Hell under Earth

Dead Sea bathers

Above: During a trip to visit my family in the mid-west, my aunt bade me watch a Christian documentary on the geography of hell and the history of the End of Days. The film took an archaeological perspective; the kind that unearths incontrovertible, physical evidence that the Bible, and therefore the narrator’s interpretation of it, is true. At one point, the narrator pinpointed seven portals to hell on a map. Thankfully all of gates were under water. Most of them, deep beneath the ocean. The closest to the surface, though, was under the Dead Sea. Being the lowest point on Earth, this was the most likely the first gate to open when the the unholy demon army of hell decided it was finally time to consume the world. I was about eleven, and I had trouble sleeping that night.

Then in February of 2011 I went to the Dead Sea. It was plenty hot, but not quite hellish. The surrounding mountains crumble into coarse, rocky sand. Local agencies import outside sands for the beach, which are deposited regularly by large construction machinery for the bathers. The water is so salty that crystals fall out of solution and form large balls on the sea floor. (They make great souvenirs.) The salt that remains in solution coats your body and makes your skin slick as you bob up and down in the water. Remember not to shave before taking a dip—the small cuts burn. Do not get any water in your eyes. Life guards forbid the use of goggles, as they allow swimmers to be less vigilant.

Despite the inhospitable environs and poor air quality, no one seemed to notice how dangerously near to the doorway of the Prince of the Air we all were. I don’t know why hell’s army would be pick such a terrible, uninhabited place to emerge. If I were in charge, we’d march from somewhere lush and populated. Watch out, Brazil. But again, what do I know about waging war against humanity? [Full size (4.6Mb)]

Water Wizz, Wareham, MA

Above: So, this summer I was much happier to visit Water Wizz in Wareham, MA. It’s my favorite water park on the Cape. As far as I know, it’s well away from large demonic activity. The park itself is small, but not depraved. And the Pirate’s Plunge is super fun! [Full size (4.6Mb)]