Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not the Spa We’re Looking For

Recently my friends and I spent an evening at a five star hotel as part of a girl’s weekend. Earlier in the week we had called to check and see if the hotel had nice accommodations and fun services. Our chosen destination boasted a sauna, spa, and pool. Before going out to do some shopping we decided to stop by and see what time the different services were open until. The day spa was a little out of our price range with expensive salt water scrubs and such… but the sauna facilities seemed much more reasonable. There wasn’t really anyone there to help us the first time we stopped by, but we did see a price list that claimed the sauna plus a back and foot massage was only about 15USD. The sauna area said it was open until after midnight, so there was no rush to get back. With a tantalizing evening of relaxation ahead of us we headed out.

After dinner when we returned to our hotel I was pretty ready to just put up my feet and take it easy ( I am not a huge shopper and we had walked around quite a bit). The group voted to head down for our hour of pure pampering. This time there was staff at the front desk and we pointed to the package that we wanted. They said the sauna was only for men, but they could give us a foot message if we wanted. To demonstrate the woman slowed down her speech ( you know when talking to foreigners you just have to speak slower and louder and eventually they will understand) pointed on her own body and said “We will message from your knees down, ok?” We pointed again to their sign, “This one says it is foot AND back message”. She interrupted by repeating “this one is just for men” and she pointed to another deal that was just a foot treatment and was $8 more “this one good for you. We do your feet”.

None of us really wanted to pay more, nor did we like being spoken to like we were idiots, so we left. Eager to get out of there we jumped on the next elevator that came, it was going the wrong direction, and so we had to repass the sauna floor before getting back to our room. When the elevator stopped there again, one of the workers who had bore witness to our uncomfortable exchange got on the elevator with us… “Sorry about that. Most of our services are just for men, you know how they like to pay for sex ,” she said very bluntly .

We have all lived in this country long enough that we recognize and know the normal signs indicating this sadly booming service. We know to avoid the so called “Tea Houses” in the more expensive apartment complexes. We have all talked to girls who work the evening/night shift at the hair salon, not to mention the glaring read lights that shine in the night as we walk home. We know that this perverted business is alive and thriving all around us. Now we can add ‘sauna’ to our list of euphemisms.

And that is sadly how we spent some of our girl’s weekend trying to pick up a prostitute (a first ever as far as language acquisition goes). I guess it wasn’t quite as nice of a hotel as we thought. Not to mention how disturbed we all were with the realization that sex was that much cheaper than a nice real massage at a relaxing spa.

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