Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Caribbean Solution

SPOILER ALERT: Johnny Depp did not – repeat, did NOT – show for my 90-minute Caribbean Therapy Body Treatment last night at Ginger Bay Salon & Spa in Kirkwood.

His loss. In his role as Jack Sparrow…excuse me, Captain Jack Sparrow, Depp would have livened up the place considerably.

On the other hand, no one goes to Ginger Bay to liven up. The Caribbean Therapy Body Treatment is “a rejuvenating and nourishing treatment” designed “to create inner calm and renew the body and senses.”

First, you inhale aromatic essences and pick the one you like best. Even congested from the moldy fall air, I knew I liked tangerine and vanilla best. Then you get exfoliated. Next a seaweed masque is applied to detoxify your skin. Next, your attendant wraps you up and massages your scalp and face.

“I’m using a lightly scented flour water that is especially refreshing,” said Meghan. Flour. Water. Wait, I thought, in my exfoliated, detoxified state of relaxation – flour and water make paste. This nice young woman is spraying ingredients in my hair and on my face that any second now will turn to Elmer’s glue? Flour water?

The light in my dim-bulb brain went on. FLOWER water – she said "flower water." Not "flour water." Oh good. Back to mellowing out.

Yes, folks, that’s how bad it gets when you let the stress of trying to sell a condo get to you.

On Labor Day, when I was really going nuts over all the waiting, I remembered I had a gift certificate to Ginger Bay, a hefty one, courtesy of the Five Favorite Female Friends. Most of us no longer want Stuff, so we exercise the Spa Option. Everyone pitches in cash and the birthday celebrant trots off to a spa of her choice. Because I get regular therapeutic massages, I usually opt for a deluxe facial with Leah at Ginger Bay.

Do I have new wrinkles? Oh yeah – but I decided a Special Treatment was in order, and that called for hydrotherapy. After your seaweed masque is rinsed off, you get to lie face down on a table in a big shower room. The attendant blasts your body with warm water from a hose while six or seven or eight (who can count at a time like that?) showerheads hanging just above the table are opened up as well.

The effect is of warm rain pummeling your body, as though you were caught napping in the grass some night (no bugs, just soft grass) and suddenly a cloud above you opened up. The water jets move up and down your spine and across your back, massaging all those cramped and crabby muscles.

“People either love it or hate it,” said Meghan. “Of course, usually if they think they are going to hate it, they don’t sign up for it.” I did not respond. I could not. Water is my natural element. I wanted to lie there with warm water cascading over me forever.

Even a gift certificate won’t buy forever, but the consolation prize is that after you become one with the table, water dripping all around, as if apologizing for stopping the steady flow, Meghan massages you. Then, rejuvenated and nourished and calmed to the point that you wish you had a chauffeur, you stagger out to the car and drive home.

And Johnny Depp -- channeling Cher as Captain Jack Sparrow -- missed it.

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