The Korean Bath House, Part 2 (here's part 1 if you missed it)
So, where was I????
Oh yes. I remember now.
We had just been placed back into the oven, after our botched escape attempt. Our captors were nice enough to bring us glasses of water (Of which we couldn't drink. I had a 13 hour plane ride home the next day, and DID NOT want to spend it in the airplane restroom suffering from digestive distress.)
Finally, at least another 20 minutes later, the bath house ladies arrived and began ushering us from the oven to the changing room. (they didn't even have to pinch of knees to see if we were done this time!!!)
Now that I think back, I know they were trying to stagger our leaving "the oven" for a reason....but at the time, it was terrifying. By the time I was finally able to leave, there were only 3 of us left. We had decided there was no way they were going to separate the three of us. We'd fight to the death if need be.
United we stand, divided we....well, we didn't know...but we weren't going to find out.
Once in the locker room, we were ordered to undress immediately (against our better judgement). I was friends with most of these ladies. I saw them at rehearsals a minimum of once a week. So, my eyes were carefully pointed towards the ceiling, the back wall, and anywhere else that would keep their naked bodies out of my line of sight. It wasn't something I wanted to have come to mind every time I saw them. Ugh!
Once we were properly in a state of undress, they led us through that mystery door. I didn't want to be the first through. Hell, I didn't want to be the last through either. I just wanted to put my Levi's back on and run!!!!
The room we entered was.....hmmmm....how do I describe it? It was wet, foggy, steamy, white porcelain tiles, floor to ceiling, and...well, it was....ummm.......noisy. But I'll get to that in a minute.
The first place we were told to go, was a wall, with shower heads. Made sense, we had sweat like nobodies business in the oven. I suppose we were pretty stinky by then?
My lady took me to the wall....looked at me with this really mean, snarly face....and punched the shower button on the wall. And when I say punched, I mean it. Then she looked at me, nodded her head and walked away.
Well OK then.
So, I punched the button, mimicking her movements with every ounce of sarcasm I had, and took a shower. When I was done, she came over and pointed me in the direction of the hot tub. I will call this stage two, "pot of boiling water".
It was a small hot tub, and there were too many of us in it for my liking. The water was hotter than any hot tub I'd ever been in....and I found myself wishing I was still in the oven. At least I could wear those funny looking pajama things in the oven!!!!
One by one, we were removed from the "pot of water." Unfortunately, I was sitting in the hot tub with my back to the rest of the room. Actually, I shouldn't say unfortunately. If I had been seated where I could watch what was going on behind me, I don't think I'd be of sound mind to talk about it today.
How can I describe the sounds I was hearing?
OK...I got it!! Buy a chicken from the grocery store. Take it out of the package, and then slam it down on the counter top. Then, take you hands and start slapping at it. (spanking it, for lack of a better word) That slapping sound you are hearing???? Imagine there were 5 people with their own chickens, beating the crap out of them in your kitchen with you. That's what it sounded like was going on behind me.
And, it wasn't really far from the truth.
Yep, there were 5 padded massage tables in this room behind me. Each table had a small Korean woman wearing black bras and panties (very utilitarian looking, nothing Victoria Secret about it, so get your minds out of the gutters!!!).
These women were doing the "massages." But, not American style massages. There was nothing relaxing about it. Trust me!!!
These women scoured, yes...I said scoured....us from head to toe. They had these mitts they wore....made of a very rough material. And they used them to exfoliate every inch of our bodies.
Every. Single. Inch
(As a joke, Elaine got each of us one of these mitts as gifts, and gave them to us on the plane ride home. I keep mine in the shower, and use it to exfoliate my elbows and such if they need it.)
At one point, the lady told me to sit up. So...I started to sit up...and she smacked me on the forehead with the palm of her hand. Smacked me, for real. With the palm of her hand...ssssmack.
She again told me to sit up. So I started to sit up...and she smacked me on the forehead again.
Oh no she didn't!
I found myself wondering what the punishment would be, for beating up a Korean bath house lady??
She yelled at me to sit up again. I sat up, but was ready this time. I had my hands up and was ready to smack her back, when another little lady in black under garments shouted something. She came over, yelled at my lady a little...and then asked me to scoot up. It seems they wanted my head to hang off the table, so they could massage my neck or scalp or something.
I don't think my lady trusted me after that. She looked at me like she was afraid I was going to attack her at any minute. Actually made me feel a little better....I admit it. I can't say the exfoliation felt even close to good. It hurt like a son of a bitch, and I think I was missing the top 70 or so layers of skin. Everywhere!!!
I'd been stuck in an oven and baked....I'd been boiled....and now I'd been...hmmm...what's the cooking equivalent of what that little lady in black underpants had done? I'd been tenderized, peeled, and basted.
And don't forget....all of the things in this room had been done naked.
Butt. Friggin'. Naked.
And as each person finished, we were taken into the main locker room again...and handed another set of those comfy pink pajama things.
All I could think to myself was "Oh god, they still haven't given me my clothes yet. Now what???"
(to be continued, one more time)