Friday, February 20 -- Jordan

Friday,  February 20-- Jordan
It was raining lightly by the Dead Sea this morning, but Amman got something like 24" of snow. We heard that another tour group didn't make it to Petra and ended up at our hotel even later than we did last night. We're at the north-east corner of the Dead Sea and drove south this morning. The Sea appears calmer than it was when we visited on the other side, but it is choppy. It never snows at this extremely low altitude, but we can testify that the wind gets dang cold.
We pulled off to get a good look at "Lot's Wife" -- a naturally eroded rock formation that people think looks like a woman turned to a pillar of salt. It was uncovered during the building of the road and apparently became quite a sensation.
Michel pointed out there's no rush today, our range of travel is so limited by the severe weather in the higher areas. 

We got off the bus to walk across a bridge for a better view of a valley and the very small amount of water going into the sea. The fresh water is diverted into swimming pools and other domestic or industrial uses. Across on the Israeli side we could see waterfalls created by the snow melt. They'll help a bit, but they say the Dead Sea will dry up in 30-60 years unless something changes.

We saw Bedouin camps, where they spend the winter months here in the Great Rift Valley. They'll move to higher ground when it gets too hot here in the summer. There were people out and about in a couple of the camps, something we hadn't seen before. A bunch of the children waved excitedly and blew us kisses.
By late morning Michel received word that the road was now clear enough that we might be able to reach Mt. Nebo, so we set out in that direction. There was an inch or so of snow on the ground there, and along the road we saw a group of young men and a very stylish snowman they'd built. 
Hasan got us safely to the top, where we stood on the spot  Moses is described to have stood on when he first saw the Promised Land, after God told him he couldn't enter it. We sang "Majesty" and said The Lord's Prayer, then Michel played us a sung version of the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic, the language in which Jesus first said it. Our bus was the only one that had made it to the site today.
  We went farther east and a bit higher. At a mosaic studio they showed us several of their techniques and served us hot tea and pita. There was some purchasing. While we were there, snow began to fall again. By the time we drove back past the earlier site, two more buses were arriving, so though we were pioneers, we were no longer the only venturesome souls.
Back down the mountain, we stopped at a Dead Sea products shop, then back to the hotel. We saw several buses with piles of snow on their roofs and heard of more groups for whom Petra had become an impossibility. We're very grateful for the foresight and actions of everyone who worked to get us to Petra and then back to a nice warm place by the Dead Sea before the roads became impassable. Of course, while we were at dinner and into the night, there were violent thunderstorms, part of the same storm system that has brought the higher areas to a halt. I think we've experienced nearly everything the Middle East has to offer in terms of winter weather. 

Link to All Photos for February 20

Link to February 21 Posting


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