Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Spa 101

For our upcoming anniversary, Chris gave me an early present - a spa package. It included an hour of massage, a manicure, a pedicure, and some other nice things. So I finally, for the first time in my life, went to a real spa.

I tried very hard to listen to all the instructions, not be late, do the right things, and in general not to embarrass myself. Oddly, I succeeded. First of, I arrived almost an hour ahead of time. I was shown into the changing room and handed a key to my own personal locker. I was to change into a soft white rob with the spa's logo and a pair of comfy white slippers. In the locker, I saw another matching piece of fabric that looked like a sarong wrap. Eager to use 100% of provided services, I put it on as a skirt underneath the rob. Then I proudly shuffled into the relaxation room where the patrons wait between the treatments while helping themselves to snacks and water. To my utter surprise, I noticed that none of the other women were wearing "skirts", only robs. I sensed danger and quickly retreated back to the locker room to get rid of the "skirt". As I put it back into my locker, I realized that it was indeed a body wrap of a kind used when getting a neck and decoltage treatment! Humbled by a near-miss, I returned to the relaxation room and stayed away from snacks for fear of committing another faux pas. Finally, the other women left for their treatments and I hurriedly ate a saltine cracker and some grapes.

Then it was time for my first treatment - a massage. Since I can't get a real deal right now, I had to settle for a Mother-To-Be special massage. Actually, it was absolutely great! The massage bed was extremely comfortable complete with an oversized and, get it, heated body pillow! A warm blanket, dimmed lights, and soft music relaxed me and almost put me to sleep even before the massage session began. As for the massage itself, let's just say one thing - the following night was the first time in my pregnancy when I did not have any back pain!

After the massage and a brief stop at the relaxation room, I continued on to the next station - the pedicure. I'd never had one done before so I have no basis for comparison here. I thought that everything, from a cushy chair that not only reclined, but also massaged, to hot oil treatment to the color of nail polish, was wonderful. I traded my fluffy slippers for a pair of pink flip-flops and merrily flopped across the hallway to the manicure room.

All my previous manicure experience was limited to Vietnamese salons at various malls across the country. These are usually very crowded, noisy, and smell of acetone and other chemicals. This was a whole different affair altogether. There was no unpleasant smell and the only sounds were soft music and trickle of water from the fountain. The treatment that I got was also much nice and more thorough and included an exfoliating rub, a hand massage, and a parafin treatment. The last one gets to be boring since you sit there for 5 minutes with your hands wrapped in plastic bags wrapped in fluffy mittens. But I entertained myself looking at my newly painted toe nails.

After the manicure, I got an eyebrow wax and a haircut. Oh, and all the while, I was sipping cucumber water. I'd never had it before, but it is really pretty good. It taste more cucumbery than the cukes you buy at a grocery store and is very refreshing. Plus it has a certain snobby spa quality to it unlike say lemon water.

So all in all it was a great experience! Now I'm spoiled for life. I'm already looking forward to returning for more massages (hot stone one would be nice) and maybe some exotic facials.