Well, this trip to the Dead Sea was far and away better than the last. Bart was sick, so he almost didn't make it, but at the last minute he decided to pull it together and come with us.
The first afternoon, we sat around the pool and enjoyed temperatures in the low 70s (it's still in the 50s in Amman, just 45 minutes away). We watched the girls swim while the boys played football with friends.
It seems half of the Embassy turned up at the Dead Sea Marriott on Saturday afternoon. Kyra's friend Ashlee was there, and she met a couple of new friends as well. Shay and Aidan found their friends Scott, Sarah, Mohammed, Yousef, Hannah, Colin, Andrew, William, Chloe.... there were more than that, even, all playing football on the lawn above the Dead Sea. The kids all stayed away from one section of the resort, though: one of the kids apparently spotted the school principal hanging out over there, and nothing clears a room of vacationing kids quite like a school administrator sighting.
When evening fell, the kids all met up in one of the hotel rooms and played computer games while the adults went to dinner. When I snuck back to check on the kids, I was amazed at how well they were all behaving. We didn't stay late at dinner: Kyra and Ainsley were with us, not with the kids, and after a full day of swimming they were exhausted. We split a 2nd room with another family, and our boys slept there with their son - the boys were thrilled to have a sleepover in a hotel room, even if they were right next door to their parents. In the morning, they chose to go to breakfast with the other family, so even though we were at a nearby table, it was quiet and peaceful at our table, with just the two girls to monitor.
This morning we awoke to a cold wind and a nasty dust storm. The kids didn't want to leave, though, so we let the girls hang at the hotel playground while the boys played with their friends. It was so windy that the Sea had some serious whitecaps. The air was brown with dust, but it still reminded me of a fall day on the beach in California. I was starting to feel homesick until I realized that the waves were blowing sideways, rather than blowing into shore. Not California, after all.
We drove back home through dust and wind and rain. It's been pouring here in Amman all afternoon, which means the family room is flooded - when it rains hard, we can't keep the water out.
The kids are all asleep, hopefully dreaming good dreams about their weekend. Me? I'm so pleased it wasn't a disaster like the last trip. But of course, we'll never be able to take a vacation again without their posse of friends.