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A proper mud bath

by Alex on Jul.10, 2009, under Blog

It’s not often that I get the opportunity to do something that I’ve not done before. Fortunately that’s because I’ve done loads of stuff rather than because I sit around on my arse all day watching TV and eating ready meals only leaving the house in the case of a national emergency and/or I’ve run out of Coke Zero. Funily enough though, having said all that, were you to ask the guys I’ve been hanging out with for the last little while, they’d probably opine that that was a fair approximation of my lifestyle – I’ll put that down to spending a lot of time working on the old internationalmankinichallenge.com..

Anyway, today was the first time I’d done anything new new for a long time, and it was pretty cool…

I’ve heard that swimming in the dead sea is odd due to its relatively high buoyancy caused, of course, by its high mineral content. I’ve had the pleasure of falling asleep in a float tank whilst listening to odd music – again, very floaty water. I’ve never tried a bath of baked beans nor have I plans to but whatever, none of that could come near the Totumo volcano mud bath experience, well at least not from a floatiness point of view.

The volcanoy bit looked like an enormous termite mound. It was almost reminiscent of the kind of horrific death chambers one hears of in which ‘savages’ bury their victims to be eaten alive and later eaten dead by millions of termites. We could almost have been in a different time as we climbed the steps – simple wooden handrails guided us up the steep mudded staircase to who knew what was waiting. Well, the guys who worked there knew what – it was a mud bath.

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Light brown, warm and ohhhh so viscous – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would have been a far better film were they to have used something more akin to this stuff for the chocolate waterfall and river. I watched others first as I took photos from above. The entry to the pool was awkward, the enterers having no experience in how to control themselves whilst weightless in a highly resistive medium, t’was like watching new born gazelles trying to get to grips with not falling over. The local ‘masseurs’ though knew exactly what was going on, guiding the initiates onto their backs and literally sliding them across the surface of the mud like air hockey pucks, packing them tightly side by side like so many proverbial sardines. The massage was more like frotteurism on the part of the locals (interestingly frotar in Spanish simply means ‘to rub’ with no sexual connotation), the bathers being powerless to resist in their oh so strange surround – was funny to watch though.

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My turn! To get in that is, not to rush for the groping locals.

It was about 28 degrees and very… supportive. Quite an odd sensation being safely and effortlessly suspended in a fluid that may as well have been 10, 20, 100 meters deep. Lying on one’s back was as easy as sleeping and might have been relaxing were it not for the crowds. The massage is not worth mentioning but righting oneself and ‘standing’ upright, chest above mud, feet touching nothing was quite rare indeed and definitely worth a go if you get the chance.

The being scrubbed clean of mud in green green algae green water is also not worth chatting about, save for the fact that the local ladies were expert in stripping one of one’s clothes (to wash off the mud) before one had any idea as to their intentions – potentially embarrassing if you’re a little shy and not expecting it – watch out for that if you ever go.

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And if you do go, eat a large bean meal the night before – would be so funny to have a big fartfest in the mud bath. Bloop bloop bloop.

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