Tranquilo Times
at  Thermas
The pool area.
March 12, 2006

Yesterday I had to toy around with the idea of what to do today: Go on a horseback riding daytrip or do a daytrip to the Hotel/Spa
Thermas Cacheuta (i.e. a place with thermal baths). I sought out the advice of a few friends (including one that I have met along
the way who recommended Thermas Cacheuta to me) and the response was unanimous.

I was going to let my groin muscles off the hook and go to the thermal baths.

Every now and then I let out an audible sigh (of course, when nobody else is around) because my day is just
that good. Today was
one of those days.

Okay. So this morning could have been better when I went to check out the brackets for March Madness. I don’t know why I didn’t
do this last night. It might have something to do with turning on the television to E! and getting sucked into
Love Ride with Tom
and Katie
. And then getting sucked into Girls of the Playboy Mansion. Before I knew it, it was 1:00am and the ‘Selection’ slipped
my mind. In my defense, I was actually researching Brazil stuff online while watching E!

So back to this morning when I saw that The University of Arizona was an 8 seed. Ouch! Probably a good thing that I didn’t have
the means to watch college hoops this year, huh? Let me say it here. I predict an upset! Hey – I’ve seen 8 seeds make it to the Final
Four before. Damn, I’m a loyal Wildcat. Maybe a naïve and wishful-thinking Wildcat…but nevertheless, a loyal Wildcat.

My day could and would only get better from here.

On our drive out, I got a long glimpse of Aconcagua – the tallest mountain in South America that is over 7,000 meters (21,000 feet)
tall. I don’t know where it ranks on the ‘world’s tallest mountains’ list…but it’s got to be pretty high up there (pardon the pun).

The rest of the ride took us through the Andes. And then, nestled right into the mountain range, we arrived at Thermas Cacheuta.

I splurged and put out a few extra pesos to have a robe for the day. Now it was time to start soaking. We were shown the different
areas – this was far better than what I was expecting. I thought it might be a bit on the tacky level (I blame an experience in New
Zealand for feeling this way). Wrong (thankfully), I was! The thermal baths were built right into the landscape. The actual
mountains were just meters away.

The other shocking thing is that normally places like this are shared with 154 complete strangers all squeezing their way in for a
share of a piece of the thermal water action. Not here. The different baths are layered in a way so that many times I felt like I was
the only person out there. Just me, the hot natural thermal water and the Andes. Really quite amazing.

There was a small area with natural mud where DIY mud treatments could be administered. It was funny watching people with the
freshly-applied mud as they looked like a combination of those street performers who paint themselves silver or gold and some
type of clay sculpture. After waiting to dry for about ten minutes in the sun, these people now resembled stone statues before
showering off. I say ‘they’ and ‘these people’…but I know that I looked equally as bizarre when it was me covered with the stuff. I
just had the luxury of not having to look at myself.

There must have been at least five different temperatures at my disposal to soak in. I just knew that I was going to forgo the very
cold one. Yikes. Somebody would have to be crazy to get in that one!

Before lunch, I took advantage of being able to use the hotel pool. Reading, swimming, dozing off. Ahhhh….

The full-day spa package came with lunch at the restaurant. Talk about a spread. As sad as this sounds, I was just really excited by
all of the roasted veggies since it’s been so long since I had seen things like zucchini and brussel sprouts.

I took a post-lunch trip to the sauna. Sweating never felt so good. After showering, it was back to doing the thermal bath rotation.

A little bit later, a woman who worked there asked if I had tried the ‘Hydro-massage’ yet. Why, no, I hadn’t. It was now time.
Basically it was a 2-step process: enter the hydro-massage bath and then getting underneath the Scottish shower.

Let’s talk about the hydro-massage bath. Holy hot-as-bloody-hell! I can’t express how hot this water was. I really can’t. Other than
the fact that I was in tingling pain the entire time I was in there. I was unable to concentrate on the jets of water because I was so
damn hot. Finally the Scottish shower came on and it was time for me to make my way over there. I was a bit nervous because I
was sure that I was now going to have to get my body ready for some very cold water. I was assuming that’s why it was called a
‘Scottish’ shower – after all, Scotland is known for being pretty cold. Well, I was wrong. It was more hot water, though not as hot as
the little bath I was just in. But still. It was hot. And the water was coming out from several angles and an intense pressure. I was
expecting to feel invigorated once this was all over. Nope. Once the shower was over, I felt more light-headed (as if I had sat in a
Jacuzzi for two hours).

I think it was because my brain wasn’t able to think extremely rationally that caused me to go right into that cold plunge pool (that
just a couple hours earlier I was saying that a person would have to be nuts to get into). And it did truly feel excellent after the
intense heat my body was just succumbed to.

In my last two hours there, I made my rounds again of the pool and then topped off my time by taking in the Andes in the thermal
bath of my preferred-temperature.

And that was my day at Thermas Cacheuta.

All I can say is ‘Ahhhhh…’
Back to Argentina.
In one of the thermal baths.
Tucked into the Andes.