I learned how to shower like a true Indian today.
How you ask? Because I had a woman bathe me!
It all started when we arrived at Palmy Lake Resort after our houseboat tour. Once we settled into our spacious bamboo bungalow, Marcy the owner asked us if we would be interested in a massage.
Dave and I love massages, but it seemed way too early in our trip to have a massage. We normally treat ourselves to one after we have been suffering for some time.
No Pressure in Southern India
We said no thanks and she gladly said no problem.
You see, here in the south of India, we haven’t met with any hard sales pitches. People ask if you want a taxi, you say no and they say O.K. Others ask if you want to buy some clothes, you say, no and they say O.K.
That was what the massage was like. “No problem, just letting you know that it is available.”
As we lay on the bed wondering what we were going to do with the rest of our day, the thought of a massage was sounding more appealing.
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Change of Heart
We didn’t feel like going to the beach, because we were just at a beach for a week. We didn’t want to take a canoe through the backwaters, because we just spent 24 hours on a houseboat.
It is very hot and humid and we are having a difficult time adapting to the heat. We feel drained every day. After walking only 1 km from the boat jetty to our guest house, we were sweaty and sticky and tired. Mid day was approaching and it was only going to get hotter, we were happy to lay on the bed under the fan and chill out.
Laying there listening to the birds chirping mixed with the horns blowing, we slowly cooled off and started to think that a massage would be a great idea. What better way to detoxify our bodies and maybe help us feel ready to tackle the rest of India? (or at least the next few days)
We signed up and made an appointment for later that afternoon.
We arrived at Sreekrishna Ayurvedic and Panchakarma Center after a 15 minute walk from Palmy Lake Resort.
A stoic man, told us to sit down where he continued to look at us and say nothing. We didn’t really know what to do, so we sat there and said nothing also.
After a couple of minutes, he got up and left. Then he came back and sat back down and started talking to one of his staff members. A little while later, he told us that they were cleaning the room and we would be right in.
That was a relief, we didn’t know if he was waiting for us to say something or not.
Dave and I were led into separate rooms. I had a female masseur and Dave had a male.
My masseuse barely spoke a word of English. She motioned me to strip and then sit on a stool. I didn’t know if I was supposed to strip naked or not, so I did. While I was sitting on the stool, I felt quite silly thinking that I should have left something on.
She poured oil into her hands and massaged my hair and scalp.
I instantly relaxed.
She worked on massaging my scalp and face and then worked down my back and shoulders. I didn’t realize that I had that much tension, but it has been awhile since I carried a pack, so my shoulders were definitely feeling it.
After she was finished with my upper body, I was motioned to lay on the table. ?In Canada, we would have a towel covering our bodies to make us feel more comfortable, not in India. You lay there in all your glory as they work away massaging the oil into your pours.
As Dave said during our walk back to our guest house, “That would be illegal in Canada” and then “I feel like I should have bought him a drink or something!” Yep, Dave is filled with the one liners.
The massage was heaven. She applied just right amount of pressure mixed with the perfect blend of soothing motions to relax my mind and body.
This went on for one hour.
After she completed her work, she tapped around the center of my bellybutton several times, folded my arms over my chest and covered me with a towel. She then told me to stay.
I couldn’t believe how relaxed and centred I was, I could never have lay on a vinyl table for 5 minutes without squirming had I not just received a relaxing treatment.
After she came back in, I thought that she would tell me that I was finished and send me to the shower to rinse off.
Instead she beckoned me into the bathroom, put shampoo in my hair and washed off the oil, with scoop after scoop of hot water.
It has only been a week, but I forgot how good hot water felt on the skin.
She gave me a bath from head to toe and cleaned me up good. Working so very hard. Scooping all of that water and scrubbing away the oils is a tough job.
As I said, she didn’t speak English, and I had no idea what was going, so I just went with the flow.
After walking home, we thought that we would go out for dinner, but after reading and catching up on a little writing, we felt the affects of the massage and an extreme feeling of fatigue came over us both.
We had the best nights sleep we had in weeks.
Sreekrishna Ayurveda Panchakarma Centre – Recommended in the Lonely Planet India.
Located in Alleppey
For two people, we paid 1100 Rupees ($25 Canadian) for a full one hour body massage.
Includes, coconut oils and Ayurveeda medicinal oils
Shower, shampoo, soap and hot water.
Furthermore: an unintentional lesson in how to bathe with a bucket and scoop
We tipped masseuse 50 rupees each – 100 Rupees = $2.30 CAD
I don’t know if we are supposed to be tipping. It is hard to find information on tipping guides and masseurs, etc., but old habits die hard. In Canada, tipping is widespread and we are conditioned to do so.
I also feel that the actual workers don’t see much of the money that we spend on activities such as this, so a 50 rupee tip will probably help to make the job worth their while.