Friday, November 7, 2008

Just another day at the Spa

It’s fair to say that I have gotten my fair share of spa treatments. Justin is no stranger to them either. So when we arrived to Palolem Beach in the south of Goa we were very excited to partake in the numerous $5 massage, and $1 shave huts. Being experienced “backpackers,” we obviously just couldn’t go to just any place. We needed to find, what we though, would be the best masseuse for the best price. Justin, being the king of negotiation and research, set out to find just this. After an hour, he found just the place we were looking for. A hundred yards down the beach from where we were sitting, was a small hut next to a popular beach side restaurant with a deaf masseuse that Justin claimed to be the best out of the 5 or so that he had checked out. This is where I come in, as the guinea pig, for most of the “interesting” things Justin finds.
Being that I was a little more keen on getting a massage than Justin, we decided that I would test this guy out once the sun went down. In the mean time, I went to get a shave from another place Justin discovered, this place in his words was “amazing,” and judging from the job they did on his face it was.
On the way home from the beach I stopped in the barber shack to get my treatment. After fifteen minutes of prep work, which included various crèmes and pre shave oil, the barber took a straight razor to my scruff, and I knew this was a great idea. However, about half way through my shave the power went out, meaning the florescent lamp, the only form of light was gone, leaving me in this now pitch black shack. The situation left me half shaven, with a straight razor, centimeters from my atoms apple in absolute darkness. My mind was racing, “is this guy going to stop and weight for the power to come back on? Or is he going to Sweeney Todd me, and throw my body in the back with the rest of the dumb tourist looking for a cheap shave.” The answer was neither. Instead hit did not even seem effected and lit a single candle and finished the job with perfection. Me, thinking he was going to slip and slice me was relived and impressed when the job was done. Shortly after he finished the actual shave part, the power came back on and he went on with his routine which included a 20 minute facial and a 15 minute head massage. After an hour of pampering for 200 rupees (about $4), I agreed with Justin, this was the best shave I had ever gotten. Now for the massage...
The next night I ventured down to the massage hut to find the man Justin had previously described to me. Justin told me that he had a price listed but that I should negotiate it lower because he believes the masseuse would indeed lower the price. I found this impossible considering the masseuse was deaf and after about 20 seconds I abandoned the idea and decided to pay the 500 rupees (about $10) for the hour, full body massage. With no means of communication, and not knowing what to expect, I lay down on the bed and anxiously waited for him to begin. When he entered, his first actions came as a bit of surprise. The first thing he did was to take his shirt off. Now shirtless, he poured, splashed, and covered my entire body with no less then an entire bottle of massage oil. For the rest of my life I will remain bewildered on how he massaged so deep, when I was so slippery. Justin had been right; this guy was excellent. After he was finished he insisted that I come outside of his hut and sit in a chair for him to give me my head massage. Not exactly wanting to be seen in public with this amount of oil on me couldn’t be communicated, so I (red faced) sat in his chair as he poured more oil all over my head and finished the treatment. This was all in front of, the now full, and popular restaurant next door. To say the least, I can only imagine that my facial expressions acted as some solid entertainment for the groups of people enjoying their dinner.
As I walked home all I could do was laugh and couldn’t wait to get in the shower. Of course being India, nowhere had the best water pressure and it took me a good 30 minutes of scrubbing to get to the point where I felt “less” oily. About three days later my hair and skin were completely back to normal. Although I warned Justin, he insisted on getting the same massage, and somehow communicated with the mute masseuse to use less oil, I don’t know how he did it.

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