Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Dead Sea Alive With Flies

We in Jordan have successfully managed to attract and develop multimillion dinar investments in what is turning out to be spectacular set of five-star hotels on the shores of the Dead Sea. These investments are finding themselves fighting a most unspectacular enemy, namely flies.

To many, this might seem as a trivial matter, but it is turning out to be the most challenging issue for many hoteliers and business owners down at the Dead Sea and even at the Jordan Valley (Or Ghor). Residents literally suffer from these flies, and business owners are constantly bombarded by the inability to do anything about them. According to one Dead Sea hotelier: “how can we explain to our guests that they cannot sit outdoors when they specifically came to the Dead Sea to do so?”

Funnily enough, when the World Economic Forum (WEF) is held at the Dead Sea, these unwelcome visitors mysteriously disappear! The good news here is that there is a proven remedy for these flies; the bad news is that the WEF is only held for few days every year or two.

If we think that these flies don’t negatively impact the image of one of our touristic jewels, we need to think again.

Eating healthy and dreading it!

I don’t know about you, but for a while now, eating a fresh salad is turning out to be an unsettling affair for me. Every time I attempt to prepare a salad**, I find myself wondering about the safety of what I am about to eat. The salad I prepare mainly consists of tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. The toxicity found in these three items has been the subject of a wide informal speculation . How many times have we heard of cucumbers that continue to grow even after picking? How many of us wonder about the tomatoes that we eat, whether in terms of the water used for irrigation or the pesticides and fertilizers used to grow these tomatoes. In effect, I feel that the safety of our agricultural produce is in question.

There are serious fears out there that need to be allayed. I wish those in charge would come out and address this issue in an open and transparent manner. Maybe if we learn about the mechanisms applied and enforced (enforced being the operative word here) to safeguard the integrity of our agricultural produce, we would then feel reassured that we are eating healthy rather than filthy.

Until then, I will keep on eating healthy and I will continue dreading it.

**I won’t use the term “toss a salad” since it apparently has a sexual connotation! Go figure :-)