Yesterday, I stopped by the Modern Beauty Salon in the Ginza Mall, mainly to use their shower. I needed the shower because on Monday our hot water heater died in spectacular fashion. (Obviously, calls to a certain Fairly Useless Boss have received the assurance that she’s working very hard to solve our problem and that any delays are not her fault) We’ve been heating water in the electric kettle, pouring it into a basin and sponge-bathing, just like in my first apartment in Yantai, but it’s not really the ideal situation.
Because I had walked into the salon on the off chance that they could do my eyebrows (and let me have a shower), there wasn’t a regular room available, and I was assigned to a “slimming room”. White spa towels, with a rose and gold silk cover on the table, red silky lampshades, and wallpaper with gold fu symbols. It was almost a shame to leave my battered jeans and boots in such a pretty room.
There was also some kind of slimming machine in the room, a big yellow monstrosity. I’m not quite sure what it was supposed to do, but I’m pretty sure Dr. Crusher would have known how to use it.
Oh, the shower. I might be slightly biased here because I hadn’t showered since Sunday, but the shower was incredible. Hot water, water pressure, scented shampoo. Did I mention the hot water? Also the shower stall was made out of black stone tiles and small mother-of-pearl mosaics. It was gorgeous and I would have been more impressed if I hadn’t been distracted by the hot water.
When I got out the shower there was an attendant standing by the stall door, holding an extra towel for my hair. It felt a bit odd at the time but now I wonder if I can get Stick to do that.
Another attendant was waiting in my room with a cup of tea, weird Chinese candy, and a bowl of rose petal water. I knew what to do with tea and weird candy (drink one and ignore the other) but I’ve never actually been presented with a bowl of rose petals. Pretty cool! Although it was mostly psychological… it didn’t really feel any different from plain water.
I did pretty well with my limited Chinese (my primary students taught me most basic body parts), but when the attendant wanted me to take my robe off and wrap up in a towel, though, the thought of a naked waiguoren was too much, and she resorted to sticking out the towel and mumbling quickly into her shoulder. Needless to say, it took me an extra long time to catch on to these instructions, but eventually I did, and lay down on the table.
I’ve often complained that nothing is fast and simple in China, but it finally worked out to my advantage. You can’t get eyebrow shaping without a facial. And that means an hour’s worth of pressure massage, warm oily stuff, cold face-creamy stuff, a different kind of a massage with a different kind of cream, a neck and arm massage while the facial potions worked their magic, oh, yeah that eyebrow stuff, then another massage with another cream. Amazing. I didn’t want it to end.
Unfortunately the price I got (88 RMB) was a special new-customers promotion, and before I could leave, I got harassed to buy a package of 20 facials for 6000 RMB, or become a member for 5000 RMB and get 50% off everything, or at least try the rose bath and body massage package. The hard sell ruined my mellow feelings, and actually made me less interested in returning, but I may go back for a bath.