27 January 2013

Spa World USA: The Korean Spa

This weekend I spent my Friday night at a Korean spa. If you haven't had the experience of playing dominoes at 2am surrounded by sleeping Koreans than you either didn't serve in the Korean war or you don't know how to play dominoes. Your time for the Korean war is past, unless of course you defect to North Korea, where the whole country is reminiscent of a war zone.
I arrived at the spa with several friends about 8:00pm on Friday night and we started with the unisex saunas. Hot ones, cold ones, charcoal ones, and amethyst ones. Then we retreated to the gender specific bade pools, where I floated in 64 degree water imagining I was Jack from Titanic. When the bading was done I emerged a cleaner, fresher copy of myself. I was dismayed to find none of my female friends in the common area, so I got a drink and relaxed on a very comfy chair hoping they hadn't drowned. Eventually one female friend emerged like a robin cracking through a watery egg shell, and we played dominoes.
Recognize those sexy legs on the right side of the photo?
In the common area of a Korean Spa in the middle of the night there's not a lot going on. Mostly people are sleeping. The people are mostly Koreans. But then there was this one guy who was definitely not Asian, but who was sleeping. Sort of an anomaly. Then there was Chang and I (Juan) (I need to mask our true identities since it's likely the N. Koreans are checking my blog). We were neither Asian nor sleeping, though we should have been (sleeping, not Asian). It was a little bit strange having a personal conversation surrounded by people lying on the floor. I almost felt like instead of asking "How many siblings do you have?" I should have been whispering "We're the only two people left on this forsaken planet. We're surrounded by the dead. It is up to us to start the human race over again." Using my best judgement however, I decided that might have been a little peculiar and a little forward, so I went with the siblings question instead. As the night wore on the domino game got more and more unusual, though always intemerate. We played Mexican train for some time, that length being approximately 28 minutes. People were snoring, people were scratching, people were rolling, people were probably listening, but still we carried on with our game.
The clothing provided and required by the spa is scrubs inspired by North Korea. They have the uncanny ability to make anyone less attractive, which I think is what the Spa is going for. You can't just have a bunch of attractive people roaming the spa looking good and not expect some communal togetherness such as a flash mob to spring up. Plus, when everyone is dressed the same it's a whole lot harder to tell who's Asian and who's named Juan. I sense that this post is about to take a racist turn for the worst so I'm going to move in another direction. After Chang and I finished our boba tea and concluded Mexican train, we considered our options. At 2:00am in a Korean Spa there is much to pontificate. After much deliberation we narrowed our options down to 3:
#1- Go home and sleep in our own beds.
#2- Follow suit and sleep on the floor with everyone else. Maybe even spoon with a stranger, though I didn't sense that was acceptable behavior in Korea. Or America come to think of it.
#3-Release the hounds.
That third option would require someone procuring hounds and then sneaking them into the spa in captivity for us to release, so we bagged after just 20 phone calls. Apparently people aren't too thrilled to be getting requests to capture dogs in the middle of the night. That's how you know who your true friends are.
All in all we thought better of sleeping on the floor and went our separate ways. It was pretty early in the morning by the time I found my own bed, but deciding to really let the experience settle in I chose to sleep on the floor next to my bed instead. Fred read 'Dead Lead: Bread" to me via an podcast, and at last I fell asleep. What a great night at the Spa.

No comments: