Wednesday, October 7, 2009

corner view - souvenir


of course there are the thousands of thousands of religious artifacts you can get in israel. chanukiot, hamsa hands,, kippot, kiddush glasses, and all the other jewish religious items, as well as jewelry with religious symbols (star of david and the hai).

and if you go to jerusalem there is jesus on the cross. everywhere. on cups and candles, plates and t-shirts, posters, postcards, table cloths, bags, paintings, necklaces and basically everywhere you can squeeze in a cross and a guy. and obviously there are quite a few virgin mary statues too.

but i don't know anyone who buys those things. when friends and family visit they often bring home all star sneakers, crocs (hello mom and dad!) and havianas flip flops. for some yet-to-be-figured-out reason, these international shoe brands are 1/2 to 1/3 the price here in israel compared to denmark. but that wouldn't really qualify for a souvenir, that's more like making a good deal.

but they also bring back dead sea products. to themselves and to friends and family. everything from mud and bath salt to facial creams and hand soap.

the shores and surface of the dead sea is 422 meters below sea level, which makes it the lowest dry land spot on earth. this little turquoise pearl i's squeezed in between jordan on one side and israel and the west bank on the other side. going there requires a 3 hour road trip from tel aviv through the desert. and the last part of that trip is downhill, down and down, while you look for the signs telling when you are at the minus 100 meters spot, minus 200 hundred meters and so forth. at some point you will see the turquoise, shining surface that is the dead sea. right there, deep down, among all the brown and yellow shades of the desert and the red mountains of jordan in the back. it's spectacular.

once down you can go in. it's the funniest feeling. seriously, most people start to laugh, me included, cause you really float like a balloon due to the high level of salt, something like 9 times normal salt water. the water feels soft and thick, but god help you if you shaved your legs that morning or scratched a mosquito bite a bit too much the night before: the salt will kill you! and i don't even want to tell you how it feels to get it in the eye.

the famous dead sea mud full of healing and soothing minerals can be found in some areas and holes along the coast. people dig down into the dirt with their bare hands and rub it all over their bodies. or you can go to a spa area, where they will have facilities and the mud ready to use in pots.

the combination of the mineral content of the water, the low level of pollens in the desert air, the low amount of ultraviolet component from the sun's radiation, and the higher atmospheric pressure has made the dead sea a unique place for health treatments of many illnesses and conditions. besides psoriasis patients having great effects from the salt water and the minerals in it, they can also stay in the sun for longer hours because of the sun's bad UV rays are weaker at this under-the-sea level.

once you leave the water the skin feels smooth, almost like you are covered in oil. but as soon as it begins to dry you will feel the itching and burning as salt is drying on your skin. alas, run for the shower!

the dead sea products are available all over israel and i assume you can get it abroad as well, but since this the origin is here, i think it qualifies as a local souvenir.

oh, i hope i didn't scare you! it's just us, my mom and aunt, and me (cause if i had put up their photo only, they would have killed me. with mine in there as well they might just never speak to me again). be prepared if you consider going to the dead sea: you have to be able to enjoy and take yourself serious while walking around covered in mud from top till toe. hey, it's good for you!

for more souvenirs from all over the world, check out jane's corner view, this week chosen by epe.

21 comments:

  1. Oh, I would LOVE to try that! It looks and sounds so good!!

    Happy Day, Trinsch!

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  2. People do that with the mud from the hot springs around here- they say many of the same things about the mud, that it is healing and wonderful.

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  3. it has to be very funny at the dead sea. like the 3 ladies :-) goodnight trinsch*

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  4. lovely pictures, funny words, as usual... see you

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  5. lol! you look smashing in that mud mask! :)

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  6. hello, beautiful, muddy you!! :)

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  7. Thank you for the tour Trinsch - You, your mom, and aunt look marvelous in mud!

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  8. Uhh, I tried a mini dead sea experience in Mariager Saltcenter and loved it. This looks like 10 times more fun though, would love to try it!!

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  9. I think I'd go for the dead sea products. Yup! and love the mud pics.

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  10. how i love coming here! my stepmom is addicted to ahava products. they cost a small fortune... i´m sure they are cheaper there. i´ll just tell jorge i need to visit... besos!

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  11. ha ha... how are we doing on the family-speaking-terms-lark, then? ;)
    looks fab but, then again, I enjoy being covered in mud more than a little piglet... which reminds me it's probably just time to visit the hammam again. another sort of muddy experience (and indoors) but just as good for body and soul, methinks ;)

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  12. i read a travel article the other day on the dead sea and now i really want to go! this post was much more interesting and informative than the newspaper though. looks and sounds fantastic!

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  13. the mud photos are great!

    and i imagine that pretty much everywhere in the world (except maybe oslo and tokyo), things are 1/3 to 1/2 the price of what they are in DK. :-)

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  14. Not fair...even covered in mud you look great! ;)
    I would love to try that myself.

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  15. What a sensational feeling it must be, getting into that salty water for the first time. Can the kids go in too? And you, your mum and aunt look fantastic in that mud cover-up.
    Happy weekend, Trinsch!

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  16. great post - so informative.
    And the pictures look great. I'm sure your skin feels great too.

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  17. Those are great, i hope to visit Israel, and the dead sea once in my life!

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  18. Wow! I dind't know about the mud treatment when I visited there many years ago:) looks fun.

    Best wishes, happy weekend..

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