Thursday, November 18, 2010
November 2010 in Shanghai China.
After a few long days of work I arranged for a spa evening. I had considered getting a spa treatment at the hotel however the pricing was equal to an elite US spa. A coworker had researched more affordable options and found what turned out to be the Chinese version of Massage Envy.
I reviewed the website though I had to enlist a local comrade to help me find which location was closest. He was kind enough to also make the appointment for me. It was perfect… this was the one thing I wanted and needed before leaving Shanghai.
Before leaving the hotel I obtained a Chinese hotel card to ensure I could get back. I actually departed for the spa experience from our local business office. I entered the cab with little hesitation and much excitement. My comrade instructed the driver where to take me and I also showed him the address in Chinese on my iPhone. We were off!
After some time we arrived at Dragonfly. The building looked classy and I was relieved that I arrived without incident. I lingered outside while checking in on Foursquare. There was a door attendant to welcome me and many ladies huddled around the front desk in satin Asian dress. The color theme was a goldish/brown and very calming. There was soft music and just as the stress should have begun to melt away I panicked!
All at once it struck me that I did not know the proper massage etiquette in this far away country. The question was ‘naked or not’? I was led up the stairs to my room. On the way I saw that this was a large establishment, dimly lit, very calming with many people at my service. I was taken into a room with a massage table and little room on either side. There was a satin robe hanging on the wall but I still didn’t know ‘naked or not’?
My masseur set up the room and laid a pair of satin pajamas on the table. It wasn’t until then I figure out that it was ‘not naked’. He left the room though I could sense he was lingering outside the door. I stripped down, put my panties in the pocket of my coat and hung my clothes on the few available hooks. Then in this narrow area between the wall and the table I attempted to put on the satin attire that had been left for me.
I picked the items up off the table and there was the panic once again. There was a golden brown crushed satin 2 piece jacket and short pants that looked like something my grandma Irene used to wear. The top was a wrap around v-neck type jacket that had three ties. This was not your normal wrap around, after many attempts to tie it I surrendered and decided to move on to the pants. The pants looked to be a size 6 and I am a size 16! The fabric was soft but other than the elastic waist this outfit had no stretch. I tugged the pants on but realized that I would not even be able to maneuver onto the table. Every second I had them on was a second that I was risking bursting out of them.
I didn’t want my masseur to come back in while I was figuring this out so I whipped those pants off and pulled my yoga pants back on. Then I tried to tie the jacket. No luck I could not figure it out. There I was standing in a room that did not have much space, with a jacket on that was not tied and my yoga pants that obviously were not part of the outfit. I was not feeling quite as relaxed as I was expecting. I knew my masseur was standing outside the door so I just held the top closed, cracked the door and asked him to help me. I then giggled and pointed at the pants and told him they were too small. He helped me tie the top and he quickly got rid of those too little pants!
Getting dressed for my experience maxed out my stress level but from the time I hit the table my massage experience was wonderful. I never had a ‘not naked’ massage before. I had a perfect pressure point massage that included stretching and a little inner thigh work that was respectful but for a moment made me nervous that there may be more that I did not know. After the one hour massage I dressed and was led to another level for a one hour foot soak/rub.
I was sat in a chair that was reclined, my feet were placed in a hot soak and I was given a neck and shoulder massage. Hot packs were laid over my core and my hand placed on top. I was covered with a blanket and he proceeded to work pressure points in my feet and legs. I was awake but so relaxed I had to fight snoring! I was not fighting sleep rather just an awake snore.
Before my manicure I asked to use the washroom. I was led upstairs and I was sure he was waiting outside the door for me. I know I did not have to tip but at this point I would have given this man my life savings (which in RMB might be impressive). I dug out 100 RMB from my purse and planned to give it to him but to my surprise when the door opened there was a woman standing there waiting to lead me into the nail salon. Where did he go? Ninja!
I went into the well lit salon. It was beautifully decorated in flowers sprayed with sparkling snow and exquisite chandeliers. There was one other woman in there, and older Chinese woman that looked to have money and power. She also had a cell phone that chimed regularly with an obnoxious chime! I was not going to let this bother me. Between the chimes she would hack and conjure up a loogy from deep in her chest. I didn’t dare look up but after the third fur ball I looked up to see her swallow. Despite the other patron my manicure was great.
After two hours of massage service and a manicure I paid just shy of 390 RMB ($75). I hailed a cab and showed the driver my Chinese hotel card. The driver had questions, questions in Chinese! After a bit of time and a couple of phone calls to my comrade we were on our way. I was looking for my phone when I stuck my hand in my pocket and realized my panties were still in there. This my friend is how I ended up in a cab in Shanghai with my panties in my pocket!