Merriam – Webster Definition
spa: a place where people go to improve their health and appearance by exercising, relaxing, swimming, etc.
spa: a place where westerners go in South Korea to fully immerse themselves in the culture. The experience includes…… relaxing waters, nudity, plus inordinate amounts of staring.
|Location: Busan, South Korea.|
Step one: Pay, get your key and deposit your shoes.
|This is Korea, so of course everyone has their own special shoe locker.|
|This is not only a fashionable bracelet, it is also your locker key and the device on which they record any extra expenses.|
After picking up your towels and little spa uniforms, the men go off in one direction, and the women venture towards the Ladies Bath.
|Ladies to the right! And in case you were wondering, no one but a princess from Star Wars can actually pull of the ear-bun thing. Don’t try it!|
Step two: strip down to your birthday suit.
|My sis, showing off our cute spa land uniforms.|
Quick note from my sister: I had a few reservations about going to Spaland, but my curiosity for the place was much stronger. Kaela and I checked in and all looked normal, just how I imagined a spa would look like.
My main reservation was that part of the spa was nude! and sure enough, Kaela and I walked into the locker room where I immediately saw skin…lots of skin. I never thought I would see so many naked women all at once in my life. But, in about 10 seconds I got over the shock and I myself stripped bare and fully embraced the spa. Of course everyone starred at us, being the only foreign girls there, but then I quite enjoyed starring right back. We skipped from one pool to the next, one hot, one cold, before we got called in for our ajumma scrub. I loved it! yes, granted it was strange having an elderly woman in lingerie wash and scrub every inch of my body, but I loved it. I was sad when our time at the spa ended but so thankful for the unique experience. I left wishing they had spas like that back in the states, sadly, I don’t see this happening any time in the near future.
Step 3: The Special rooms
When you have finished with the body-tingling scrub, and have had enough of relaxing in the bathing pools, you can put on the provided spa uniform and head to the common areas for various other treatments.
|I am a sucker for foot baths and massages, and this sure felt wonderful.|
|After spending an exhausting time relaxing in the baths and foot pools, you can recline for a peaceful nap before heading into the special “rooms”.|
|One of the many rooms you can enter for various unknown benefits to your health.|
|The peaceful common area.|
|By scanning your key bracelet, and getting charged 2,000 won ($2) you can spend 20 minutes in this lovely massage chair. I think we did it twice.|
Although it can be awkward, initially, to undress and walk around stark naked in front of strangers, it can also be relaxing and refreshing.
A day at Spaland will wash away the stress of months of traveling or teaching, as well as provide one with some good stories to tell the folks back home. I am happy to have been able to expose my sister to this cultural experience.
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