Today we decide to make an early start as we were venturing off so we could be having fun with frogs. We packed our lunch, snacks, and juice from the breakfast bar, don our swimwear, hats, and sunscreen, and head off walking down the Sugar Cane Train track to Veisisei Village to catch a bus.
Today’s single parent travel takes us to the Mud Pools and Hot Springs. We were here last time with our Italian friends Mariella, Francesco and their baby and had such fun. Today we are coming back with the knowledge that rivals that of luxury travel experts. Bet our previous family travel friends remember this magical place having fun with frogs.
On arrival to the gravel road junction (which is signposted to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, but it is unsign posted to the Mud Pools and Hot Springs), the locals tell us to wait. We soon find out the local bus only goes two X a day but is coming ‘soon’. We talk to the local guy delivering sugar cane as his truck needs to cool down.
Soon is about 45 minutes, and my son complains and near falls asleep at the concrete block shelter. The bus is about a 1960’s vintage with no glass in the windows, and we bounce over the potholes.
A lady tells us not to get off at the 1st gate, but to go to the 2nd gate, and she is the manager and will help us. We head over the track to the Tifajek Hot Spring and Mud Pool, which looks nothing like where we went last time, and she disappears never to be seen again – so much for the help.
We are told they ‘renovated’. But it almost looks to me like they have moved the pools in the ground. How can this be?
We are charged more than last time, not given change, which we are assured we will get on our exit, and the local explains the mysteries of the almost sulfur-free 70oC boiling water, that is piped off over to a pool.
We are taken down into the mud pool. Last time a man came in and helped with my son, and made it fun. This time the only thing joining us in the pool was huge frogs. Yes, it is time for fun with frogs!
My son is screaming, clinging to me, and scratching my sunburned back, and there is no fun with frogs at all. We hop out and hand paint each other with mud, which is quite a bit of fun, as we imagine ourselves as brown-skinned Fijians.
Drying off in the sun takes about 15 minutes, and this includes our skin turning into a straight jacket like feeling. But we have been promised the silkiest of skin, and that I shall feel sixteen again?
Dubiously, we are told we must return to the ‘frog’ mud pool to wash off, of which neither of us is too keen but have little choice unless we want to become statues, as the mud sets, and we can barely move. Another frog jumped out and we likewise jumped out – more fun with frogs?
We then traipsed over to the Hot Pool, and it is only just at a bearable over-hot temperature.
Once in, it is bliss, but by this time my son flatly refuses to put his feet anywhere in the unknown depths, so I am stuck holding him.
We are ushered out of the pool a little too soon for our liking. But we have discovered the neighboring property looks familiar and is owned by ‘another family’.
Should you head here; I suggest taking the 1st gate, and not the 2nd, as we were talked into.
Managing to pay $3 to a local who seemed to be part of the ‘family owners’, we get a ride back to the main road. Alas, he tells us the wrong name of the village the bus is going to, and each driver tells us ‘next bus’.
Finally after 5 buses, and 1.5 hours, an Indian man comes out of a house and tells us the correct name, flags down a minibus, where we pay $1 to get back to the local village.
We deserve an ice cream each (thus the happy son’s face below) and along comes a canopy ute/truck, and we pay another $1 to get back to the resort.
I wish I had a picture of the lady in the back with us, and not just us.
She was equally as tall as she was wide, and had absolutely no top or bottom front teeth. But she did have a complete beard, mustache, and sideburns!
My son decides to join her in the mustache department! What fun we had.
Questions and Comments
Have you ever been in a mud pool playing with frogs?