This’ll be a short one.

CITIC building

That was a little odd. I’ve never been to a spa before. Not being a middle aged woman and all. I spent twenty four hours there with two friends for £16.80, which included a half hour massage, an ultra-comfy electric reclining armchair to sleep in (with bad Chinese TV in front of it). Also, all meals, some snacks, soft drinks, sauna, little swimming pool and mini cinema (also with reclining chairs).

If the theme of this blog is telling an anecdote and then drawing out some sage-like truths about modern China from in amongst my numerous dailly failures and humiliations, then I don’t see what the lesson is here. Did I say that in my previous post, too?

There’s some weird stuff to point out, though. Like, why does a spa not have windows? None. It’s in central Guangzhou above a metro station, and has no windows. It must say something about China, but I don’t know what. I can’t imagine a window-less sauna in the home counties. I genuinely felt a touch of claustrophobia for the first time. My catchphrase the following morning was spoken in pitifully quiet Chinese: “I want to see the sun.” What else? The décor was pretty flash. Lots of hardwood and cut stone. The food was dire. It was reminiscent of an all you can eat Chinese in Britain, except that it had intestines and ducks’ feet, and it was all even worse. Intentionally worse, so you wouldn’t eat too much.

In theory, £16.80 to have a meal, a massage, use the sauna, and then go to sleep in a super comfortable recliner is a bargain, but the world conspired against me. The back massage turned out not to want to be given to me, so I settled for a foot massage. The food was crap, and the tea and coffee were super sweetened (to keep people from drinking too much?) and I had someone else’s ignorant child-spawn keeping me awake at 2am. Who takes children to a spa? Parents who don’t want to do children’s things with their children. The sort of parents who let their children run around shouting at 2am? Bingo.

A spa where you can’t eat well, the drinks are unhealthily sweet, the massage forsakes you, you can’t sleep, there’s a cinema that only shows Iron Man 1 at 2pm, and THERE ARE NO WINDOWS, is not really a spa, so much as a place that weekends go to die. Maybe one of my future weekends will go back there to mourn it’s lost sibling, and leaf around in its bones with its tusks.

In short, I’ve found another thing that unites east and west: ‘all inclusive’ anything is terrible the world over. Don’t do it. People don’t like being photogtraphed in bathrobes, so these are some filler photos. Apologies for the weird colours. That’s the website, not me.

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