I did something I’ve never done before: booked a massage at the hotel spa.  I put on the robe, a pair of gym shorts, and their strange, stiff flip flops.  I followed the masseuse, a middle-aged Korean woman who couldn’t have stood higher than my shoulder, into the “treatment room.”

“Open,” she said, gesturing to my robe.
She wanted me to flash her?
Apparently Korean women are less modest than American ones.  I hung up the robe.
“Open,” she said, gesturing to my shorts.
Off they came.  I folded my glasses on top of the shorts and laid down on the massage table.  Below the opening for your face, there was a bowl of flower petals floating in water.  Mmm.

It was billed as an aromatherapy massage.  “Sesame, lemon, or chamomile?”  I looked up.  Sesame?  That couldn’t be right. When I looked up at the jars, I realized she was saying jasmine, but it really sounded like sesame at first.  I pictured myself as a slice of soft tofu under a drizzle of sesame oil and soy sauce.

Anyhow, I chose lemon.  She poured oceans of lemon-scented oil on my back and went to work.  I’d had no idea what to expect from Korean massage, but it was nice.  She did amazing things to my hands.  At one point she picked up my legs by my big toes and shook them around.  It felt strangely good.  For a moment she had her thumbs in my ears to get a better grip on my head.  I could have done without the vigorous stomach rubbing, though.

I feel good, though.  Relaxed.  Ready to face the 13-hour flight home.

Bye, Korea.  I’ll be back someday.

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