The winters aren’t freezing in India anymore and the Bengali in me wants to get out and do something magical. Beaches are something that Bengalis and Indians enjoy a lot. But the way we enjoy it is hilarious. Bengali men with all their put bellies and jangias(underwear) in a glorious display jump and frolic around on the beaches. But, with the feminist anti body shaming movement gathering force, the same should be applicable for us. We, as Bengali men should be allowed to display our bellies, chest hair and unfit physique with pride. But with most of the Indian beaches visited, I chose the Jordan side of the Dead Sea this time around.
Why Dead Sea?
Dead Sea is dead literally. This landlocked sea receives water from a number of rivers. With the water having no outflow, it evaporates leaving behind salt. The saline concentration in the Dead Sea is about ten times that of normal seawater. This makes it impossible for any living organisms to grow. The landlocked Jordan Rift Valley is a beauty to behold with salt deposits and lime stone making a natural architecture. This transports you to another world altogether. But even with so much of natural beauty, the main reason we chose Dead Sea is because of it’s mineral deposits. The mud on the shores of the sea and the high mineral content are extremely good for your skin and health.
How to get there?
Being a middle class Bengali, we booked a half day trip from the capital city of Amman. An hour’s drive away, the day trip encompasses a Lunch and services at Movenpick Resort & Spa. After lunch, you can spend time doing anything you feel like doing followed by a trip back to Amman in the evening. My trip cost about JD 150(INR 15,000). I traveled to Amman by Air Arabia.
What I did at the Dead Sea?
After tucking in a lunch of Jordanian food, I jumped onto the beach with a load of the clay mud. Not only was I going to rub it all over my face, but also over my belly, arms and legs. It’s a bit difficult scrubbing through the hair but in the end I looked like a pig who had enjoyed his time in the mud. I jumped into the clear water of the Dead Sea. Although my swimming skills are are quite intact but you can easily float around in the Dead Sea. Do not try to do the traditional swimming techniques as the water here is saline beyond imagination. It will only need a bit of it going into your mouth to start retching.
We truly enjoyed bobbing like a cork on the Dead Sea observing the natural beauty around me. There is an amalgamation of white and brown against the blue horizon which I will never forget. Being a Bengali, a post prandial somnolence is my birthright. The same happened while being immersed in the water as I almost dozed off for 5-10 minutes before Snigdha shook me awake.
We headed back to Amman in the evening after having a time of our lives. The Dead Sea is a perfect place to rejuvenate and visit a water body in a totally new way. Do tell us your favourite place in Jordan.
All pictures are courtesy of Visit Jordan.
The food from the Arabian region has become the third largest foreign cuisine in Delhi with Lebanese opening a plethora of openings in the food scene of NCR region. With the Jordanian embassy cementing bilateral ties between the two countries, tourism has taken a jump to this middle Eastern country. Well there will be a plethora of posts on where to visit in this beautiful country, but we would like to guide you on what to eat in Jordan. Part of the Levantine cuisine, the Jordanian cuisine is split into two main branches: the traditional and the Bedouin. Although you might find a lot of similarities in the traditional Jordanian food with the rest of the region, it’s the Bedouin food that stands apart with the use of underground oven. A recently held Jordanian food festival courtesy of the Jordanian tourism ministry and Air Arabia introduced Delhiites to this rare cuisine.
Check out this guide of backpacking through another country in the Middle East, Iran by co-blogger Will Hatton of Broke Backpacker.
The meal usually starts off with a Mezze. Consisting of small plates, these are usually dishes which can be polished off with breads along with a humongous variety of dips. Falafel, the fried chickpea balls is one of the standards in the area but they are smaller in size than the Lebanese variant. The dips may include the Hummus which is a chickpea dip and pickled vegetables which provide a hard hitting acidic flavour to any dish. Jordanians also love dipping their flatbread in some Olive Oil along with some Za’atar spice which is a mixture of thyme and sesame seeds and consuming it. Ful Medames is also another delicacy that holds forte during Jordanian breakfasts. Crushed fava beans with a spicy topping of olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and chili pepper. The Dolma (grape vine leaves filled with spiced vegetables, minced meat and rice) along with the Kibbeh which has herbed, minced meat in a crust of crushed wheat then fried are major attractions.
The nationa dish of Jordan, Mansaf is Lamb cooked in dried fermented yoghurt called Jameed and served along with rice. Being a country of the Middle-East, the presence of Kebabs becomes an essential item with succulent lamb kebabs. The kebabs here tend to be a bit simpler with lesser amount of spices but the explosiveness pretty much remains the same. Kofta Bandoora has lamb kebabs cooked in a tomato gravy while the Galayet Bandoora comprises of tomatoes sautéed to release their juices and are stewed with the Mediterranean combo of olive oil and garlic. The pine nuts add a beautiful crunch to the dish. The Lamb Pilaf is also a staple with rice. The dish is unlike the biryani you would have had with the focus shifting onto the meat rather than the rice. As I had mentioned about the Bedouin cuisine, Zarb is a form of barbecue where meat and vegetables are cooked in a large underground pit. The aromas that escape on opening the pit is orgasmic
Although the Middle East may be embroiled with violence, but the people there are pretty fun loving and love their desserts. Most of them are usually wheat or other grain based pastries deeply soaked in sugar syrup along with dry fruits and honey. Baklava holds a strong presence here too. The Khunafa is a semolina cake drenched in sugar syrup along with rosewater or Orange Blossom. Filo pastries filled with clotted cream are also a rage in this part of the world. No Jordanian meal is complete without the presence of their beverages. Although the traditionalists do favour a stronger blend, the Bedouin love theirs with laced with cardamom. The Jordanians also love their mint tea which acts as a digestive and a perfect end to their heavy meaty meals. Do try out the above next time you are in Jordan and let us know what you liked the most.
Well that’s a lot of non vegetarian food on offer. But do check out this amazing post Vegetarian Food Options in Jordan by co-blogger Siddhartha Joshi who writes at Sid The Wanderer
Image Credits: Visit Jordan
Have you checked out this blogpost of Amman, Jordan?