Posted by: bodking | August 24, 2010

A Pound of Sweat

SO sometimes I feel like I need some alone time – I don’t want to stare at the four walls of my apartment but I don’t want to go anywhere or buy something.
Korea has just the place for me – the bathhouse, aka the  jimjilbang.   Jimjilbangs are pretty ubiquitous in Korea.  I pass by two on my fifteen minute walk to work.
The basic system works like this:  You enter the bathhouse, you get a numbered bracelet and a t-shirt and shorts.  Then the men go through one door and the women go through the other.  You get naked and you go in to a room with several hot tubs, saunas, showers, and places to brush your teeth and shave.
Then you put on your uniform (which never really fits me) and you go to the jimjil area which has even more saunas, an oxygen room, massage chairs, a computer game room, a sleeping room and a gym.
A lot of people read in the jimjilbang.  I’ve taken it to read too.  I usually can read for about twenty minutes before my fingers start getting too sweaty to turn the pages without making the paper soaking wet.  Reading is very relaxing when you’re in the sauna.
In the end you go to the separated sex area again and sit in the hot tubs for more and shower in the end.  After that you can get your hair cut in the locker room, there is a barber.  In the end you pay for everything.  For me, after some bottles of water, it usually comes to 9000 won or about 7 dollars US.

I can’t think of anything that makes me feel so good for $7 besides maybe a Jameson on the rocks at a great bar with my besties.

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