Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Massage

I had a massage at Herbaline Spa and Salon. It was wonderful. The building has nice clean lines outside, pretty simple. It has very nice landscaping. When a person arrives they walk up the stone steps to a wall. At the opening in the wall is a bridge across water. There are large fish in the water. I think Koi fish. One crosses that to get to the front doors. A person has to be buzzed in to enter. Inside it smells great. The receptionist was dressed in a plain white dress. Very simple and about knee length. She was also wearing white slippers. The counter was white, tables, chairs, and tiles. It smells wonderful in there, very soothing. The lady took my name and had me take a seat. Across from the seat and to the left of the counter, facing the counter, are two tables with little stools. That is where I sat to fill out simple paperwork, drank tea, and was given a hand towel to wipe my face and hands. After that I was shown through the tall narrow doors. I passed by a kitchen with a granite counter and some stools. Passed that there is a door that is straight ahead. Stairs that go up on the left, and also a path that goes right. I was lead to the right on flagstones over rocks. They use large white rocks. I passed by some glass windows, but didn't really look. I was concentrating on not falling off the flagstones. I was led into a room that has a two tiered wood section. With a little wood platform to sit on. I removed my shoes and was given paper slippers to wear.  My socks and shoes where placed in a basket and placed in a tall wooden cubby hole holder that divided the room in half. I started off with a foot bath. I turned around and there was a sink set in the floor in front of me with water in it. They have three of those platforms with sinks. Sea salt was added for sanitation.  There was a scrub brush and dipper in the bowl beside the sink for me to use for scrubbing my feet. I was there for 5 minutes. After that I put my slippers on and led outside to an enclosed section. There was a huge cube like structure that had a large wooden edge to sit on. I sat in it and swung my feet over the edge and into the water. At the center of the water was a fountain. This is the fish reflexology. All these tiny tiny fish come and attach themselves to one's feet and lower legs. They are getting rid of the dead skin on that part of the body. It feels very weird and ticklish at first, and I kept moving my legs and scaring the fish. I could watch them they move all over and their little mouths going as they suck the dead skin off and eat it.  It was a cross between being tickled and having lots of tiny electric shocks at the same time.  Eventually I got better and was able to hold still. That was done for ten minutes. After that I put the slippers back on and was escorted over to this pillar that had a covered bowl on top and was surrounded by white gauzy curtain material. It was drawn back and the lid was lifted off. I was told to remove my glasses and place my face over the bowl and close my eyes. It was hot and I pulled back and then placed my face over it again. I was told to breathe in and out 3 times. The lady put her hand on my back so she could feel me breathing. This was aroma therapy, then I was escorted to a massage room. Outside of it was the massage lady, and she clasped her hands and bowed to me. It was very large and had two beds. (Right now they are running a thing where if you bring a friend it is only 1/2 price for the friend.) It was not super bright in there but not dark either. Natural light was coming in through the door to the dressing room. Up above is a huge white gauzy covering. Towards the back of the room and on the right was a doorway with a like a bead curtain only it was just long white strings.  I was taken through that and to the right. There was a huge dressing room with toilet, and shower behind. There was also a smaller enclosed space that looked like it might be a sauna. I was given directions that after the lady left I was to remove my clothes, put a shower cap off, enter the shower and rinse off. When I came out I was to put on these white underwear and kimono, then go back out to the other room and ring the bell. The lady doing my massage would then enter. I was told to enjoy my massage. It would be 1.5 hours. So she left, and I showered and put the kimono on. The underwear were a little harder. They were very small. All of the ladies I saw were Chinese, very slender and petite. I put them on anyway but they just barely covered me. I was embarrassed, but I think even if I lost weight they would still be small on me. I went back out and rang the bell. The lady came in and unrolled the blanket, and gave me a white soft shower cap to put on. She was dressed in simple white pants and button up shirt. Then she told me to untie the kimono and lay face down. She placed the blanket over me and helped me take the kimono off. She went around to my head and told me to breathe in. She kind of made a motion on my shoulders like I needed to lift up, and I could not quite understand her, so I lifted  my head up. Then laid back down she said it again, and so I lifted my head up, and she pushed me back down. Then I understood what she was wanting me to do. After that my massage started. It was very good. She had strong hands. My spine cracked all the way down my back. After she was done with my back she held up the blanket so she couldn't see and had me turn over. Then she did my front side. She did my neck and as she was doing my neck my cap came off. I thought uh oh, but then she actually took it off to massage my head. I figured the cap must be used to keep the hair out of the way when she is working on my back and neck when I am face down. When I was face up she placed a little thing over my eyes. I did get a peak after I had flipped over, and I saw she was wearing a mask over her nose and mouth, probably so she wasn't breathing on me. As she was massaging me after she finished with like a leg or arm she would use it to kind of wipe the oil off that area. When it was over she left me for a few minutes. Then she came back lifted the blanket as I sat up and tied it around me so I was still covered. She brought back a hot wash towel and wiped down my back, arms, and legs.  She also brought in this spa soup. It was like a hot drink with all sort of like cinnamon, etc. in it. It was very good and very hot. She told me to drink it slowly then go and get dressed, and she would wait outside. She told me not to show for one hour.  I got dressed and came out. We found my socks and shoes. She took me back to the aroma therapy and had me do a different one. Then we walked back to the kitchen. I sat down and had a cup of tea, while another lady answered some questions about hours, facials, and such. I was asked some questions like where are you from, do you have children. Then she told me I should bring a friend next time because of the deal they are doing.  After that I paid her, and she walked me out. It smelled good inside and was very soothing. I am used to talking to the person who gives me the massage, so that was different, but there was soothing music, and I really relaxed. She asked me a couple time if I was ok. I said yes. She also asked me if I was cold, and I said no. It was very cool in there but it felt good.
This is the website.  I got way more for my money than if I had gone to a spa for all of this in the US. I was very happy and will go back. My neck feels better. My ankles have been tender and I don't know why but they feel better too. My back was tender when I went to bed last night and actually couldn't lay on my back to start, but I think with all the flying and carrying of things and all the packing I did before I left I think my back and neck were really tight, and she really worked hard to get the knots out. She also didn't do my face which my massage therapist back home always did, but maybe since they do facials there that is why they don't.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Servants part 2

Hm. Interesting, very interesting. Well, my landlord is gone for the week to the capital KL (Kuala Lumpur). I thought he was just gone for yesterday, but I guess the whole week. Tonight I went down for dinner at my normal time between 8:00-8:30 p.m. I am not sure of all of the details but it seems there is a guy that stays here sometimes. The first week I moved in there was another guy that was here, but he hasn't been around lately. I think guy that I have seen in the last few days is here more regularly. Anyway in my last post I talked about how my landlord has it in the lease about not talking to the servants. Well, tonight when I was down for dinner they guy came in. He commented that I was eating dinner late. I just shrugged. He went upstairs for a few minutes and left his door open. (His room is at the top of the stairs to the right, while mine is on the left and the front corner.) After a few minutes he turned off his light and came back down. I wondered if he was going to come talk to me. He talked with the servant whose name I don't know. She then went back into their room and talk to the other servant. She came back out and was talking softly to him. I think because the grandma was awake. She disappeared into the back room because the grandma was calling. The other servant came out and was dressed in jogging capris and t-shirt. The guy had gone out on the door. She went out the door behind him. I thought he had driven his car up into the driveway. I heard the sound of the gate being opened and then vehicle doors, but I never heard the vehicle pull out or see the headlights come on. I was thinking I wonder if they have something going on, or is he just taking her out for a good time as friends, or are they having sex out their in the vehicle? My shoes were outside because I forgot to bring them in earlier. I went out to get them and the vehicle was gone.  They say that servants run away. I wonder if they are an item, and she will eventually run away. Although, if he stays here sometimes he may not have a house that he owns ( maybe he stays more often but I haven't been around enough to know).  I wonder if they sneak around when the landlord is home or if only when he is away. Hm. I will definitely have to keep eating dinner late so I can see what else I can learn. Too bad I don't understand Chinese.  I can now see why it could be a problem to have someone speak to the servants if they speak Chinese.

I won't say anything because I don't speak Chinese, and I don't know all of the circumstances or what is exactly going on. Plus, I think it might get me into trouble if I made accusations, and she or he respond to my landlord in Chinese, I would have no idea what they would be saying. Plus, I don't know that it is my place to. Servants usually don't get away from the home unless they walk somewhere and don't really get time off. He might just be showing them (maybe he rotates) a nice time out of the house doing something fun. Who knows. I will be interested to see how this develops.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Servants, Maids, Domestics. They go by several different titles. Many people have them around here. They clean houses, do laundry, cook, take care of the eldery, take care of babies, etc. I have heard that they get bored and will run away. Some say that there is abuse that goes on, sometimes abuse towards the servant and sometimes abuse by the servant. There are two servants that work at the place I live. They are both Chinese women. They only know hello, good morning, and ok. I was told when I signed my contract that I was not allowed to speak to them, because in the past renters have told them how to clean the rooms differently than they were told by the owner, and to try and cause a rebellion against the owner. Despite that they say hi to me or good morning, and I respond in return. The other day the owner was home, and I was not greeted by either servant nor did I greet them. Once the owner left they we gave our normal greeting. I have always know that the owner had nothing to worry about, but I didn't feel I should try to convince him of that. I think that he knows it now on his own. The other day I needed help with a problem and thought the owner was gone, so I went to tell the servant who's name I know. Well, she rushed upstairs and knocked on his door shouting. He was home but in the shower. There is a little slot in the window one can open to look out before opening the door. Well, he opened that and said he was in the washroom but would be out in 5 minutes. When he came out I told him the problem which he translated to the servant and got fixed. He told me later that he was going to be gone on Sunday and if there were any more problems to tell the servants to call his brother, who lives in town, and he would take care of the problem. He says we seem to have a communication problem.  I have figured that out (plus the fact that I would never try to overthrow him), so I am glad he has figured it out too.  They seem like nice ladies, and they take care of everything that the Mom (90's) needs.  They work hard. He has them clean the house everyday. I would think that it would get boring and how they might want to run away and do something else. They seem pretty happy though.
I don't know if they know my name, but I think if they give me a nickname to call me it would be jumpy. When I get lost in thought it is easy to startle me. A week ago a couple ladies were visiting the Mom (I refer to her as the grandma for future reference since she is closer to a grandma's age than my mom's age.) I was standing outside the front door putting on my shoes, and I was bent over. One of the old ladies walked up to the other side of the gate on the front door and spoke to me. I jumped because I was thinking about something and didn't hear her walk up. Tonight I was in the kitchen refilling my water bottle and turned to leave, and there is a short hallway into the eating area. Well, one of the servants was coming the other direction, and she startled me because I didn't hear her.  I jumped and was like ahh, so then we both started laughing. It was pretty funny. When she came back later she started humming when she got to the hallway.  I am sure there will be many more times that I get started while I live here. When people enter a house they take off their shoes. I wear either socks or my shower shoes around the house so they can hear me, but they both go barefoot and can walk very quietly.