I’m not that much of a “girly girl” but I enjoy going to a spa here and there and getting stuff done. I love a good massage or a nice facial, and my #1 favorite is reflexology. I’ve been known to get so relaxed when they do that that I’ve fallen asleep.
I tend to not get spa services done when we’re out of town, usually because that stuff at the places we go tend to be too overpriced for me. But sometimes I can’t resist.
Like when we were in Ireland a decade or so about and we passed a shop that offered fish pedicures. The service included putting your feet in a bowl that had tiny toothless carp that nibbled the dry, dead skin from your feet. The service had been available throughout the U.S. but was eventually banned in several states and more than one country (the reason for banning included poor sanitation, it’s cruel to the fish, etc.). It was still legal in Ireland though, and I was curious, so I gave it a shot.
It was an interesting feeling – the nibbling fish almost felt like lots of tiny little electrical shocks. I didn’t feel the urge to ever get that again, but I’m glad I got to try it out.
Sometimes you go for a spa service in a different country and you get all kinds of different experiences…some funnier than others. I recently heard of 2 different ones that had me giggling.
The first was from my friend Mercie, who currently lives in China. Here’s what she had to say:
Today, I decided to go to the spa for a massage. In many of the hotels here in China you can get a decent quality one for no more than 30USD. I wanted to treat myself at a spa that was recommended to me by a friend.
Anyway, I get to the spa, check in and meet my masseuse. In Chinese she tells me to take my clothes off and shower. She points towards the shower in the room. My Chinese speaking isn’t good but I could understand that she wanted me to shower before the Swedish hot oil massage.
I power shower then step out of the shower. The room was quiet, so I thought maybe she had left the room while I was showering.
I reach for my towel so I could dry myself off.
From seemingly out of nowhere, she runs over, snatches the towel from me and begins drying me off.
I mean, she was all between my butt crack, all in my lady parts and drying all over my breasts. This lady was ALL IN MY GOOD STUFF.
I kept saying, “No!” in Chinese trying to explain to her that I can do it on my own. She didn’t understand and wouldn’t let up. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to say in a full sentence in Mandarin, “I don’t want you to dry my body off for me.”
But I do now!
Another funny story came from my friend PAL, from when she was in Japan:
I’m a Black Grenadian and Trinidadian woman.Years ago, when I lived in Yokohama, Japan, there was a time I liked going to the neighbourhood sento (bathhouse) with one of my friends after work. This particular sento was newly built and was equipped with restaurants, relaxation rooms and the most relaxing indoor and outdoor baths.To note, Japanese customs state that it’s necessary to completely cleanse your body separately before entering any particular bath water. We had done that.My friend and I had just finished our soak in an outside bath and were walking back inside to the changing room lockers. We were completely naked (customary) except for our tiny washcloths on our heads.Our lockers were next to each other and the changing room wasn’t crowded. There was an obachan (old woman) slowly getting ready nearby.As my friend and I are chatting, I feel some presence around me. My friend must’ve sensed it too because she stopped talking at the same time as me. We both looked down and just beside my left thigh was a little toddler about to lounge his teeth into me!!My friend started cracking up and the obachan started cackling. She said something to the effect of “he thinks you’re delicious chocolate”!! Very soon after that his mother appears and turns bright red as though she knew exactly what her child had just done!!She embarrassingly apologized and we all laughed it off!
So just remember travel friends, if you’re getting a spa treatment overseas, make sure you know how to say, “I don’t want you to dry my body off for me” in Chinese. And if you’re a POC in Japan, watch out for hungry toddlers who might mistake you for a piece of chocolate LOLOL!
*** Many thanks to Mercie J. and PAL for their permission to share their respective stories!
*** Feature Photo: R Boed/flickr
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary