Cartagena, Columbia. The city itself is wonderful and beautiful beyond comparison. It’s amazing to think of how far Columbia has come over the last decade. Everyone I met was kind and helpful. Even with a limited Spanish vocabulary I was still able to get around. The best moment, however, came from a daytrip to an aboriginal town where I learned how to get dirty.
When I first heard of having mud baths I thought bathtubs and maybe a massage, but nope. It was a pit. We drove for hours into a little town beside Cartagena where the guide who accompanied our group told us that we would be jumping into a mud volcano. Not so crazy, huh? Wrong, it was literally a pit that rose 50 feet above the ground and at the top, in a 10’ by 10’ whole, twenty people were bathing. At first I was slightly appalled by the idea of being so close to complete strangers and in such a dirty environment but I wasn't going to let a little phobia get in my way and I hesitantly walked down the slimy ladder into the weightlessness of mud. Yuck! All around me I could feel people arms and legs, the little particles of hardened clay rubbed against my legs and added friction to the movement of my fingers. Like Styrofoam, I could feel the walls around me breaking apart and contributing to all else that made the mud bath a slightly piggish setting. Although, in all honesty, I absolutely loved it! Because it was so high there was never any chance of touching the bottom and everyone floated. With one wrong move my feet would rise to the top and all of a sudden I would face first in the mud struggling to try to recover or flip on my back. All of us had a blast soothing ourselves, bathing, and trying to dunk one another. When the time came to be escorted out we ran for the lagoon and put a great amount of effort into to cleaning ourselves off. I had mud in places that I never thought mud could get to. Even a week later I am still finding it in my ears! The Columbia mud baths was a wonderful experience that I will never forget and although it may not have been as exciting as I first thought, it was definitely better than I could have ever expected.