With the weather remaining dark, gloomy and at times spitting buckets of heavy rain scattering people under overhangs in downtown Nadi – it was a “weather weight off my back” today as the clouds parted and we finally had sunshine! Too much of this rain and gloomy weather is bad for my personal psyche. The cyclone watch was lifted a day or two ago and it was just a waiting game for the storm to dissipate.
Today I set out for the hot springs and mud baths about a 20 minute ride from Nadi. Buckets of mud awaited us – thick, slimy mud – a natural sunscreen. Mud is the great equalizer – cover your face and one has no idea how old you are! We compared favorite “mud” experiences around the world – a Turkish bath outside of Istanbul, the “milky way” in Palau, the gooey deep mud in the Sunderbans in Southern Bangladesh and the mud on the shores of the Dead Sea in Jordan.
After completely covering each other in mud we stood in the sun for it to dry. The locals told us it would rejuvenate our skin…to be decided. The pond is shallow – the mud is not. We sunk down up to our knees and then swam around. Some of the mud was so fine – we compared it to floating on a bed of fine silk! Sounds odd but true.
A natural hot spring is located near the mud pond and this is a great spot to cleanup after being lathered in mud. But an even nicer option is a massage from the waiting nearby massage therapists under the shade of a tree. A slight breeze blows; the temperature is perfect. Talk about a natural setting. Roosters crowing, a vendor selling fresh guavas nearby – your totally soaking but lie down in peaceful bliss and let these big armed ladies do their work. 20 minutes flashes by in an instant. You crave another 20 minutes times 4 of this down time.
After mud it was orchids. Famed actor Raymond Burr maintained gardens in a number of tropical locales around the world – including the Garden of the Sleeping Giant in Fiji. He was a prolific gardener, collector and hybridized and introduced hundreds of new orchid species to the world. Today this garden is privately owned but is open to the public. 50 acres of tropical plants, exotic orchids including the neat Octopus Orchid (native to Papua New Guinea) are on display.