I can’t say it was ever my dream to be covered in yogurt. Some people might think that’s quite erotic, but personally, sensing my body being slathered in the milky, bitter-smelling treatment and then rubbed in with coffee granules made me feel a bit like a human muesli bar. Still, this was all part of the famous “mandi” treatment down the road from the Uma Ubud hotel (fab by the way, I’m loving my minimalist villa and its black and white bathroom with enormous stand-alone tub, oooh er!) I decided to splash out all of… ooooh I don’t know…. I guess it was about AUS $20 for a 1 hour 50 minute massage including a relaxing, therapeutic flower petal bath overlooking the jungle yesterday.
The Bali Botanica day spa is kind of hidden away down a back street about 4 minutes from Uma Ubud. To reach it you have to walk past some rice fields and a bunch of men constructing yet another villa where a patch of grass should be, thinking hmmmm have I gone the wrong way? And then it appears before you, a tiny haven in the foliage, dripping with the sounds of sweet, tranquil music, like moths fluttering about in treacle. So peaceful. And a welcome change from the abusive volume of motorbikes.
Normally when you’re lying face down on those spa beds, your ears pick up that carefully chosen CD of animal sounds, gushing water and the odd bit of birdsong in the background. But here, with my eyes focused on a jar of frangipani flowers below me, I realised those sounds were natural. I wonder if other spas, say in London, or Tenerife, or Basingstoke actually call places like this and ask them to record an hour of “noise” outside their windows. It’s exactly the same. I heard crickets, frogs, birds and the babbling of a stream, plus the gentle song of panpipes, which I think was pre-recorded, unless they went all out and employed a man to sit in the forest with some instruments.
My therapist was very good, although let me just say that unless you state otherwise, everything will be massaged. And I mean everything. There was the odd moment when I thought, hang on… I’m not so sure that’s… are you really goin…oh, ok,… yup, OK, … but all in all I think she knew what she was doing and she was very professional. I’m still not sure what the yogurt did though. I spill yogurt on myself occasionally, you know, over breakfast while reading a book, and I’ve never thought, ‘Ooooh hey, that feels great, what if I just rolled in it and covered ALL of me?’ but then, I do feel a lot smoother today, skin-wise anyway.
Weirdly I was instructed to shower while my therapist was still in the room. I don’t think it’s the done thing to be bashful about things like this in Bali. She was too busy wiping up yogurt and coffee granules to care that I was semi naked, apart from a pair of fetching black puffy disposable knickers right next to her. I was thankfully left alone for my flower petal bath, however, looking out over the trees and listening to the rain, sipping some hot ginger tea. Bliss!
I liked it so much that I have booked something called an ayurvedic crown massage for tomorrow. This treatment lasts 45 minutes, costs about AUS $15 and involves having cloves and orange oil rubbed into your head, and vitamins B1, B2 and C applied to your hair via a fresh, hibiscus leaf mask. Sounds better than Pantene. I like spas in Bali.