A Chinese hot springs Spa, on a hot Saturday evening

They walked in, and were greeted by a sea of Chinese nakedness. The only non-naked people were the employees who uniformly wore unexciting black bra and panties. She looked down at the black bathing suit it had been suggested she wear, and decided to discard it, in case anyone mistook her for an employee. As if! She thought, smiling.

This spa was not for the fainthearted or body-modest. The Chinese ladies partaking of the spa treatments displayed a graceful but nonchalant disregard for nakedness. She was comfortable with her own nakedness, but was prepared for some stares, as she was one of the few ‘luo wei’ (foreign devil) present. The fact that when she stood anywhere near a tiny Chinese woman she looked twice her real size did not help with the staring.

She sought out an appropriate spot and sank gratefully into the very hot spring spa pool, discovering quickly that the jets emitting the water into the pool were scalding hot. Cursing, she moved somewhere in between two jets, and sighing she let the heat and minerals of the water seep into her sore muscles and tired bones.

From here she was able to observe at leisure this pool of Chinese females doing what they do at a spa; the variety of ages represented were from very young to very old… all naked in their rolls, scars, bumps, lumps, and hanging lows. Even the doll-like Chinese women have tummy rolls, she thought, and immediately felt better about her self-image.

She was very interested in the differences and similarities between herself and the local women. There seemed to be a lot of C-section scars paraded around, just above a mostly uncurly thatch. Body hair was still en vogue in certain body areas, while enviably and naturally not present in most others. How fortunate not to have to worry about hairy arms and legs! And how good it felt to remember that she had seen fit to see to her own limbs just two days before.

As she looked around the room, looking for her friends, she noticed some rooms off to the side of the shower area. Through some opened glass-fronted doorways (begging the questions a- why the doors were transparent, and b- why they were there in the first place if you could see right through them) she could see ladies submitting to body scrubs and massages. Seeing she was there for a cultural experience, she decided to also have a go. She chose a twenty minute salt body scrub and a twenty minute milk massage.

The woman who was to administer the body scrub and massage ladled a good quantity of warm water over the wicker massage table, and then laid a long piece of thin plastic over it. She gestured to the luo wei to lie down on the table, and that she should drop her towel on the nearby table. The luo wei lay down as bidden and closed her eyes ready to enjoy the experience.

The woman donned a hand-mit that could have easily been made out of sandpaper, and poured a large amount of rough salt crystals on it. Then the scrubbing and the stinging began.

The ‘scrubber’ was taking no prisoners. For such a small woman she was remarkably strong. Her mission was to remove dead looking skin cells that had been hidden from view for six months by various layers of clothing, and by all lords, gods and minor deities she was going to do just that. With single minded determination she set about her task as if her very life depended on it.

The rough mit erased the dead skin cells, chafing as it went, and the salt stung like a bitch. The scrubber left no flap un-flapped, no roll unrolled, and no modesty un-blushed. A couple of squeaks were heard from the table, as some places were scrubbed that not even a lover would have thought to venture on a first meeting.

After the scrubbing came the milk massage. This involved a bag of UHT milk being slit open like gutted animal and emptied over her now pink body. A very quick rub down was executed in order to help the milk ease into the freshly chafed skin. The UHT milk dripped into her hair mingling with the minerals from the pool, and dried her hair into crunchy curls.

The massage was much quicker than the scrubbing, even thought both were to be twenty minutes each. A tear of plastic alerted her to a further treatment… a cloth face mask soaked in a facial treatment that no doubt had some whitening agent in it, to rid the face of imperfections. This was placed on the luo wei‘s face with a little more gentleness than the salt and milk. It was over.

The little scrubber made a big show of heaving the ‘luo wei’ off the table, and led her by the hand to a sauna, where an attendant slapped a piece of cling film on her ass like she was on an assembly line in a factory, and shoved her through a door, where she was met by a furnace heatwave, stillness, silence, and chocolate brown stares. She self-consciously picked her way to an empty spot, and managed to sit there for a whole five minutes, before deciding to go find a cooler spot, like the water jets in the Hot Spring Pool.

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