Your Faithful Correspondent,
Our fellow vacationer raved about the oceanfront massages.
"The sound of the waves. The salty breeze blowing over you. Oh, my God. I didn't ever want to get up," she said.
We didn't need a hard sell since my wife and I usual figure spa services into our trip itinerary. Besides, this was an all-inclusive resort. I couldn't imagine any massage experience so awful that it couldn't be overcome with the help of a few of the prepaid rum concoctions served at the poolside bar.
Before signing up, though, I should have remembered the one other time we received a glowing recommendation for a vacation spa service. That occurred in the northern California wine country and it left me with these two pieces of wisdom:
- "Mud bath" is code for "steeping in a steaming pile of peat moss."
- Complete removal of said peat moss from every nook and cranny of your being will require the following: power washer, stiff-bristle brush, rubber gloves, Easy Slide dental floss and half a case of cellar-chilled pinot noir.
Now, before you mentally have me twirling on a brass pole, know that I was sans boxer briefs because I arrived fresh from the beach in swim trunks. This wearing underwear for a massage, I deduced, must be some sort of local health-code requirement even if didn't make much sense given the resort's one open-air dining hall featured tropical birds, stuffed with pilfered croissants and fresh-cut mangos, that regularly performed bombing runs upon unsuspecting guests. (I have a stained T-shirt to prove it.)
But, as I said, this place was all-inclusive. When I opened my locker, I found a tiny plastic pouch about the size of the travel-size Kleenex package grandma's always have in their purses. I popped it open and ta-da -- my first disposable paper thong:
(OK, OK -- get me off the pole again. Let's get back to the story.)
I padded out to the waiting area and, mindful of the delicate-looking Asian woman across from me, crossed my legs with care. In a couple of minutes, in walked my masseuse who quickly directed me toward the beachfront massage tents.
Which brings me to Issue No. 2: I quickly learned my masseuse, Ramona, spoke virtually no English.
When she asked, in a tone closer to begging, if I spoke any Spanish, I dutifully did my best.
"Si," I answered. "Una mas cerveza, por favor, bonita seniorita."
My request that she bring me one more beer got a laugh followed by a lesson from her in how to say the same thing, in of all languages, Italian. Further proof that alcohol -- not love -- is truly the universal language.
We arrived in the tent and I deduced by her hand motions that she wanted me to take off my robe and lay under a towel on the table. She stepped through the opening in one of the fabric walls so I could do this in private, which was polite and all, except for Issue No. 3.
The tent completely lacked one wall.
The wall that happened to face the ocean.
And the beach.
And the two dozen adults and children on that beach -- all of whom were so inclined as to look up in unison at my tent just in time to see my southern exposure.
Did I mention that the paper banana hammock I was dressed in was literally thin enough to read baseball box scores through?
Another two singles for Ichirio Suzuki. The man's a hitting machine!
I dived under my towel, buried myself face down, closed my eyes and hyperventilated while awaiting Ramona's return. When she did, she proceeded to pull my towel down just far enough so I could enjoy the warm Atlantic winds blowing through the palms trees and across the hills of my now fully displayed butt checks.
Rather than painfully detailing the next 50 minutes, I'll sum it up thusly: Shortly afterward, I developed a deep, meaningful relationship with the resort's lemon daiquiris.