But the sadness was balanced by the joy of Spa World USA (don't click that link unless you are ready for some of the most persistently obnoxious website music you have ever heard. Ali threatened to become a hacker just to be able to shut down websites that play music). Three friends and I journeyed (way out in suburban NOVA) to this Korean spa to check out what we were told would be an experience to remember.
|Road trippin' to the spa. We got lost. Who makes a road called Lee Highway and then another one called Old Lee Highway and then have them cross? Who could possibly look quite as crazy as I do at this moment?|
Apparently, in Korea and other countries, bath houses/spa are where families might go to hang out in pools and spas to relax and socialize. In Americans' minds, apparently Korean Spas are associated with fish that chew the dead skin off your toes. There were none of those that I could find at Spa World.
When you arrive at Spa World, you immediate relinquish your shoes before even walking into the dressing room. They give you very stylish outfits to wear in the common areas.
But when you are not in the common areas, you are nekkid. So very nekkid.
As in haven't-been-this-nekkid-since-I-was-8-or-10 nekkid. In junior high and high school gym class it was like a contest to see who could change gym clothes showing the least amount of skin (note: My dad tells me that when he was in junior high, the gym classes were segregated and they would swim in the nude. And that when the YMCA was men-only, everyone swam in the nude there, too. That would so not fly these days). Even in college, my roommies and I were pretty modest about the whole living in close quarters thing.
Here, in the gender segregated areas, women were walking around, washing themselves, lounging in the pools, getting massages. All while very, very unclothed. I am sure that there is a feminist message in here somewhere about how American women are taught that our bodies are bad and that we should be ashamed of them and that it why it was so difficult to take our clothes off, even just in front of other women. Hmm...
Apparently the foam from the Bubble Jet "also contains plenty of anion, which relaxes the mind and releases stress." Are anions good for you? The website Anions For Health tells me they are, so it must be true.
But in all seriousness, the 92 degree water and the jets were just lovely. And then going into the hot sauna and then jumping into the 52 degree pool was very refreshing (read: holy crap that's cold).
After the spa room, you can go into the Poultice Rooms area. There is a large common room where people can relax and read, watch TV, or get on the internet. There is a little cafe where we ate delicious Stone Pot Rice and Fried Dumplings. Upstairs there are sleeping rooms and a nail salon and gift shop (which we did not check out, but still piques my curiosity).
The Poultice Rooms are a series of dry sauna rooms that have different properties. For example, the amethyst Gem Room (heated to a balmy 164 degrees) is "Made with gems including amethyst, rose quartz, green quartz, it emits several million energy oscillating waves per second. The power from these gems increases energy within the body and adjusts the balance within the body, improving the body’s overall condition." The Red Clay room is supposed to ease feminine troubles....there were many men in that room, I assume hoping that they, too, will avoid these vaguely ominous-sounding feminine troubles. The Red Clay Ball room was my favorite. It was like getting into a ball pit full of tiny warm clay marbles. You could squish down into them and they would fill in around you. But they were very loud when someone came crashing into the room to lay down next to you.
The final room you go into is the Ice Room. It is 52 degrees and has big slabs of ice on the walls. The Ice Room "is essential to maximize the effects of poultice treatments. It tightens blood vessels, muscles and skin cells that have been relaxed and opened to create healthier and younger looking skin. It also expands the benefit of poultice as it removes body waste and absorbs mineral, which boosts your body’s immunity." Mostly, it is REALLY cold when you are barefoot and only in shorts and a t-shirt.
So, nekkidness + water + sauna + Korean food = much entertainment had by all.
Other things I did this weekend:
|So. Much. Yarn.|
- Made waffles. Three times. Three different meals. Shhhhh, don't tell.
- Finished my curtains.
- Wrote a little more on my grad school essays. No idea what to say....
- Got a gigantic shipment of yarn. Again, shhhhh, don't tell.