Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My visit to a hot spring was basically what I expected...

Today is our last day on vacation.  We decided to go visit a hot springs nearby.  The guide online said that it was an "easy" walk down to the hot springs from the parking area.  The online guide was a filthy liar.  It was very rocky and full of pointy boulders on the way down.  The "path" wasn't so much a path as it was a series of semi-clear spots in between pointy boulders.  I was wearing sandals, as was my friend.  This made the "easy" walk trek of death even more difficult since sandals are generally not conducive to scaling cliff faces. 

Did I mention I'm terrified of heights?

Did I also mention that if you slipped, you would roll down the side of the rock face hundreds and hundreds of feet, severely breaking every bone in your body, before finally smashing into the Rio Grande?


 Since I'm writing this, the suspense is taken out of the story, because clearly I did not slip and fall down the side of the cliff.  Although, on the way back, I did have a panicky, hyperventilate-y moment when my friend started leading us back and after a few hundred feet we realized that that was not the right rock face "path" back to the parking area and we were sort of lost on where the exact trail to go actually was and then my chest started to feel all tight and my brain started shouting, "OMG!! IT'S GOING TO BE LIKE THAT '128 HOURS' MOVIE!!!  STUPID, STUPID TOURISTS!!  NOW YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE OUT ON THIS HIDEOUS CLIFF!!" 

But then, we just walked back the way we came and found the right way back out and I stopped sort of freaking out.  I still was a little freaked out because directly to my right was immediately a drop-off/impeding painful death-fall, but less freaked out now that I knew we were trapped on the cliff face forever. 

The hot springs itself was pretty neat.  Not what I'd expected, which was like a clean, pristine, magical spring with fairies and a waterfall and that after I stepped out I'd be transformed into a magical, glowing goddess.  But pretty neat, nonetheless. 

There was a Polish woman there who talked to us a lot about "energy" and how she prayed for rain because she was too hot and then it rained and so she had clearly summoned the rain.  Of course, I immediately thought, "This lady must be Storm from the X-Men!" but Storm wasn't Polish so that was just silly of me.  Had she not been Polish, then perhaps...but since she was Polish, the rain had to have been a coincidence.

She also talked to us a lot about how people need to exchange energies with one another and some other hippie, existential stuff that I didn't totally follow.  That's never been my genre...too ethereal for me to grasp.  I'm much too concrete of a thinker to follow that stuff, so I just politely nodded and said, "Oooooohhhh" when appropriate. 

Then, a dirty, hippie guy came by the springs and said hello.  I don't mean "dirty hippie" in a pejorative fashion.  Rather, I mean it as he was both dirty (which is why he was coming to the spring) and a hippie.  He said he was going to leave some rocks for us all and then he disappeared into the cliff face to some area that I couldn't see.  Polish Storm told us that he had gone into "the hole" and that was where he lived and that he left the rocks so that we would leave money.  Apparently this is a thing that people do, I guess.  They leave some rocks, you take the rock, you leave money.  You can't just leave the money (something about energy exchanging??) and you can't just take the rock.  This was not something I was familiar with but apparently, according to what Polish Storm had to say, it's quite common. 

Polish Storm then advised us not to stay too long in the hot springs, because the minerals would be too much for us to handle if we didn't make it a normal custom to detoxify.  I think she just wanted the hot spring to herself and was trying to convince us to leave by telling us we would get sick if we stayed too long.  But, at that point it had started to rain a little and we figured we should probably get going before it started to rain too hard, thus making it impossible to get back to the car (the rain also added to my fears about dying on the rock face). 

So, all in all, what I learned is that visiting a hot springs includes everything you'd imagine it would: hippies, minerals, and Polish Storm.  It was pretty cool, overall.  

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