It was early morning, almost 7:00 am. Issam, my dedicated driver, was ready to pick me up. We were all set for a four-hour drive to the Dead Sea. This would be a long excursion, and I ensured I had breakfast in the morning as I would have to go hungry through the journey. This was my first taste of the countryside of Jordon. I got a real taste of the dunes of the desert, and I first had a glimpse of the nomadic life of the people who lived there. These were sheepherders, camel owners, and nomads who lived in mud-baked houses. We listened to hit super songs from the film Pathan throughout the drive. Shah Rukh Khan is a big star here. Almost everyone in Jordon knows Shah Rukh Khan and all his songs and movies are dubbed in Arabic and played on television; he is an absolute superstar. When we were getting stopped at the police check posts along with my passport, I would show the policeman my videos of my acting with Shah Rukh Khan in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi; that was all I needed as an introduction; no more questions were asked off me and we where given free passage with a smile and salute. That is the natural soft power of Bollywood, and I used that power all through my journey in Jordon. I never got hassled at any police checkpoints, and neither did Issam.
I would often stop to take pictures with camels and local nomads; the dry, hot desert dunes were perfect backdrops to take photos. I also saw the drip irrigation technique used to grow vegetables and farm in the desert sand. This is a unique way of farming that is only used in the desert. Occasionally, I would stop over at mosques to pay my respects. The journey was long but fun. This was Jordon, the honest Jordon, far away from the city life and the Urban Jungle of Amman; thus, it was the natural dessert of Arabia where Arab culture was in its full pomp and show. We were now venturing into the Dead Sea territory from the emerald-blue Red Sea of Aqaba. The Dead Sea is known for its heavily slated waters, where one can float at will as the salted water has a lot of buoyancy.
By the afternoon, we reached the Dead Sea; we got off at the Ramada Hotel and then took a minibus to the beach, where the Dead Sea began. I had already bought some swimming trucks and was advised by the local beach divers not to put my face into the water as the salted water would burn my eyes. But like a fool, I did not listen and plunged hard into the water. The result was that my eyes began to hurt as the salty water caused a lot of irritation. I started rubbing my eyes, and that created even more problems. The diver was watching me and came running to me with a bottle full of fresh water, which he sprayed on my eyes, and finally, I was able to get the salt water off my face. After floating around in the dead sea for an hour, I returned to the beach and was duly given a mud bath. The mud from the Dead Sea is meant to be therapeutic and great for the skin; I rubbed it all over my body, black mud all over my body, and finally soaked the sun for an hour before washing it off.
The afternoon lunch of chicken and rice was all I desired, and I did some curio shopping simultaneously. The drive back was refreshing as I felt reinvigorated after my mud bath, which had a healing effect on the essential body and soul. To my delight, we reached Aqaba just before sunrise and captured some breathtaking sunset pictures. Aqaba sunset next to the sea is an absolute delight and a treat.
So enjoy my pictures and get a natural feel of Jordan and its Arab Life.