Sunday, July 1, 2007

Korean Saunas = Relaxing and Amusing

Since I had so much back pain from my recent injuries, I decided to take a trip to the local Jjimjilbang or sauna (sah-oo-nah) to get in a hot bath with other random naked people. I had been to one in Korea Town in LA before, so I was a little familiar already with what to expect. This mainly meant that I knew I had to get naked with a lot of strangers. It was well worth it though. My back had taken such a beating that I needed to soak in some hot water for awhile.

As I was sitting in the hottest of the baths, minding my own business, a tall skinny Western girl walks in to take a shower. Everyone else in the sauna was Korean, and while being western isn't such a big deal, it is when that westerner is COVERED in body paint. Yeah, I'm not really sure what this girl was up to before coming to the old sauna to take a shower. Anyways, as you could imagine, the other women could not stop staring. Well me neither, but I was mainly observing everyone else's reactions.

The girl was hard at work at scrubbing when I decided to move into the sauna and take a seat. An ajumma (older Korean woman) joined me in the sauna and proceeded to talk to me about the girl in Korean. I couldn't really understand her, but she was laughing and pointing so I decided to glance through the glass doors to see what the fuss was about. Another ajumma was helping the girl scrub off some of the paint. How nice, I thought. She then did the honor of scrubbing the girls hard to reach places, namely her buttocks. The original ajumma continued to talk to me in Korean, who knows about what, until the second ajumma left the girl to scrub on her own and joined us in the sauna. Apparently the two were friends. I guess that's what you can expect if you show up to a public bath with mystery body paint all over you. I'm guessing this will be what the saunas will look like after Mudfest 2007.

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