I'd signed up for a mud wrap, but this was no ordinary mud. It was magic mud from the bowels of the underground hot springs of Rio Caliente (Hot River) just outside Guadalajara, Mexico. It boasted all kinds of miraculous things – toxin removal, skin exfoliation, nutrient replenishment, and so on.
Rosa was my aesthetician. She didn't speak English, and I knew little Spanish. But no problema, as I could always refer to the poster on the wall with English translations of beauty treatment phrases. I glanced over and read, “That hurts” and “I have a problem here,” gulped, and quickly looked away.
Despite the language barrier, Rosa got her messages across. The strip pantomime was pretty clear. My request for some sort of cover-up was answered with a shrug meaning, “Sorry, no robes or cover-up towels included.”
And a hand wave and finger point translated to, “Come over here and stand naked in front of this doorway, and enjoy the view of the lawns. Oh, and if you're in the mood, you can wave over there to those people on their deck.”
A nostalgic flash suddenly popped into my mind of a seaweed wrap I'd once enjoyed at the Kingfisher Spa in British Columbia. Sheet draping for modesty, dimmed lights, soft music, soft robes, soft touch and of course, the unspoken rule of no touching the breasts or anywhere near the triangular vicinity below. Of course, Rosa had never worked at the Kingfisher Spa. And I doubt if it would ever be as much fun for her compared with the fun she was going to have with me.
Rosa started to slap on the magic mud, so forcefully that I rocked on my heels with each shot. She smeared it thickly over my face, leaving two eye holes, then on my arms and underarms, designing Wonder Woman swirls over my breasts, down the stomach, arms and legs, between fingers and toes, and lastly, gasp, covering the “sacred triangle.”
A twirling of the finger signalled, turn around, time to do the back(side).
As I turned, I burst into laughter. In front of me was a full-length mirror, and a naked woman, smothered and seemingly decorated in melted chocolate stared back at me through two tiny eye holes.
Rosa continued her mission with serious focus. From hair line, past shoulder blades and back, over buttock mounds, and down the thighs to the bottoms of my feet. Slap, slop, slap. Every part of my body was covered with thick mud.
I assumed that lying down must be next, to let the magic happen, and I began to “baby-step” my way over to the table in the corner. But Rosa turned me toward the doorway leading to the outdoor sunny patio, where she plunked me down in a lounger.
As the mud began to harden, my mind wandered ... I'm glad I don't have to do the laundry around here ... What a perfect opportunity to practise meditation ... Is that the gardener pulling up in his truck?
The minutes buzzed away. Buzzing? A fly had landed on my nose. I tried to brush it off, but I couldn't move. I was frozen in a body cast! I tried to move a finger ... no. A toe ... no. What is “Help!” in Spanish again? But my face was in the cast, too, and my mouth was sealed shut!
Out of the corner of my eye (because I couldn't turn my head), Rosa came into view. She pulled me up and led me to a little shower – I shuffled along beside her, like the bride of Frankenstein.
After 10 minutes of soaking and scrubbing, rinsing and more rinsing of every inch of my skin, I emerged pink and fresh and magically transformed.
Another ultimate spa experience.
I wonder what my Swedish massage will be like on Wednesday?
Special to The Globe and Mail
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