31 May 2008

The Skin I'm In

Last weekend our church had a singles' conference, which is pretty much always a good time because there are so many cool people out here. After our Saturday night party a handful of us decided to go see the new Indiana Jones movie. Sometimes when I decide to do things like this I forget that I'm not in America where I can just hit #1 on my speed dial (always Fandango) then hop into a car and head to the theater with the best show time.

Instead we walked blindly to the nearest theater to find that there were no more showings that night. Then we tried to catch a taxi to another theater, but couldn't get a taxi to save our lives (it was insane, there were like 10 taxis across the street, but Korean taxis won't turn around. You have to go in the direction they're pointed or you're out of luck.) Anyway, after tons of walking, a subway ride, and a lot more walking, half the group decided to call it a night (one person was so fed up she took off without warning. That was a bit distressing.)

We were down to three: me (I don't give up lightly if there's a movie at the end of the tunnel), Jennie, and Angie. After dedicating some time to confirming that our missing party member hadn't been abducted and a sticky episode of sitting in chewing gum we carried on the hunt. We failed. We retreated to Baskin Robbins for some consolatory ice cream.

The whole experience turned out to be an excellent crucible for friendship, though. Jennie and Angie and I were already making fun of the whole experience before it was even over, and before we left Angie told us that there's a really great spa in her town (Asan, about an hour out of Seoul) and that next Saturday we should all have a spa day. So, a week later I was on a train with Jennie and Sammi, a fourth friend who decided to join us.

The spa day was excellent. It was rife with new cultural experiences and overall very pleasant. We floated around in a wading pool for a while. We did a whole gauntlet of jet spray water massages. We sat in a shallow pool of fish that eat your dead skin right off you (which was mostly a novelty I think, because it was really like spot ex foliation, probably much less effective than a good scrub, and much more ticklish.)

Speaking of scrubs, we did that too. Imagine, if you will, a big log that a little old Korean lady has decided to shape into a canoe. She puts the log on a table. Dumps a few buckets of water onto it, then starts sanding vigorously away. She hits every bit of the log until it's smooth as silk, then pours a few more buckets of water on it and calls it good. But it's not really a log. I just asked you to picture a log because I didn't want you to picture me naked, and also because the image of vigorous sanding is probably pretty accurate to what I experienced.

The scrub took place in a public bath area (women only thankfully.) This is an idea I've just recently gotten used to, and this was only my second venture into the world of public nudity. I discovered that it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Taking your clothes off in public is like ripping off a band aide, really, just get it over with and then you're fine. Actually, I found myself strolling between the different soaking pools and saunas with increasingly more and more confidence. I mean, your skin isn't like a bad outfit that you later wish you hadn't worn, it's yours completely and you can't really change much about it without taking drastic measures, so you might as well own it, even when there's a room full of Korean women giving you curious glances.

Anyway, enough about me being naked. Needless to say I don't really have any pictures for this post. It was a great day, and next week Jennie, Sammie, and I are headed to Pusan for our three day weekend, with yet a new fourth - Ruth - in tow. I love the inexhaustible store of really cool people that Korea continues to produce for me (even if many of them are imported.)


Sarah McBride said...

eh naked shmaked. When you have no sense of decorum(such as myself) nudity doesnt bother you.
heck, I lived in France.

Sarah McBride said...

the spa day sounds heavenly though. Jealous here

Jessica F. said...

Sounds great! That is for sure something I would only be able to do in another country!

Alanna said...

the idea of a spa day sounds relaxing but I don't think I would be able to relax in a nude pool. Maybe in another country it would be okay though. Sounds like you are enjoying yourself.