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Dead Sea, Israel

It’s hard to separate the current affairs in Israel and the Gaza strip from my tourist experiences, but maybe it’s a nice distraction to remember the moments when shit did not hit the fan yet. My friend Roza (local editor for Russian Elle) and I visited the Dead Sea on Wednesday, the day Israel killed the leader of Hamas and launched an airstrike on Gaza. Our first clue came when a series of fighter jets flew across the sea. I don’t know if they had anything to do with the air assaults – the Dead Sea is on the other side of the country from Gaza – but it was nonetheless an eery sight and a prelude to the looming crisis. When we got back to the city and read the news about the assassination of Ahmed Jabari, I knew this could only mean serious retaliations from Palestine…. (Brrr…)

We took a 3-hour bus ride from Tel Aviv and got dropped off at the Dead Sea beach front. I imagined it much more serene and magical but as it happens, it’s as much a tourist trap as any other beach resort. There’s big hotels, colonies of senior citizens (mostly Russians actually) and plastic beach chairs lined up by the water. Piece all that out however and you have a breathtaking landscape! It’s all white and the lightest blue, with the mountains of Jordan on the other side. The water is warm-ish and contains 30% mass, which is mostly salt and makes you float. As soon as you lift your feet off the ground your butt bubbles up automatically and you just kind of hang there! It makes you laugh! (Not chemically or anything, it’s just really, really funny!! I just laid there giggling!) The water also stings. If you have a cut or a tiny wound, the salt digs in. To get this stuff in your eyes for example is disastrous. But, what it’s really all about is the therapeutic benefits, hence the old folk. When you come out of the water your skin feels like a baby’s bottom. It has this oily, smooth sheen to it. It’s fantastic!

The Dead Sea is a MUST when you visit Israel. There’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Though next time I’d like to find the salt flats or maybe even check out the Jordan side.

White cotton circle skirt and two-tone waffle sweater by Yigal Azrouel (I was in Israel for his wedding!); My vintage Hawaiian ruffle cropped top; Sandals by Osklen; Black ‘Natalie’ bikini by Lisa Marie Fernandez; Tan ‘Anytime’ sunglasses by Karen Walker; My vintage plexi earrings from Store B in Chicago; White vintage head scarf from the Tuesday market in Tel Aviv.

Photos by Roza Sinaysky.

Thanks to Gordon Hotel & Lounge in Tel Aviv for the amazing room with balcony!

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