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Published: August 16th 2013
Today was our 36th anniversary and it was a day to remember. Wayne surprised me with a card and a dozen red roses.
It began to rain last night and continued to rain all day. We had our devotion together then Georganne and I had quite the experience! We had an 'old time' bath/massage experience like they had a hundred years ago! The only place you can get this experience is at the Buckstaff Bathhouse. They patterned their experience after European bathhouses in the early 1900s. (I have had bath/massage experiences in Japan, Thailand and Turkey so was eager to have this 1900s experience to compare to the others.) They don't take reservations, you just walk in. We arrived at 9:30 but were the first customers because of the rain even though they open at 8:00. It was like it was our private bathhouse! LOL The traditional bath experience plus 20-minute Swedish massage costs $64 and we were there for nearly 2 hours. (Don't wear any makeup because none will remain when finished!) We were escorted into the changing rooms where we had individual booths with lockers. We were instructed to remove all clothing and put it in the lockers. We could keep our flip-flops on. The attendant instructed us to turn our backs, she then opened the curtain and wrapped us in sheets. We then sat in chairs to await our summons! Georganne was summoned by Sue. She introduced herself and escorted her away while chatting amicably. I waited awhile and was finally summoned by Julie. She did not introduce herself (I later noticed her name on her blouse) and just walked away. I assumed I was to follow! I was escorted to my own private claw-foot bathtub full of hot mineral water and instructed to get it. It was hot. The advertisement says the baths are 100 degrees but it felt hotter than that. They have a really old whirlpool pump in the tubs but it does a good job. I was in the tub for 20 minutes. Julie brought me a very small cup of ice water midway through. When I got out I noticed that Georganne was in a Sitz Bath. I was instructed to sit on a table/bed. (Actually I was motioned toward the table, Julie said very little she just pointed or motioned.) I was a little light-headed & mentioned it so Julie 'motioned' me to lay down. Someone brought a cool towel and wrapped it around my face. After about 5 minutes I felt better but continued to lay there waiting to be taken to the next station. I noticed that Georganne was done with her Sitz Bath and was on a bed being wrapped with hot towels. Helloooo, did you forgot I was here? After 15 minutes I finally just sat up. Julie came over and asked if I was ready for the hot towels. I said, "Whatever is next." A hot towel was laid across my shoulders, and one across my lower back and was told to lay back down. A hot towel was then laid across my torso and each leg was wrapped in a towel. I laid there for about 20 minutes with the hot towels on. I was then taken to the Vapor Bath. It's a booth where you sit down, a half door is shut and then metal sheets are lowered around your shoulders. A sheet is wrapped around your neck so only your head sticks out. You are then in a hot steam bath. I noticed one lady was in the vapor bath with the upper door shut but they left mine open. Unfortunately, I faint easily. I have fainted a lot so I know when I am about to do so. I began to feel light-headed and began to call for Julie. I called several times and finally yelled! She came over and opened the doors and I did pass out. I didn't fall, just slumped over. Ugh! So disgusting! I wanted the full experience! (Julie was quite attentive after that.) I was laid on the bed again and covered with cool towels. I was also given ice water and a Coke. (I was the only one given a Coke so SOME good came out of fainting. LOL) The Asst. Manager came over and asked how I was doing. She said I shouldn't do the hot towels. I told her I had already done so. (Whew! Did I mention I wanted the full experience?) She didn't want me to do the Sitz Bath. I told her I'd be fine, faint all the time, no big deal. (Did I mention I wanted the FULL experience?) Ugh! She finally agreed to let me do it but said I had to lay there for 15 minutes and could only do the Sitz Bath for 5 minutes (normally 10). By now Georganne is long gone. She had gotten out of the Sitz Bath early and opted out of the Vapor Bath. (But I wanted the FULL experience!) I finally got into the Sitz Bath. What is a Sitz Bath, you have been asking yourself? It's a bath you Sit in! Hot water (of course) & you just lower your back side into it. It's supposed to be good for your lower back, hemorrhoids, prostate problems & years ago women who had just given birth were put in them. Very interesting! The final step in the FULL bath experience was the needle shower. Stepped into a shower just like in the museum (too cool). Ancient shower with jets all around you. Only in there for a minute (I think most people get 2!). All of these hot things are to detox the body.
The final thing was the Swedish Massage. I had Jennifer and she did a great job. At times, it seemed more like a deep tissue massage as she found some knots she worked on but it was great. When all was done felt like rubber. Incredible experience. I highly recommend it. (Be sure to get the FULL experience! LOL)
We returned to the villa and had a great lunch of hamburgers, beans and chips prepared by my wonderful husband. Played more cards in the afternoon and then went for a drive of the area and to the Gangster Museum. You don't want to miss this if you come to Hot Springs! Between 1927 and 1967 Hot Springs was the vacation spot for gangsters. Everyone from the mayor to the chief of police supported the gambling casinos (illegal at the time), alcohol flowed freely (during the prohibition) and the madame paraded her new girls down the main street. It's a little different picture than the National Park Service paints. We topped the day off with dinner at the Via Roma. Great Italian restaurant, wonderful ambiance and great service. The food was superb, as well.
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