Last week, during our desert island getaway off the shore of northern Borneo, we experienced a very special treat. There is nothing as relaxing, rejuvenating, or fun, as a spa session for the whole family, is there?
But this was no ordinary spa. This was a jungle adventure spa. To reach it, we had to trek about half an hour through the jungle. Armed with mosquito spray, flip-flops, old clothes, and a solid dose of anticipation, we followed the signs ‘to the mud volcano.’
It wasn’t long until we reached a clearing in the forest, in the middle of the small island that was created by just this mud volcano mere centuries ago. Here was our spa. A spa that offered no fluffy bathrobes, pristine towels or soothing new age music. No. This spa was a bubbling pool of grey, smooth mud. Giant water striders skated over the surface.
Insects or not, in seconds we had shed our clothes and the kids jumped in the first, most shallow pool. This mud turned out to be the densest, and in seconds all three were stuck. So we pulled them out and tried the next pool, in which the mud was the consistency of creamy yoghurt. Thick enough that lying flat, or even sitting up, you could float on the surface comfortably, and thin enough to propel yourself forward with slow sweeping motions.
We rubbed the mud all over our body, our faces, and in our hair. We massaged and scrubbed it in, hovering on top of the slush. The sound of cicadas, screaming monkeys, and the wind in the leaves proved much more relaxing than any muzak could ever be.
After we hadn’t an inch of clear skin left on our bodies it was time to rinse off. To do that, we had to walk back to the sea, down the jungle track we came up. Have you ever attempted to walk down a slippery jungle path with feet full of slick, slimy muck? We tried to clean up our feet as much as we could with an old T-shirt, slipped in - and repeatedly out - our flip-flops, and slithered on our way.
Having arrived safely back at the coast, we plunged straight in, and turned, the warm, clear, and normally bright turquois waters of the South China Sea grey. It took a while to get the mud out of all our crevices, but the water was fresh, the sun shone bright, and hey, we were on holiday.
Our ultimate spa experience was concluded on the beach with a soft sandy scrub session performed by four little hands. Needless to say, my skin has never been smoother. Fluffy bathrobes are definitely overrated.