We were right to cancel zipping down the mountain yesterday. It rained heavily for most of the day. Today it is sunshine-y beautiful. The difference in the weather is so extreme, you’d hardly believe that yesterday’s storms happened if the ground wasn’t still soggy and the vegetation nursing its casualties.
Yesterday morning, I was happy to discover that I could access the internet from my room and not lug the computer (and thereby ignore J-M’s company) to the restaurant. We were expressly told that wifi was not available in our rooms. Therefore, I beat the system. I’m beating the system right now.
I chatted with Mallory, and posted to my blog, quickly and easily, while J-M finally finished the behemoth of a biography of Walt Disney he’d brought with him. You know it’s tough going when you flip through the last few pages and say, “When is this guy going to die?” But J-M doesn’t like to leave any book unfinished. J-M’s synopsis of the biography:
People believe that Disney was famous for his control of wonder and fantasy, but the opposite is true; he was actually fascinated by the wonder of control. His pursuit of power and control lead him to build his own world.
J-M has chosen to leave this book behind at the resort and bless someone else with this insight, and reduce the weight of his luggage.
And the rain rained. The cabin we’re staying in has a clay tile roof, which surprisingly amplifies the sound of the rain. That makes a torrential downpour super exciting. My heart races when the rain starts and as it builds, sheets of the wet stuff driving down on us, I get downright giddy. I would compare it to a soccer match when goal after goal is being scored and the crowd gets wilder and wilder. You get caught up in it. It’s never not exciting! And if the thunderstorms are this exciting, just imagine how freaking awesome the zip lining is going to be!
Yesterday afternoon, J-M and I decided to enjoy the mud bath offered by the resort. I do believe they just scoop the stuff out of the ground and put it in a plastic container. You carry that container down a path, past the hummingbird and butterfly observatories and the botanical gardens to a small wooden sauna heated naturally by the river it sits on. A hole is cut in the bottom of the floor and the steam rises into the cabin. A sign is posted cautioning you against touching the water, which is approximately 70 degrees Celsius, or 160 degrees Farenheit. There are no real safety barriers, not like in Canada where every mishap would be anticipated and prevented with over-measures taken with fencing, signage and waivers. The sauna was by no means toddler proof.
The cabin itself sits over the river and you can see the water and feel the heat from it, not only from the hole in the middle, but beneath the wooden slats in the floor as well. What is this thing even secured on? What if it the whole cabin went into the boiling hot drink? I quickly figured out my plan of exit – up onto the bench I was sitting, up the slats on the side of the wall, right through the sun roof at the first sign of trouble – so I could relax.
We spent 20 minutes in the natural sauna opening our pores. The sauna was odourless. J-M was bored. It might have been more like 15 minutes, but seemed like 30. The heat from the sauna also loosened the mud in our containers.
The containers were about the size of a margarine tub. When we were first given the containers, we didn’t believe there would be enough mud in them to cover our whole bodies. The mud itself was grey and goopy and smelled of sulfur. I avoided putting it on my face till the end because I was grossed out. But then we got into, kind of like a paint fight, smearing and slathering the stuff all over us and each other and the tubs never seemed to empty. Absolutely disgusting.
You then wait for the mud to harden. We used the opportunity to get our camera muddy too and snap photos of each other. We were feeling very primitive and wondering if Adam & Eve participated in such skin care hijinks.
Next step is to move into another naturally heated flowing river. This one about 85 degrees Farenheit. What we didn’t anticipate was that the ease with which we spread this muddy butter on ourselves, takes three times the effort to remove. The stream doesn’t have a current that flows fast enough, but the rain started up again and helped us scrub clean. This is natural living at its best!
For the rest of the afternoon we enjoyed the hot springs. We chatted up another Gringo family, who happen to share the cabin beside us, who happen to be from Ottawa! After listing all the names of friends in Ottawa, the couple knowing none of them, we then got into what we all do for a living. The husband teaches, the woman works for IBM in data management, J-M’s a pastor… I’m a pastor’s wife… who blogs. That last part surprisingly didn’t shut down the conversation. In fact, it opened it up.
The couple had been recently part of a church plant that didn’t go well and were feeling burned by the church. They were actually hoping to spend time on this trip “getting away” both physically and mentally from the drama. That’s the thing about church, like the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: when it’s bad, it’s horrid. We talked a bit about what they’d been going through. We were happy to hear that they weren’t willing to give up on the church completely, but were actually considering the Free Methodist church in their area. So it took us a while, but we landed on a connection and had a great conversation about it we felt was divinely guided.
Although we’re leaving this resort today, we’re going on the zip line with this couple and their two kids. (In fact, we leave in about 15 minutes – no time to proofread!) We’ll have to be on our best behaviour now.
Let me leave you with this – one of my fav pics from the botanical gardens. I think my girls would love the teensy pineapples.