Should you be unfortunate enough, to find yourself at the not-so-tender age of 33, diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer which affects 1 in every 33,000 people each year; should you then undergo an enhanced form of chemotherapy lasting for 6 months, during which time your lungs and heart are put under such stress that it is no longer possible for you to climb stairs; should you, having undergone these various traumas, see fit to ask your doctors for some form of recuperative care, this is what they do to you.
In all seriousness, the mud bath is not an unpleasant sensation. One thing though, it does leave you with enormous peaty skid marks if you don’t wash very thoroughly afterwards, which is hard to do, as you’re not actually the one holding the shower-head. Oh dear…
I decided (to use a rehab phrase) to ‘get with the programme’. ‘The penny dropped’ (to use another) and so I did 30 lengths of the pool, had my massages and mud baths, and went a-promenading in search of a spa or two. Disappointingly, the other patients here do not seem to take their water cures as seriously as I do, as evinced by my swanky spa cup – a present from Jana, ever on the lookout for cute objects, and the only such one in town.
A highlight of our recent holiday was a visit to a thermal spa high up in the cloud forest of the Colombian Andes overlooking the town of Santa Rosa. To get there we were driven in a four by four along a precipitous and winding corniche with a series of signs which kept promising us at 15 minute intervals that we were another 2km closer to the spa. This was a bumpy trip into the wilderness riding cloud high overlooking valleys so wide and awesome that the whole Czech Republic could have sat quite unnoticed in one or other of them. The spa had 7 pools, of varying degrees of warmth or hotness. All were large enough to swim in. Some were artificial. Others were natural pools overhung by jungle.
By comparison, this afternoon I took a walk in search of 3 mineral springs that pollute this region. The dreaded Glaubers 1 and 2 and the more hopefully named Slunecni (sunny). So feared are the effects of the two Glaubers, that I was sternly warned away by the Polak lady, but being of a curious disposition I decided to take the risk. Glauber 1 had me coughing and spluttering the water back up, no sooner had it begun it’s descent to my intestines so I poured the rest away in favour of Slunecni, which turned out to be anything but. Dracula would enjoy the taste of Slunecni. I do not. On I promenaded in search of Glauber 2, but finding a well-hidden spa in the south of bohemia is not as rewarding an experience as you might expect it to be. Perhaps, but only perhaps, had I been wandering the Sahara desert for 3 days and 3 nights and stumbled across an oasis fed by the good spring Glauber would I rejoice and consider myself happily saved.
I have a tenacious side to me, so spying a sign to an unexpected spa I continued my search for a refreshing cup and tramped off through a mosquito-infested bog. Having done the old lady’s exercise class in the morning, I was able to swivel my hips, arms and legs in any number of directions to kill these vile winged cooties but to no effect. After pulling my shoes out of the peristaltic bog that I volunteer at other times to bathe in, I parted the nettles, and plunged onward to the spa. On arrival, I was greeted by a sign which I took to be the name of the spa. ‘Undrinkable spa’, it read, and I was about to sample the goods when the fortuitous arrival of a mosquito on my nose caused me to whack my spa cup into my face at which point I thought I’d better return to the caresses of the hotel.
On Friday, February 24th 1989, the cargo door of United Airlines flight 811 traveling from Honolulu to Auckland, failed, and blew open, over the pacific ocean. The difference of pressure caved in the main cabin floor, sucking out of the plane ten seats (G and H of Rows 8 to 12), as well as an individual seated in 9F. In total 9 people died, as seats 8G and 12G were unoccupied. The plane, incredibly, landed safely. Investigators later discovered some human remains on the blades of one of the stricken engines, which must have served as chum for the sharks better to find and devour those bodies that simply plummeted into the water.
If I were offered the choice of unknowingly taking up seat 8G on this flight, or alternatively, of a life spared but with the prescription that I continue to drink this hideous water, I should be hard pushed to make a choice.