Rolling in Mud


Things got real nasty real fast yesterday. We left the ship at the port in Lautoka, Fiji and were driven through the lush, verdant Fijian countryside to the Tifajek Mud Pool and Hot Spring where the sign said we would “Encounter the Natural.” Well, ok, if nasty is natural, I’d say we encountered it. A lot of it.

We were warmly welcomed with singing and swaying by the ladies who later turned out to be the masseuses and then we were subjected to welcomed with some sort of kava ceremony that sure seemed like it was being made up on the fly. We learned that “bula” means hello. I love when foreign languages keep it simple. No tricky tongue rolling or multiple syllables. Just “bula.”

Before long, we were digging onto big buckets of mud and rubbing it all over ourselves. Had our dear departed mothers seen it, many hissy fits would have been pitched. Sufficiently coated in mud, we were left to dry in the sun. Honestly, I could not decide if we looked more like hippos or elephants at that point. You can see the evidence of the debacle below, but look at your own risk. A word of caution: this photo may reappear on a Christmas card in December, so consider yourself forwarned. Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like the Lawsons covered in mud.

Hey – why didn’t somebody tell me I missed my nose?


When the mud was dry, we were escorted to a mud hole and, for some reason, did as we were told and climbed right down into it. After “washing off” as much mud as possible with the muddy water, we moved on to a less muddy mud hole. (Stay with me now, I know it makes no sense. FYI, it never will.) For some inexplicable reason, we climbed right down into that one, too. Finally, we were led to a pool that was fairly clear but felt like it was near boiling point. In a rare moment of logic and sanity, we opted to just go back to the ship muddy but not poached. (I guess it could have been a little flashback to our guide’s earlier jokes about his ancestors’ cannibalism and how they liked white meat.) Anyway, our “day spa” experience ended with a ten minute massage by the singing ladies. They sing better than they massage, but who’s complaining?



Mud hole #2.


Poaching liquid.


I realize that there is little interest in my hygiene, but just to let you know, back on the ship, I soaked in the tub for about 45 minutes hoping to get all the mud from under my nails, etc. However, when I saw the bathtub ring upon exiting the tub, I knew a follow-up shower was in order. Sadly, there I found globs of hardened clay in my hair. I am pleased to report that I am finally clean except for a few nagging specks of dirt under my nails. OK, actually, under all twenty of them, but who’s counting?

Like lots of things in life, it was great fun, but one time rolling around in mud was sufficient. Our friends mentioned at dinner that there is a place somewhere in Florida where women wrestle in coleslaw. I do love me some coleslaw, but I am just not much of a wrassler, so that’s going to be a hard pass from me.




  1. Melinda Young on January 19, 2024 at 3:31 pm

    That is truly the funniest picture of you two.

    • Ruth Anne Lawson on January 19, 2024 at 3:52 pm

      It was a morning of true insanity, but we were promised all sorts of health and beauty benefits! All we got was dirty

  2. Donna Keel Armer on January 19, 2024 at 4:06 pm

    Love it. I would have been in the mud with you. What a great one-time-only experience!

  3. Steve Morgan on January 19, 2024 at 5:12 pm

    That mud photo is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. You both looked fantastic and Rick looks like he’s ready for the WWE circuit! 🦾

  4. Sarah Guida on January 19, 2024 at 5:26 pm

    Oh my! The picture of you and Rick MUST be on your Christmas card! Are you both feeling healthier now?

    • Ruth Anne Lawson on January 19, 2024 at 7:18 pm

      We feel 20 years younger!

  5. Judy on January 20, 2024 at 6:57 am

    This blog took me back to our adventure on the river float through the Grand Canyon – especially trying to get all the mud off in the shower!

  6. Kathleen Linn on January 20, 2024 at 7:15 am

    You two are gamers! Love it .❤️

  7. Karen Counts on January 20, 2024 at 9:45 am

    Holy crap! What I would have given to see that in person. Love it.

    • Ruth Anne Lawson on January 20, 2024 at 1:31 pm

      It was nuts!

  8. Pam Morgan on January 20, 2024 at 10:19 am

    Is it too late to put some in a zip lock bag and bring home to me? Looks like Great Fun!

    • Ruth Anne Lawson on January 20, 2024 at 1:32 pm

      You don’t need it, you spring chicken!

  9. Gail Delaney on January 20, 2024 at 4:58 pm

    Y’all actually have more fun than should be allowed! I laughed all the way thru reading your post and the picture was especially noteworthy! You truly were in disguise 🤣 I’ll leave the mud for you🥂

    • Ruth Anne Lawson on January 20, 2024 at 7:40 pm

      We’ve completely lost our minds!

  10. Lex Bomar on January 21, 2024 at 8:54 pm

    Love it!

Leave a Comment