We awoke before the crack of dawn today, at which time the temperature was mild — only in the 80s — in Aqaba. By the time we'd arrived at the Israeli-Jordanian border, it was easily over 100 degrees. Such intense heat makes it a bit difficult to do anything outdoors, which is why it proved advantageous that a visit to the Dead Sea — the lowest point on Earth — was the only real activity on today's docket.
I had seen photos on social media of people floating in the Dead Sea before, but I guess it is one of those things that you have to experience yourself before you believe it — in my case anyway. The hyper saline lake is 9.6 times saltier than your average ocean, which makes for a greater density and thus the ability of people to float effortlessly. A concerted effort needs to be made, in fact, for one to "sink." As Yair — who rejoined us at the border crossing today — pointed out, laying back and reading a newspaper while floating in the salty water is the tried and true tourist's photographic pose.
Just about everyone went for a little dip in the Dead Sea, but a few decided to remain on the burning sands of the shore. Mercedes wants me to inform you that she was one among this group of individuals that opted not to get salty; I suppose there are already plenty of other things to get salty over these days (not sure if that semi-joke is working, but I'm going to leave it).
With the heat as oppressive as it was, we headed for the hostel to the south of Jerusalem that we are spending a single night at. The hostel sits at the foot of Masada, this gargantuan rock plateau thingamabob that Herod the Great chose to fortify in the 1st Century B.C. We had plans to climb that baby, but as it turns out, the forecast for tomorrow does not look favorable (AKA it's going to be another scorcher). That's understandable; we can't have anybody going and dying on us now.
I'll be sleeping with the moths tonight, as they seem to have taken up permanent residence in the room I am staying in. We'll try to stay out of each other's way.