Warmest of greetings from the middle of Southern India...
And I do mean warm! We have been cycling in temperatures of 32 to 34 degrees at close to 100% humidity. I didn't realize my body could produce that much sweat. And this is winter in India!
One of our group ordered ice-cream after seeing it advertised at a tiny village storefront. The shopkeeper looked at her incredulously and said, wobbling his head vigorously, "No selling now." He added "Winter...too velly cold for ice-cream!"
I guess everything is a matter of perspective.
Arriving at one of the hotels - hot and exhausted - my girlfriend and I were thrilled to learn there was spa connected to the facility. As soon as we got to our respective rooms, we booked appointments for a relaxing post-ride massage, the panacea for our tired muscles.
When the time came, we were quickly ushered into separate treatment rooms. I was told to disrobe. I did so reluctantly, as the air had a distinct chill to it, the result of an overly-ambitious air-conditioning system. Having cycled all day in steamy conditions, the drastic change in temperature was a shock to my overheated body.
Covered in goose bumps, I stood naked while the female therapist, who spoke not a word of English, tied a string around my waist. She then reached between my legs (gulp!) to attach to it a papery-cloth material. By the time she was finished, my spa attire resembled a primitive loin-cloth (or an ineffective diaper) - either of which was not an attractive look.
She pointed to a stool and grunted. I took that to mean I should sit down. I did, wondering how many bare bottoms had been there before me.
She then proceeded to pour rancid-smelling oil over my head. Next, came a vigorous scalp massage which culminated in a pounding with what felt like her knuckles. I couldn’t tell for sure because I had oil in my eyes.
Over-stimulated from the neck up, I was directed by charade-like gestures to lie on the table - a slab of marble covered with the same material as my loin-cloth. There was no place for my face and the stone top was icy. More oil was poured liberally over me at regular intervals while the therapist gave me a vigorous, slippery, full body rub - no inch of me was spared.
By the end of the treatment, I felt like a manhandled corpse, laid out in the freezer room of the morgue. I had to shampoo my poor, greasy hair four times to rid it of all the oil!
So there you have it...the scoop on Indian massages! Not quiet as restorative, therapeutic as I’d hoped, but an experience none the less.