Thursday, 2 November 2017

Silk Road: The Massage Report

Just around the corner of the hotel on the left side is the massage place
On our Silk Road trip, we did quite a bit of walking everyday, and my mom and I (and some other tour members) were keen to take advantage of any massages we could get in the evenings.

We managed to get a few -- with some interesting stories in between.

In our first stop Lanzhou, we were unable to get one -- the place that other tour members had gone to, all their staff were busy by the time we arrived. The receptionist asked us to wait for 20 minutes or half an hour and since it was already late and we would have to wake up early the next day, we didn't want to wait another minute.

But then when we arrived in Wuwei, we discovered our hotel had a massage place on the third floor and my mom and I decided to check it out.

When we expressed interest in a massage, they took us down to the basement floor. The staff asked us if we wanted new slippers for 10 kuai or just clean ones for free. Excuse me? I had never heard of that before. We opted for the clean ones. They basically took our shoes hostage.

Then we had to decide on a 260 kuai massage for 80 minutes or 298 for 90 minutes. We pick the former and then we are led down to a changing room that has some lockers and the staff patiently wait outside while we change into some clothes they gave us.

After we're done, they take us back up to the third floor where we passed by a massive room filled with chairs (and smoke) and we entered a room for two people. There weren't any massage beds, but a raised platform for us to sit on.

We waited for a long time before two girls dressed in black short shorts and high heels come in. Obviously they are dressed for the opposite sex and were disappointed we're women.

While soaking our feet in very warm water, they massaged our heads, and then they moved onto the shoulders, neck and legs. She even used her feet to massage my inner thighs -- how creative.

One interesting move was me putting my feet on her knees and holding onto her hands and she was able to lift me up! Another was pulling me up from behind! Crazy.

At Jiayuguan, we spied some massage places near our hotel and checked one out after dinner. It was on the second floor of an old building that was quite dark, but since there were five of us we thought it would be OK. A Chinese woman followed us up because she was scared to go up on her own.

It turns out the place was run by a group of women and our first impression was seeing a half naked little boy running around. How professional.

They seated three of us in one room, two in another and the masseurs chatted among themselves while we stared at the TV.

At one point they started talking to us, asking us where we were from and even asking my mom's age. They were shocked to find out she was older than they thought because for them, someone who turns 60 is old.

The massage was done on a massage chair that could be flattened for us to lie on our stomachs, but it wasn't too comfortable. But for 108 kuai, what do you expect?

Our best massage was in a place in the same building as the Hilton Urumqi but around the corner, above or below a karaoke place. The massage place was very classy, the staff very polite and gave us the clean slippers for us to walk into a room big enough for five of us.

They gave us pink outfits to wear that looked like pyjamas and we could have slept there too it was quite comfortable. We were given tea and fruit, and our clothes stored in a Chinese cupboard while we sat in giant lounge chairs with mini duvets too.

Each of the young women had strong hands to give us really good massages working out our individual tight spots. They even gave us heated bean bags to put around our necks. Premium service. We were all in massage heaven.

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