Spa treatments are as coveted as brandname handbags, shoes, and designer wear. Miki, my spa-fanatic friend, informed me of yet another new experience.
I said to her, all her experiences at spas were the same, they all reeked of exotic fruits, vegetables, milk and marine products.
‘This one’s different!’ she exclaimed over the phone. Previously, Miki had mentioned a bitter-melon rub, the chilli lemon peel massage, and her favourite: the caviar facial.
‘Tell me about it,’ I said tapping away on the keyboard, and chatting with her at the same time.
Miki has tried and tested many potions and her experience is worth its value in eye gel. She does the spas; I write about them. We have our compatible moments. And we catch up for drinks; usually after one of her treatments, Miki breezes in looking like a fresh summer day, orders a mojito, and offers princess-like smiles at the admiring glances. I stare at her smooth satiny skin, and think about my homemade yoghurt honey mask.
Miki continues excitedly: ‘This is the most amazing treatment yet. Are you sitting down?’
‘Yes, Miki. I’m sitting.’
‘The spa provides a chocolate while you have a massage?’ I ask.
‘Yes, and no. It’s a double choc pedicure, where guests get a hot chocolate soak, a sugar scrub for the feet and chocolate mask for the hands. Isn’t that great? I’m going to try it out today.’
‘Ha, ha that’s a good one! The spa ran out of fruit and vegetables and looked in the fridge and thought, “hey, let’s use chocolate?”’
Next thing you know insects follow you like bees to honey. See, that’s why spas are not really my kind of thing. And what’s with the fancy French names, anyway? Why can’t they call a spa – a spa? Why do they have to call it La Maison de Thermes de Monte-Carlo de whatever?
‘You’re such a cynic. You wait and see, by the end of next Wednesday, I’ll make a believer out of you, if that’s the last thing I do.’ And she hung up with a determined humph. I recalled that I had agreed to go for a spa treatment with her.
I didn’t care to admit to Miki, that she had a point to all this spa stuff. After a certain age, and despite adequate doses of calcium and various vitamins that spell the alphabet, combined with a cocktail of herbal roots and the kind, time is a race that soon catches up.
Spa treatments have become a lifestyle choice, a form of detox. Spas provide some inner calm too. Many times, I have noticed that Miki looks like she has found bliss, I’ve seen this halo of white glowing around her body. And then she tells me about the intense electrocellulolipolysis, a treatment that is difficult enough to spell, let alone pronounce, and how it is ideal, it removes all the toxins from her body.
Wednesday arrived and I reluctantly made my contribution to the spa industry. Miki was excited about us doing this together. We arrived at the Amore Bellagio De Beaute Spa, located on the top floors of one of the office buildings. As soon as we stepped off the lifts, onto plush carpet, there was a cocooned effect, the sounds of city life had disappeared. Miki gave me knowing glances, and looked comfortable, whereas I felt awkward and gawky in my sneakers.
The consultant, Ms Flawless Skin with a friendly attitude, offered us a menu, and recommended the red carpet facial. She gave me a perfect Christian Dior smile. Miki patted my arm as a warning, aware that I had a tendency to respond sarcastically.
‘What about the green carpet facial? Don’t you have something like that, you know supports the cause, global warming?’ I asked her. Miki smacked my wrist.
The consultant flicked her attention back to Miki. ‘Madame there is another very special treatment, developed in Russia by Galino’s grandmother,’ the woman stopped for effect, and I saw Miki’s eyes go wide.
‘What? Who is Galino? And what did her grandmother do?’ I demand loudly.
‘Shush,’ Miki said and nodded at the consultant, who gave me a triumphant look. ‘It’s one of the most sought-after treatments, the Grand Luxe Facial, takes three hours to complete and includes a silver dust salve and diamond peel microdermabrasion.’
‘Sounds like something you’d do to decorate an apartment,’ I remarked.
They both glared at me. So, I sat quietly and waited for them to decide on the red carpet star treatment.
‘Please follow me. I have arranged a special suite for the two of you,’ the lady offered, smiling at Miki only. She led us through a maze of corridors, the walls were lined with mini-chandeliers and suede European wallpaper and lots of ornately framed mirrors. She opening a door with a flourish, and presented the area with pride, as if she had personally created the ambience. I sucked in my breath, and what a beautiful room it was. Fit for a princess.
We were wrapped in green silk robes, enjoyed a tea ceremony, a green tea back scrub, heated basalt stones and green tea massage oil and clay mask treatments. After that there was no looking back. I was hooked.
Six hours later, I met Miki in the lobby.
‘You look gorgeous,’ she said. Miki looked like a goddess herself. ‘So how was it?’ She asked breathlessly.
‘I feel like a whole new person. Thank you…You are my spa guru.’ I said with sincerity.
She gave me a heavenly smile and a warm hug. And just like that, I’m a new convert to the cause: from Spa – ha ha! To Spa – ya, hurrah!