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 – 25 February 2003 : advertised as “massage by blinds”, all the employees in this center were professionally trained visually impaired masseurs and masseuses.

Sri Lanka : Ayurveda treatments

Spice Gardens in Matala, Sri Lanka – 24 February 2004

and the star of them all, the Shirodhara – oil dripping technique 27 March 2017

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29 March 2017

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-Bali – 22 August 2012 : yummy treat(ments) i.e. coffee scrubs, chocolate massages…

Maldives – 10 July 2012 : the outdoor picture perfect spectacular setting

Shanghai, China – 4/5 September 2011 : relieved me from a chronic back pain in only one session…like magic!

Chiang Mai, Thailand – 15 November 2007 : Sleep inducing reflexology

– Chiang Mai, Thailand – November 2007 : the 2-hour body massage felt like seconds

Bagan, Myanmar9 February 2005: Room-reflexology

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Madagascar: much needed pampering between hikes

Reserva Forestal Los Santos, Costa Rica – 22 March 2018 : excellent “surround sound system” reaching us from the surrounding rainforest…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 up 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 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

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 Costa Rica – 18 March 2018,
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 Arenal -1,670m. This conic volcano has a crater 140 m in diameter. We made it in time for the sunset Costa Rica – 15 March 2018

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Kilauea1,247m.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 Hawaï, Big Island – 24 April 2017
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Haleakala crater- 3045m. This massive shield volcano forms more than 75% of the island. Another volcano forms the western 25%., Maui, Hawaï – 20 April 2017
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Lake Atitlan’s famous trio San Pedro’s-3,020m-, Atitlan-3,535m-, & Toliman -3,158m. Guatemala31 October 2015
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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. Antigua, Guatemala – 29 October 2015  
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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 Honshu, Japan – 28 March 2015
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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 a 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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Mount Eden-196m. This dormant volcanic cone overlooks Auckland and offers one of the best views of the city Auckland, New Zealand – 8 April 2008,
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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 Tenerife, Canary Islands – 16 July 1985




It’s a Wild Wild World

🇺🇸•🇰🇳•🇵🇷•🇭🇹•🇲🇽

// Part 4 of 7 //

On the Riviera Maya, while snorkeling the Great Mayan Reef, the world’s 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 love 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 12 April 2009

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

South Africa 12 April 2009

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 )

The Maldives 12 July 2012

The Maldives 10 July 2012

And in Sharm El Sheikh 24 November 2015

Ditto on terra firma during our safari in South Africa – 11 April 2009

As well in Madagascar’s tropical rainforest – 3 May 2009  

And again in the Andes mountains in Peru’s Alto Plano – 24 October 2011 

And lately in the cloud forest in Carara National Park Costa Rica – 20 March 2018.

My moodiness must have been induced by the elections taking place at the time in my birth country…this charade did affect me despite the distance!