Four summer’s ago I had a really bad allergic reaction that had been itching and scratching night and day! The worst part was that I didn’t have a clue what was causing it. I had been to dermatologists and issued medication and nothing was helping! This particular reaction had happened to me so infrequently in my life (about two times prior) and inconsequential in that it lasted a day or two prior. But perhaps for some reason, God wanted this to be the summer of the itch for me. Have you ever had an itchy scratchy allergy that just wouldn’t go away? For something that sounds so trivial, it sure packed a mean punch! I literally felt like I was driving myself into madness. Forget about focus, it’s hard to focus when all you’re doing is constantly itching! Aside from seeing several dermatologists, I started a diet eating only the basics, used fragrance free laundry detergent, swam in the ocean as often as I could (which was a form of temporary relief) and even shaved off all my hair (in the .001% chance that it could have been a solution)!
To say I was desperate for a solution was prolly an understatement. And you know that phrase; “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy?” I wish I was a bigger man, but the truth is I would have passed it along to a friend if I were able to exchange. On a separate note, for the past couple of years I would see my Aunt and Uncle pack up their Pick up Truck and go to Bath in St. Thomas, one of the spots they enjoyed, as they said the mineral water was healing. I had never thought to ask before, perhaps because it seemed like something they did only together, but if it could help my itch I’d be willing to give it a shot!
On Friday, August 8th, 2014 my uncle and I packed up our stuff and headed on the two-plus hour journey through the forgotten parish of St. Thomas so he could show me one of his spots. I think possibly I fell asleep through the majority of the drive because what I saw when we entered the community of Bath was a botanical garden which I didn’t expect at all. To be honest, its Rochelle’s insightful post of the botanical gardens (read in AdventuresFromElle ) that jogged this little trip down memory lane in the first place! The gardens looked beautiful enough that I made a mental note to one day go back and visit. Pulling up to Bath the first thing you will see is a two-story building that both doubles as a “spa” and a “hotel”. Again, I’m not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t a hotel! I got a minor tour of the spa facility which is literally a corridor which leads to different rooms that each have a built-in ‘Bath’ which they pump the water into from the mineral springs. It seemed a little claustrophobic and not the natural experience I was hoping for.
Thankfully, my uncle had intended to take me to the source of the mineral water so I could take my shower there. Our guides, although they turned out to be more than just guides (i’ll get to that in a minute) consisted of two men and a woman. I’m not sure why we needed three persons to walk us down to the springs, and on my own or with another group I would have politely declined, but this was my uncle’s show so I let him lead and I just followed. If memory serves me correct they gave us two options in terms of paths to take, one, which would be longer but easier, and another, which was quick but slightly dangerous, as we had to ‘cross a bridge’. Guess which one I chose! In any case, it turns out the bridge/crossing was really overdramatized and nothing of any real hurdle to cross. Now when we finally got to the source they pointed up at this bamboo that a little more than a trickle of water was coming from? Was this a joke? Anyone remember Punked? But, this was the source as far as I was told, and whether they were bullshitting me or not I really wouldn’t know! All I knew is that my uncle had been here several times and he trusted it.
So like that, I undressed, well put on my trunks, and as instructed, tried to bare the scorch of this mineral water. It honestly seemed a bit anticlimactic to me. Was I going to shower under this bamboo for a few minutes and head back into town? Didn’t seem like much to write home about. Then I was told I need to do a massage! Again, on my own, I wouldn’t see myself doing this as I knew not these men from Adam and I was pretty damn sure neither was a certified masseuse. Which honestly, wouldn’t necessarily be a problem other than it seemed very odd to me. Isn’t this something the hotel should perhaps offer as a package? Shouldn’t this be set up a bit more professional if this is our intentions? Maybe my masseuse could wear something a bit more professional than a white marina tank top? But I had come this far, and well, honestly it’s not that hard to convince me to do much that involves adventure and out of the norm.
They started by sprinkling water on me through a clear emptied container, which they dug a few holes into. Side note: There is a Jamaican phrase that goes “Tek yuh hand tun fashion” which in my impression translates to “Be creative with what you have”. And it’s one of my favorite Jamaican sayings of all time because we as a people, I find to be incredibly creative and innovative. Then I was instructed to lie down on a pile of rocks whilst the smeared mud all over me and whilst one of my masseuses stretched my hands back the other poured this mineral water over my body. Just the thought of this image alone, I mean when I’m asked what did I do with my Friday, was worth the trip alone! This strange massage went on and lasted prolly about half an hour and if I’m to be honest really wasn’t half bad.
Shortly after they finished we packed up our stuff and headed out of Bath, leaving nothing but memories behind us. And what happened to my itchy scratch you’re prolly wondering? Well sad to say that the trip to Bath didn’t actually heal this, but then again no one promised that it would! I kept going back to my final dermatologist who gave me stronger medication that eventually cleared it up! We never completely figured out what caused it in the first place although I suspect it may have been clothes dye from a shirt I purchased in Mykonos (the foreboding of a new journal entry dun dun dun!) a few months prior. But even though the mineral water didn’t clear up this particular issue it’s supposedly been proven that it is good for healing. Even if thats mind over matter it makes for an interesting adventure and it certainly didn’t hurt in any way. And between the memories and the bonding, I got to do with my uncle that day it was more than worth my time.