Which one of these things does not belong?
Well, it brings to mind my very first Spa experience in Ecuador. It was, let’s say, a little different in some ways to my Canadian spa experiences. I remember well the Health Ranch experience Solutions Staffing treated the internal office staff to years back when I was still working in the office in Canada. The ambiance, the soft music, the aromatherapy in the background, nutritious snack and sparkling water offered. All perfectly orchestrated to set a mood of calm and healing.
Now let me bring you to another scene.
We were in Baños, a small mountain community 3 hours south of Quito. It was during our first couple of weeks in Ecuador back in May 2012. I was feeling a little stressed with trying to learn the language. Each communication session was full of grunting and pointing. Keeping the conversations inline with my 36 memorized verbs and 15 short sentences was exhausting on some days.
Anyways, I decided to treat myself to some spa treatments. I picked a location that looked clean and reputable. Where the word MASSAGE seemed to imply the relaxation kind rather than… well you know. From the menu, I chose a full body massage followed by a pedicure. The massage went well; I can’t complain, they hit all the right spots and I was definitely feeling more relaxed. The experience did lack the ambiance one would expect in a spa setting and certainly not the experience our office had enjoyed at the ranch in the Interior of BC. The soft music was missing, no essential oils or candle to lull me into relaxation, no cutesy little basket to put my things in; none of that was present, however the lady had very capable hands.
Another obvious and immediate difference I noticed was that any massage I had in the past, typically started with me on my stomach and ended by turning over on my back; this lady did the opposite. As the hour-long session came to an end, I found myself lying on my belly, with my face down in the hole. She had left the room without a word and I laid there with a little shiver, thinking a light blanket would be nice. I kept my eyes closed as the harsh office style lighting was not really soothing and overall I felt pretty good at this very moment. l relaxed for a bit more, waiting, sure she must be setting up the foot bath for my pedicure. I envisioned the chair, a warm soak, some bubbles and wondered if there would be any English magazines for me to leaf through. Surely she will come get me when the area was ready.
I would come to learn that my mental vision was slightly skewed and based on my North American experiences. About 5 minutes later, I heard her come back in the room and not so quietly fumbling around and all of a sudden I hear a power tool roar to life. It all happened so suddenly as I lay there in only my panties, chilly, with my face in the hole, I tried to swing my head around to see what was about to happen. Before I knew it she had picked up my foot in her hand and was going to town with a grinder to my heels. Every inch of my foot was sanded and dry polished. I am pretty sure the heel print was removed.
I can admit that I may not have the softest feet around, but typically a warm soak and a little hand sanding will do the trick. I remember laying in my panties feeling rather vulnerable and struggling between the thoughts of ‘Are you freaking kidding me’ and ‘OMG this is freaking hilarious’
I could not help but wonder if she was wearing safety glasses or not. They didn’t seem to follow the ‘safety first’ policies of back home, but still, a power tool is a power tool no matter where you live and when you have flying ‘stuff’ it is best to wear a little protection.
I have to say, the outcome was that I had soft feet and polished nails at the end of the day; I won’t dispute that overall, it worked. No one that seen me later that day would have noticed the little bit of underlying trauma on my face. Randy was waiting for me in the park; he asked. ‘So, how was it?’ and my eyebrows went up and I said; ‘Uhm, different; ok, but different’ and then proceeded to explain my experience interrupted only by my laughter. To this day when I think about it, it totally cracks me up.
PS… she was not wearing safety glasses..