceptional, both tonight and last night.

We had eaten quicker than we had drunk our bottle of wine so we sat at our table for a while longer. Both of us were being bothered by insects nipping our ankles. We wondered if they were fleas from the number of cats that were roaming around the village square. 

We paid our 79 dinar bill and made our way back down to our room. Lights out before 10pm. It's surprising how tiring it is doing nothing.


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