I feel very clean. Very very clean.
Christian and I visited the bath house for the second time yesterday and I do believe that my father was right; all that soaking in warm water helped us sleep well and transition out of jetlag (that, and the fact that it is now my 4th day here).
A Korean bath house is such a cultural peephole, but one I think is not experienced as often as it should because you do really need to get naked to hang with the locals.
But there is no reason to be self-conscious, because NOBODY ELSE IS. There are elderly bent women with sagging wrinkles slowly making their way across the tile; and mothers with full breasts and bellies with babe in arms; and chopstick-thin teenagers – everybody is just there naked and in the business of getting themselves clean.
It is downright fascinating to see so many naked females at once. It’s been a while, and I think it’s healthy for both me and Christian to see something besides crowds of scantily-clad hipsters at a SoCal beach.
Some things I’ve noticed, women here
do not have tan lines – they avoid the sun altogether (to preserve their skin)
do not have piercings or tattoos (THAT makes me self-conscious)
do not wax either – everybody is au natural
are rarely overweight
have friggin’ amazing skin all over their bodies.
This would seem to make for a narrow range of uniform bodies, but there is SO MUCH DIVERSITY – it’s wild, like people watching from a sidewalk cafe, but even more interesting.
Tell you what though, my body holds up just fine in comparison. No wonder Chad doesn’t mind my sunspots ; )
I emphasize clean to emphasize the matter-of-fact, down-to-earth feeling that permeates every bath house I’ve ever been to (only 4 – but in three different countries) In Korea, bath houses or mogyuktang abound.
P.S. I posted about a bath house in LA on June 7, 2008; the post is titled Squeaky McClean – I’ll post a link when I figure out what all the Korean says when I right-click on my dad’s computer.
P.P.S. Sorry, no pics for this post either.