Chinese massage

When I travel I often have a massage because weekends are usually full of computer work and a massage is just what the body needs. And so I asked around at ICRC and a young Spanish-Chinese woman gave me the name of a Chinese masseuse/hairdresser who she frequents on weekends. I promised not to take her slot and made an appointment for Sunday morning. Here addresses don’t really exist – to find a place people use reference points such as hotels, or military barracks or large signs.  I was directed to look for a Chinese sign near a well-known supermarket named ‘La Fourmi’ (the ant).

I now consider I have a driver, Suleiman, who drives a taxi that is not held together with wire and tape. Despite his dirty carburetor he gets me places I want to go, including the search for a bathing suit. We easily found the place, next to the Chinese embassy and in a complex called ‘Cite Chinoise,’  which housed a supermarket that clearly caters to the many Chinese who live here. Next door was a small hair salon with two massage tables in the back. If it wasn’t for the recommendation I would not have entered as it looked all very sketchy. But then I was reminded of my masseuse in Kabul who had a set up that would have intimidated everyone: her bedroom in back of a kitchen in back of an office that sold large equipment such as bulldozers and military vehicles.  And so, I reasoned, why not try the Chinese lady.

I ended up getting a dry massage from a younger woman who, according to the one I had been recommended, was just as good, ‘also Chinese,’ as if that was as much as a recommendation one needed. I was given a satiny pajama top and bottom and laid down for what I thought was going to be a relaxing massage. Little did I know about dry Chinese massage: for a while the word ‘ferocious’ came to mind, as if my masseuse was both angry and impatience. Then I thought of ‘wild’ as she banged my muscles into submission. Now, over an hour later, I am still stunned and ready for a long nap.  I feel as if I have been engaged in serious exercise for a long time. But on my app that I use to ensure I exercise more, massage is not included in the categories. Maybe it should include Chinese Massage to count as a workout.

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