Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Waaaay Back When-sday, Episode 3 (part 3)

In case you're just joining's part 1 and part 2 for you to read and get caught up.

Korean Bath House - part 3 (the end of the story).

As a little far we'd been baked, boiled, tenderized, peeled and basted. And were now being ushered into yet another room of torture.

This last room had a calming feel to it. Walking in made me think that maybe, the torture was complete...and we were finally going to get to do some relaxing.


I mean, it started out fine enough. They lure you in...and lay you down on a very comfortable massage table. They put some cucumber gunk all over you face, but a hot cloth over your eyes. There is calming music playing in the background. They massage your arms and your shoulders. Things are looking good.

Then I hear a noise, down by my feet. It's the sound of a leather satchel with metal instruments being unrolled. I know, I know...I've watched too many espionage, torture the information out of the informant, movies. But that's exactly what it sounded like.

And that's exactly what it was!!!!!!!

The woman at the end of my table, took one of my feet in her hands. I'd heard of reflexology. I'd heard that it was a wonderful thing. But for someone like me, things weren't looking good. I have the most ticklish feet ever.


Not that it would have mattered, being ticklish wasn't a problem in this situation. Being adverse to pain, on the other hand, was. This woman started jamming metal instruments into the bottom of my foot. She'd drag and scrape the things along the sides. Digging in. Poking, prodding. How the objects didn't break the skin and enter INTO my foot, I'll never know.

Every so often, there would be a break in the action, and she'd come back with a different tool. Holy cow. If I had any national secrets, I would have given them all up and then some, right then! I'd make stuff up, I'd sell my sister into slavery...what ever it takes for them to stop torturing my foot!!!!

And that's when it hit me. Oh My God...they've only done one foot! I have to go through all of this again. There's no way I'll make it out of here alive. My feet are thudding and pounding and burning so badly, I don't think I could have stood up if I wanted to.

This went on for a good 30 minutes, before switching to my other foot. I was sweating and fighting back tears. I'm not a wuss when it comes to pain. I've had reconstructive shoulder surgery...there's nothing that hurts more. And I did it with relatively little complaining. (mostly I complained about being bored, and not being able to put my own bra on)

Finally, the hell was over. I could hear the tools being put away. They started massaging my legs. My calf muscles (heck, every muscle in my body) had tensed up pretty hard that last the pampering was a welcome activity.

Until the brush came out. I started getting pedicures a number of years ago, when a pregnant friend of mine decided she had to go. She could no longer reach her feet. We still go together every once and a while. When you get a pedicure, they take a scrub brush along the bottom of your feet.

Yeah, not my feet. Remember the ticklish thing? It's an involuntary action. I about took the head off of one unsuspecting pedicurist. When the brush comes out, I explain I'm ticklish, and we should probably skip that step.

Unfortunately, as was proved with the exfoliation lady smacking me in the forehead in the previous room, the communication barrier has left little to be desired all evening. And, try as I might, I couldn't get her to put the d*mn brush away! I tried laughing and pulling my foot back, all the ladies in the room laughed...and my woman grabbed my foot in a death lock. I tried curling my toes and making it difficult for her. No go....she wouldn't stop. The woman was a pit bull!!!!

When she was completely done with my feet, she grabbed my leg, and bent it at a 90 degree angle, so my foot was sitting on the table. She took a metal rod and ran it up along the inside of my calf of my right leg.

Well....that was interesting. I wonder why she did t.................................OH MY GOD!!!!!!!

About ten seconds after running that rod along my calf, the pain hit. I've never felt anything like it in my life!!! It felt as though someone was holding a hot poker on the side of my leg...right where she had taken the rod. It burned so bad. What did she just do to me???? I couldn't move my leg, it was paralyzed.....except for the burning sensation that wasn't easing up.

This was when I realized there were more of us in the room. If anything, the ladies had gotten me to forget anyone else was there. I started listening. You could hear small whimpers and such throughout the room. One chorus member let out a small shriek.

I heard someone closer to me sit up suddenly. NOPE! That was me sitting up. She'd just run that metal rod up the other calf, and I guess my body went into fight or flight mode. Since I wasn't running out the door, I can only assume I was readying my self for battle. :-)

The hot cloth fell off my eyes, and I was finally able to look around the room. There were people with tears, there were people looking around with huge eyes, and there was one person asleep. How can you possibly sleep with all of this going on?

I was led back to the locker room where I could change. Everyone rode back to the hotel in silence. No one talking to each other. Shell shocked.

I'm all for experiencing other cultures. There were MANY things we did during those 10 days that I enjoyed beyond belief. I went outside my comfort zone and ate some pretty crazy things. I'm glad I went to the bath house. Would I ever do it again? No. I'll stick with American spas. I hear it's more of a pampering experience. :-)


Brook said...

Well, at least you survived. Whoever "they" are say no pain no gain! Egads, I would never have made it. I have low blood pressure issues and cannot go into saunas or hot tubs safely for the long periods of time mentioned here. Good to know in case I ever encounter a Korean bathhouse. Sounds like you had a good time though. I loved the year we spent in China. And nope, I don't speak a lick of chinese.

Nej said...

There was soooo much we didn't get to do while there. I'd love to go back. Everywhere we drove, I found myself saying "what's that? can we go there?" But we were on such a tight performance schedule, there wasn't much time for sightseeing.