Did I say that we were staying under a smoking volcano? That's not quite true. We are under an erupting volcano! Usually, the clouds are covering the volcano, which is probably good for our peace of mind, but yesterday they cleared long enough that we could see a big, black, growing plume of ash going sideways and up, and looking a bit like those photos I saw of Hiroshima when I was a kid. Tim and I looked around to see if any one was panicking. No, everyone was just going about their business. We pointed it out to a kid. He smirked at us and said "not much dangerous". A lady told us the volcano is very active, erupting often and causing tremors in the earth. But no one says anything about it because, well, they are used to it. And they don't want the tourists to flee.
We, however, are too busy pampering ourselves to flee. After spending our mornings hiking up the flanks of the erupting volcano, we head back into town for a soak in the mineral hot springs. Or to have my body painted head to toe with mud. Or a steam bath. A steam bath? It sounds pretty good, you might think. In reality it is a well devised torture chamber. You sit on a bench in a giant wooden box, and the torturer slides the top over you, so that only your head and neck is poking out of a little hole in the top.
A hole like you see in those medieval torture contraptions.
Then the scalding steam is turned on. After about five minutes, when you think you can't handle another second, the torturer gets you out of the box, dumps ice cold water over you, and then puts you back in. This time you stay in longer, until you think you are about to pass out from the heat. Granted, you do have control over how much steam is coming out, but if you want the maximum cleansing benefits you want to keep it as high as you can possibly take.
More ice cold water. Another 15 minutes in the steam box. It's almost unbearable by the end. You lurch out unsteadily, drink a shot of mystery plant liquid, and now sit in the ice cold water. Then back in the box, nauseous, dizzy, with a pounding heart. Thank God it's the last time.
Then the grand finale. This time you are hosed off with a jet stream of ice cold water. My skin is as healthy and pink as a baby's bum.