Are You a Massage Lover?

There are two different types of people: the massage lovers and the others. I belong to the first group and admit having tried almost every kind of massage one might have heard of…yes, wherever my wanderlust bug took me I thrived to indulge in my favorite pastime.

While the “Razzie award” belongs to the Inca massage in Agua Calientes, Peru (it triggered pain in my neck i.e. Brufen was my best friend for quite a few days 🤷🏻‍♀️), some of the best experiences were in :

-Siem Reap, Cambodia: advertised as “massage by blinds”, all the employees in this center were professionally trained visually impaired masseurs and masseuses.

-Sri Lanka : Ayurveda treatments; and the star of them all, the Shirodhara – oil dripping technique.

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-Bali: yummy treat(ments) i.e. coffee scrubs, chocolate massages…

-Maldives: the outdoor picture perfect spectacular setting

-China: relieved me from a chronic back pain in only one session…like magic!

-Thailand: the 2-hour body massage felt like seconds 😳😲

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-Madagascar: much needed pampering between hikes

-Costa Rica : excellent “surround sound system” reaching us from the surrounding raiforest🌳…chirping birds, cascading waterfall… live, no CD.

However, the one treatment that left me with the strongest impact was closer to home…Yes, here in Abu Dhabi where I enjoy an established yet dynamic routine.

Honestly, I went to the spa at the Emirates Palace out of curiosity…understandably, it’s the most luxurious spa I’ve ever been to. I suspected the tag price to be associated with the lavishness, the splendor of the surroundings.

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I found out it wasn’t exactly true: the treatment was above my expectations…pure bliss is a cliché! Words fail me…🤷🏻‍♀️I can’t describe the burst of emotions I never knew existed and caused my eyes to well with tears towards the end of the treatment, once I felt, inch by inch, a warm blanket descending on my back before being left there and covering me like a warm cocoon.

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Heroin! It’s like heroin! Yes, well suddenly this particular article came to my mind…I read it twelve years ago in a Glamour UK issue while visiting my daughter Sara in Beirut. It was the addiction journal of a young teenager who revealed that the first time she tried heroin it felt like she was being enveloped in a warm blanket. I still remember that I thought then and there why wouldn’t she simply envelope herself in a warm blanket instead of letting herself be sucked into the downhill spiral that could have cost her her life?! Strange how our memory works.

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Anyway, back outside sipping on my minted tea in the relaxing area, a smooth transition before exiting the enchanting “realms of the senses”, I inquired about the “heroin effect ” treatment.  They don’t have it on the menu, it was bespoke! They came up with it when I asked for a “brain teaser”, a relaxing and energizing treatment😯

Still under the spell, I left the premises with the feeling that the treatment I just experienced could really lead to a habit, a guilt free and harmless habit 😉

Come On Baby Light My Fire 🌋

2018, Costa Rica, Rincon de la Vieja -1,916m. It has 9 craters and a large number of fumaroles and hot springs on its slopes. The name means “ The Old Woman’s Corner”, a reference to a local legend about a girl whose lover was thrown into the crater by her father. She became a recluse living on the mountain, and was credited with powers of healing.


 

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     2018, Costa Rica, Arenal -1,670m. This conic volcano has a crater 140 m in diameter. We made it in time for the sunset 🌅 👌


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2017, Hawaï, Big Island, Kilauea-1,247m.We were lucky it was active. The hotel concierge advised us to take our chances and head there instead of calling the monitoring center to inquire about the volcano’s activity because that may be misleading as by the time we reach there the eruption might be over. Later on, we followed some other tourists’ recommendation and biked, then hiked in a pitch black night to observe the incandescent lava flowing into the ocean…😲

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2017 Hawaï, Maui, Haleakala crater- 3045m. This massive shield volcano forms more than 75% of the island. The western 25% is formed by another volcano.

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2015 Guatemala, lake Atitlan’s famous trio San Pedro’s-3,020m-, Atitlan-3,535m-,& Toliman -3,158m.

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2015, Guatemala, Antigua, Agua– 3,760m. This almost perfect cone is covered with a thick vegetation like many other volcanoes in Guatemala. On the right side, the volcano Fuego (3,763) is constantly spewing small ash clouds- last major eruption was in 1974.

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2015 Japan Honshu Mount Fuji– 3,776m. This iconic conic snow-topped volcano is the highest mountain in Japan, and a World Heritage site since 2013. Majestic despite the works beneath 🤷🏻‍♀️

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2010, Indonesia, Bali, Mount Batur – 1,717m- is an active Volcano. We left the hotel at 3:00 am; after around 2 hours hike we reached the caldera and along with another friend, I resumed the last leg up to the peak- another half hour. From our promontory we watched silently the sunrise bringing life to the still life around us.

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2008, New Zealand, Auckland, Mount Eden-196m. Thisdormantvolcanic cone overlooks Auckland and offers one of the best views of the city.

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1985, Canary Islands, Tenerife, Mount Teide – 3,718m. According to hubby the honeymoon turned out to be more like a boot camp…day tours and night shows: barely few hours sleep🤷🏻‍♀️🙈😂



It’s a Wild Wild World

🇺🇸•🇰🇳•🇵🇷•🇭🇹•🇲🇽

// Part 4 of 7 //

Off the Riviera Maya, while snorkelling in the waters of the second largest coral reef between the “butterflies of the oceans” – stingrays – I felt overwhelmed by a feeling of sadness triggered by the following thought… I realised I ❤️ all creatures except the Homo Sapiens found in my birth country: the rulers and those electing them…the greedy and corrupt as well as the ignorants and bigots who put them in power…

The maligned animals of prey hunt out of hunger, ONLY…if they were to duplicate those Homo Sapiens’ greedy and auto-destructive behaviour, many species would have been extinct by now…

South Africa

After reflection, I realised I didn’t feel that way during the previous encounters with the animals in their natural habitat…

South Africa

On the contrary, I had some of the most exhilarating experiences while scuba diving in the beautiful Great Barrier Reef 🇦🇺 ( crossed paths with a white tip shark 🦈 )

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in the Maldives 🇲🇻

and in Sharm El Sheikh 🇪🇬…

Ditto on terra firma during our safari in South Africa 🇿🇦 

as well in Madagascar’s tropical rainforest 🇲🇬

and again in the Andes mountains in Peru’s Alto Plano 🇵🇪

and lately in Costa Rica’s cloud forest 🇨🇷 …

My moodiness must have been induced by the elections taking place at the time in my birth country…this charade had affected me despite the disttance…