Enjoying the Spa Life in Shanghai

Some might call us pampered after reading this story but, hey, life can be rough here in China so we have embraced the spa culture here with open arms…and backs and feet and hands and… well,you get the idea, right?  Sure, we get our cookies and groceries delivered to our door but only because the toxic air outside makes it less appealing to walk to the stores and restaurants.  Of course we have an Ayi but all Expat’s do and it’s our way to help the local economy by employing Pink, who takes sure good care of us.  I wonder if she’ll consider a move to Boise eventually.  I think if we had a car/driver like most expats do, we would be stupid spoiled.  However, we do keep it real daily by taking the subway and walking the streets like locals, which means we are nimble and can dodge the spitballs and pools of bodily fluid with the best of them.  Thus, the need to be pampered thoroughly and often by Dragonfly Massage, our chosen oasis of serenity and happiness….ahhhh….

2 for 88rmb cocktails plus free pizza & munchies at Isola and the view is priceless
2 for 88rmb cocktails plus free pizza & munchies at Isola and the view is priceless

When offered the Dragonfly Spring Special to receive an additional 1000RMB in gift certificates if we renewed our 5000RMB VIP membership, we were all over it.  WHY, YES PLEASE!  When we opted for the VIP Package with Dragonfly in late fall, we thought it would last a really long time—surely a year.  How many massages does a couple need, really? Turns out the answer to that question is LOTS!  As our massage date nights have become more frequent,  one might say addictive, the VIP card balance was declining rapidly so we both deemed it necessary and prudent to allocate serious funds to continue our habit.  We’ll just eat less.  Sure.  That’s it.

Happy Hour at Isola at the IFC Mall in Pudong
Happy Hour at Isola at the IFC Mall in Pudong with view of the Pearl Tower

Friday night rolled around and so we set off to enjoy Happy Hour and then on to a night of Mani/Pedi’s.  When Morton’s was too busy and couldn’t fit us in, we went next door to Isola and enjoyed the floor to ceiling view of the Pearl Tower and excellent service.  After toasting the good life in Shanghai and quaffing down a few martini’s and pizza (just 88RMB for 2 drinks/free food–saving $$ for massages), we descended into the subterranean lower levels of the swanky IFC Mall in Pudong to Dragonfly.

Thom being a mani/pedi virgin, his feet and hands needed some serious attention.  His cuticles were crying for attention, well more like screaming in madness, and his lucky salonist had the honor of clipping and chopping enough of Thom’s DNA off to create a Thom MiniMe.  Looking like shaved parmesian curls only far less appetizing, the dead skin peeled off Thom’s foot in panels and covered the floor.  Get these ladies a Roomba!

Thom feeling pampered
Thom feeling pampered

As I snapped photos and Thom joked around, his salonist laughed and thought Thom was hilarious, which of course he is. Thom, ambivalent about the whole mani/pedi process before trying it, is now a huge fan and considering a return visit soon.  It is addictive to have those clean cuticles!

Leaving Dragonfly a shoe size smaller and light on our feet, we walked home and rested up for a second round of spa treatments on Saturday morning.

Facial Time!
Facial Time!

Using our free spa packages that we won at the Irish Ball, we arrived at the Jungle Spa bright and early Saturday morning (that’s 10 a.m. in China–no one moves early here)  for our facials and massages.  While we had lotions and potions applied to our skin and she launched an attack on my nose with a sharp instrument, our feet basked in a foot sauna machine with rolling balls of wonderful torture.  Spoiled?  I reflected on that as she rubbed my head.  Okay, maybe.  We were both new to facials and decided that we might have to add this to our rotation of spa treatments.  With skin as soft as a baby bottom and looking 10 years younger at least (perhaps there was some aroma therapy going on too that made us hallucinate) we headed off to pamper the rest of our bodies with a 70 minute hot oil stone full body massage.

In a room for two, we put on the teeny tiny undergarments provided (let’s hope they only use once and throw away) and laid face down on the table.  These lovely little ladies proceeded to thump..HARD…knead and dig into our muscles with such gusto that at one point as she bent my elbow back to press into my own flesh, I cried out “NO” and stopped it cold before a bone snapped.  Damn, those hot stones (not pebbles but big ass rocks) were being rubbed into my spine as the hot oil just dripped off, running down my face onto the floor.  I have never had a massage that touched almost every part of my body with a few square inches of exception.  I wonder what she thought of my Chinese “Happiness” tatoo that only Thom had seen up to now.  Bet they chatted about that after we left-those crazy Laowai’s that we are!

Thom's massage outfit was a bit larger than mine!
Thom’s massage outfit was a bit larger than mine!
Massage outfit-yep, that's it!
My massage outfit-yep, that’s it!

Dripping oil, we showered off and compared notes on what got rubbed and how it felt.  Thom was glad I was in the room with him so there were no “happy endings” though this was a nice legit place so I’m sure THAT never happens there.  Thom said he could hear my back bones cracking and wondered if I would survive to walk another day.  Now, he didn’t stop to ask during the massage if I was okay because he was enjoying his so much but nice to know he thought about me.  Surprisingly, though it did hurt ALOT during the massage, I was still able to get up off the table and take a walk afterward with no ill effects. HALLELUJAH!  We look forward to taking our friends, Larry and Patti, here when they visit us.  Patti may never go back to Indiana after a full day spa treatment in Shanghai.

Now, as the rain beats down hard, I am happy that I am wrapped in a soft, warm blanket at home, smooth skin and all, getting ready for a House of Cards marathon with my best friend..after nap time, of course.  What an exhausting day!



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