Being generous, my skin can be described as scaly. It’s so rough and dry that one day a small, brave child looked me up and down exclaiming with simple confusion across her brow, “Your face looks young, but your hands look old.” Perhaps surprisingly, she went unharmed.
“This for soft skin.”
My masseur murmurs rudimentary English as she slathers Yoplait breakfast all over my body. I contemplate sneaking a taste, but remember my skin is also saturated with Deet. I’m in the tropics. More specifically, Bali. And I am here to undo the damage that has been so successfully done over the past thirty-three years. I have thirty days and $300 and I am determined to get way more than my money’s worth.
In the States, a $300 financial restriction might get me one or two quickie pats on the back and twenty days to relive the memories. But in Bali, a country where massage tables are as abundant as aggressive monkeys, you can’t walk ten steps without kicking the curb of a Sicilia Spa Mani Pedi low-cost beauty salon (at which point your chipped pedicure will immediately be redressed).
But still, why travel so far? Why not just buy a bottle of Jergen’s and call it a day? It breaks down like this: a stranger coating me with lotions? Indulgent. Doing it myself? Chore. I simply lack the motivation. The surface area seems too vast. There are hard to reach crevices. Certain things pucker as I rub. Plus, my arms get tired.
Lying on a table with my eyes closed and gentle pan-ethnic music tinkling through outdated speakers, I enjoy losing myself in my own thoughts and being asked to do nothing more strenuous than flip over on occasion (although to be honest, sometimes even that is too taxing).
So my quest? To be your personal relaxation stuntwoman. Here I am, bravely lying down and offering myself up as the one who indulges (and sometimes endures) thirty massages, cream baths, Lulur Scrub Bali, lulur scrubs, manis, pedis, buffs, plucks, pokes, and whatever else the Balinese can think up. All to show you, fellow Travel Betties, how to pamper yourself with a month’s worth of spa treatments for pocket change.
Oh, the things I won’t do for you!