Tuesday, May 24, 2005

clay oven spectacular

Maybe it was because I was sleep deprived. Maybe it was the plate of blood sausage that I was trying to digest, that I let Hijoo finally convince me to go to a sauna, something I had categorically denied that I would do since I got here. Bathing naked in public places has never really been my thing. Somehow though, I did go, an apprehensive but willing victim, not imagining how truly great an experience it would be. First, let me tell you, saunas have changed. It is no longer about getting naked and jumping into a big tub. This sauna had two floors, the first being the usual naked bathing area where women vigorously wash their private parts more enthusiastically than I myself feel comfortable doing let alone seeing. But the other floor. The other floor. Has a computer room, a cafe, a restaurant, two vast lounging rooms, three saunas at 26°, 145°, 183° Farenheit, and a clay oven kept at an undisclosed temperature that is supposed to be the hottest of them all. All of which have heated floors and are enjoyed coed, barefoot, and dressed in a uniform of white shorts and T-shirt that they hand to you at the door. It looked like a MASH unit in there with sleeping bodies scattered on the floor everywhere. Being a novice, I could barely stand the 145° without passing out so instead I took a nap in a relaxation chamber pictured here. If it weren't for the small children pattering about with their evil little feet, playing games and shrieking at the top of their lungs, I may consider this a true haven from the urban jungle outside. It was midnight by the time we got home with me a cleaner, refreshed, less doubting human being.

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