Friday, December 14, 2012

Good bye Korea - hello Malaysia!

Day 11 - Sunday Sept 23.

We spent a quiet morning just lazing around the hotel room and went for a walk along the beach.

This is our view from the hotel room. You can see the beach in there amongst the high rises.

After lunch, Simon and I went to Spaland, which is in the largest department store in the northern hemisphere.

This spa was a little different to the ones back home. At the entrance you were given a locker to put your outside shoes in and then you paid (only $25AUS) and went up an escalator where you went into separate areas, one for males and one for females.

The reason...  you had to go buck naked.

You were given a small towel and a pair of comfy cotton 3/4 pants and a long top to put on afterward but while you were in the spa area, there were no bathers in sight. Apparently this is the norm over here!!

There were a number of springs, some sodium chloride and some sodium bicarbonate, all at different temperatures and even an outdoor one. As I got changed into my buck naked attire, I was thinking, 'what the heck am I doing'. Even if I looked like Miranda Kerr, I still would have thought, 'what the heck am I doing'.

When I walked out into the spa area, I felt self- conscious for the first five minutes and in particular because I was the only westerner in the room and I looked so different, but then after I realized that no one was looking at me and laughing, I was kinda ok, not fully, but a little ok.

I studied my nails a bit and didn't know where to look sometimes and I wanted to wear a label on my forehead saying I have five kids and eat processed foods, just so it would somewhat excuse my appearance.

You had to have a shower first and make sure you were squeaky clean. The showers were in little cubicles but the sides only came up to shoulder height and there were of course no doors and you could sit on little stools in the cubicles as well to have your shower. The showers faced right onto the spas so there was no privacy there either.

It looked like a ritual for some of these women, cleaning their teeth, washing their hair and chatting away to each other. I didn't realise you had to shower first. I know that makes sense but nothing was in English and I wasn't sure of the process. Geez, give me a break, I was walking around naked for goodness sakes. :) So just as I was about to hop in one of the spas and sink gratefully under water, someone tapped me on the shoulder and politely told me off in Korean and pointed to the showers. Of course it then made sense because everything was really clean and hygienic there and there were women (dressed) everywhere cleaning and mopping all the time.

I stayed for 40 minutes and can't quite say I relaxed and enjoyed myself completely, I wasn't as terrified at the end like I was at the beginning. Kind of how you feel going on a theme park ride. Just that feeling at the end of, 'woohoo I did it!' I had noticed during our time in Korea that almost everyone I saw was slim, both male and female, and had beautiful skin and no one wore braces or had acne. I don't know how much of it is genetic or the healthy food they seem to eat but everyone over here is gorgeous and they all dress very well and their appearance seems important but not in a snobby "on myself" kind of way. Going to the spa, made me aware that they don't have any cellulite either! The way they all seem to carry themselves, reminded me of the elves off Lord of the Rings. :)

Once I was dressed in the pants and top and walking out to the communal area to meet up with Simon, I felt so much better and could actually relax. We did some sauna/ stream rooms and sat in some massage chairs.The place even had entertainment rooms set up like gold class cinema with each chair having its own tv. People were lounging on day beds or just sleeping or having something to eat. It was obviously something they all liked to do alot. I can't say it's something I would like to do more than once. :)

Day 12 - Monday Sept 24.

We left the hotel at 9 am and travelled one hour to the Busan station and caught the 10.30 bullet train back to Seoul Station.

At Seoul Station you can catch an express airport train straight to Incheon Airport, which makes everything so much more efficient and easy.

We caught the 2pm airport train, arriving at the airport at 3pm. It was sad to look out the window and say goodbye. I knew we were going to miss the sights, sounds and smells that goes along with such a hugely populated city, just not the naked spas. They can keep that part of their culture!

We were even going to miss those big grey high rises.

We checked in at 3.30pm and sailed through immigration and security. It was hard to believe that we had spent 12 days here already. It had just gone so fast.

We caught the 5.30pm plane to KL, arriving at midnight, 6 and a half hours later. By now I think Flynn was cruising along like a frequent flyer.

We stayed at the Tune Hotel which is at the airport, in very small rooms but by the time we got our bags and cleared security and immigration it was nearly 1am and so we didn't care as long as there was a bed. (a few bed bugs as well for company but even that didn't matter... to the kids anyway).


Anonymous said...

I must say I ha a good laugh about you being butt naked.
You are a brave woman!!!!
Love Lorraine.

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