Experience Fiji, Part 5 - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Experience Fiji, Part 5

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by Heather Hauswirth

Guam - Imported from all over the world, the exotic plants and flowers that blanket the garden of the sleeping giant allow you to experience Fiji's unique tropical floral beauty. Our tour guide, Makelesi Navitio, took us through the sprawling garden and shared with us its many treasures, which you can't always see with the naked eye.

Makelesi said, "It's fifty acres of land and the name Sleeping Giant is adapted from the mountain range behind us."  The garden of the Sleeping Giants was founded by the late Raymond Burr in 1977 and it's famous for its orchids, which were brought in from all over the world.

The mesmerizing cattleya flower of Hawaii is known as "the queen of the orchids", and it sprouts all throughout the garden.  We crossed the bridge and paused in front of the buds of the flowering pink bananas, which Makelesi says birds will sit on when they bloom and open up.  We strolled by the mangrove palms. Which stand tall next to lava rocks shaded by clumps of bamboo.

And after crossing the lily ponds through the cool tropical jungle -fully intoxicated by the aroma of sweet smelling flowers, we took on another part of the mountain valley renowned for its natural healing powers.  The Sabeto Hot Springs with its three pools of varying temperatures is a place you can go for a therapeutic mud bath. Each pool serves a different purpose.

One is 70 degrees Celsius and is actually used to boil eggs. Locals of all ages like 11-year-old Abraham, whose nickname is "The Fish" can use the pools free of charge.  "Because it's good for the skin," he said, adding that he goes in "plenty" times every day.

Titilia Nai, another tour guide said, "This pool is for the locals and the temperature is 42 degrees. The second pool is for the tourists."

Caking hot mud on to your body is the first part of the treatment, but its more fun than serene.  "The mud has a really warm hot consistency to it and it's particularly known for treating all kinds of skin diseases," he said.

It doesn't take long for the mud to dry, then its back into the mud for a final rinse before you can head to the third pool.  The water is actually boiling hot, but you have to go in to get all of the mud off.

The music followed us out as we were leaving the Sabeto Hot Springs and soaking in the day's adventure.  Fiji has a charm and offers an escape to paradise - and the spectacular sunsets that melt into the clouds and fade ever so slowly in the sky nourish your mind body and soul.

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