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The bet

He won. It wasn't even close.

I said that Ethiopia's Danekil Depression, a curious place of salt encrusted melted crayons is the lowest and hottest place on earth.

He said the lowest place on earth is the Dead Sea. The two others agreed. That should have been my big clue. But of course, I decided to sidestep this inconvenient truth and foolishly stuck my heels in. Not on solid ground as I would learn, but firmly in my mouth.

After a handshake on the terms - a hamburger and a beer - he looked it up. This is the list of the lowest places on earth:

Dead Sea (Jordan/Israel) (-414 m)

Lake Assal (Djibouti, Africa) (-155 m)

Turpan Pendi (China) (-154 m)

Qattara Depression (Egypt) (-133 m)

Vpadina Kaundy (Kazakstan) (-132 m)

Denakil (Ethiopia) (-125 m)

It wasn't even close. Denakil is in sixth place. I realize instantly that I'd been hoodwinked by many tour guide companies in this ancient land who boast this fact.

At least I can take comfort in that it is the hottest. Well, kind of. The hottest temperature in recorded history actually belongs to Dessert Valley which reached 56.7 degrees Celsius in the summer of 1913. But in terms of annual average temperature, it's Danekil with 34.4 degrees Celsius. Not bad, but certainly not anything to write home about.

But there is another bet going, whether a certain person had their stomach stapled. I'm betting yes. So I may just win back that beer and burger.

The one she probably wants to eat and can't.


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