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Enormous Man Feet!

Pingyao to Xi’an

Left Pingyao today. Taxi back to the bus station was 1/3 the cost coming in, go figure. We picked a nice hotel to stay in, still only $50, that on the outside was night and day to the last ger in Mongolia. In Xi’an we saw the Terracotta Army. These are life-sized and lifelike dudes, about 8,000 of them, buried with the first emperor of China in 210-209BC to protect him in the afterlife, along with 130 chariots and 600 horses. Family, when I die I expect nothing less.

Our hotel had a spa and hot pools that we were very excited to use after the pain of our last massage. Can’t determine whether the entire experience was frustrating, humiliating, an exercise in futility or all three. Rick tried to call ahead but when they heard he spoke English they hung up on him, so we walked down instead. We specifically pointed to one massage on the menu only to get to the room and be up-sold on the most expensive thing there. We didn’t know any Chinese and no one knows any English, but the lady had a Chinese translation app. Here is an abbreviated version of the 45 minute conversion that took place:

Me: We want the full body massage

Her: If full body your physical will not be vibration to its thoroughness.

Me: We want the full body massage

Her: If you choose to select Yin Yao massage you be first enclosed in spirit cleansing tub to soothe your devil temperament

Me: Too expensive, I’d prefer the budget exorcism

Her: If you choose to select Aroma massage heavily pounded to satisfaction with ideal distribution Me: Nothing beats a good pounding, that will do

She then wanted to give us our pounding sequentially, which defeats the purpose of a couples massage and was embarrassing because we were sitting there in the disposable undies they give you. Another 15 minute discussion on that and an additional therapist turns up. More revenge taken on head and shins due to not choosing to cleanse our souls.

Next, the 14 hot tubs, which we though had come free with the hotel, but of course not. Once again, no one speaks any English. I walk into the changing area that acts as a gate between the outside and the hot springs. They grabbed my shoes from me and replaced them with cute little pink flip flops that were just a tiny weeny bit small, but nothing I was concerned about. Some yelling and screaming occurs between the changing room women. While I don’t speak Chinese I’m pretty sure this is what was said:

Angry lady #1: Arck, Arck, she has ENORMOUS MAN FEET!

Angry lady #2: Arck, Arck, you are right, we must get her the enormous man feet flip flops!

Angry lady #1: But we have no enormous man feet flip flops here!

Angry lady #2: (exasperated sigh) I will go to the men’s changing room and get some enormous man feet flip flops

Angry lady #1: Make sure you get the blue ones, so we can publicly excoriate her for her enormous man feet!

Five minutes later I receive a pair of enormous blue flip flops and am marched to the changing area. Everyone else has the cute pink flip flops and is staring aghast at my enormous man feet blue flip flops. This felt much like the ‘shame, shame’ episode of Game of Thrones, where Cercie has to walk through the streets naked with people throwing rotten fruit at her.I change into my swim suit and continue the march of disgrace to the hot pool area when I am stopped by another spa militant. I believe she is telling me to take a shower before going in the pools, which is fair enough, but instead of pointing me in the direction of the showers she points repeatedly at a nine year old girl and screams at me in Chinese. No matter how loud you yell lady, I’m still not going to understand you. She continues to point at the nine year old girl, so I start pointing at the nine year old girl, who is probably in therapy right now. Why she didn’t just point me to the showers I don’t know. Anyway, situation eventually gets resolved, but I don’t know if I am supposed to take my swimming costume off before showering or leave it on. I don’t want to be pervy and stare into the other showers and figure it’s better to have my swimsuit on when everyone else is naked rather than be naked when everyone else is clothed. Of course I’m wrong, because I walk into the hot tub area with the only wet swimsuit and everyone else is running around naked.

The tubs themselves were underwhelming after all the effort it took to get in. We have decided no more massages/pounding/cupping/scraping/snapping/poking until we get to Laos.

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