Views from a Paris window + [travel]

One of the Things of the Top 10 List of Things I Like About Ecuador

One of the things that I should have added to my Top 10 List of Things I Like About Ecuador is the fact that there are a lot of spa-type treatments (manicures, pedicures, facials, etc.) available for a relatively good price. I often go to a local beauty salon for a manicure/pedicure that costs about $6. And the other day I got a pretty good facial for $15. It is important to look around and find a "good" place because you never know if the technicians have been professionally trained or not. But the woman who gave me the facial seemed to know what she was doing and the atmosphere of the salon was comfortable.

So today I finally got up the nerve to do something that I've been wanting to do since I moved to Ecuador - get a massage. When I got my facial I had asked the woman what other services she offered and she mentioned that they did massages. I asked her how much they cost and she told me $10. I was a little skeptical because even in Ecuador $10 seems very low. Even less than the facial! After thinking about it for a few weeks, curiosity got the better of me and I called and made an appointment.

When I showed up at the salon this morning the owner was there waiting for me. She was listening to Salsa on the radio and I was a little worried that I was going to end up tapping my feet during the massage, but as soon as I was ushered into the room she switched it to the typical New Age background music. While I was waiting on the massage table she dimmed the lights, and lit some incense (which actually smelled good). It was starting to feel like that familiar, relaxing atmosphere.

I'm always nervous when I get a massage for the first time from someone new, and this time was even worse because I wasn't sure what to expect. But once she dimmed the lights and set the mood I started to relax. The actual massage was pretty good. She had obviously learned all the techniques somewhere. (Of course it was nothing like the massages I used to get in Humboldt County from Dorothy, a friend of mine who worked out of her little Victorian house in Ferndale. There was always a fire going in the wood stove making the room toasty warm. After an amazing massage she would cap it off with a surprisingly accurate Tarot reading. It was always a spiriual experience.) Today's massage, on the other hand, was similar to what I've experienced at the spas in Sacramento. Good but not great. And even though she answered her cell phone once and managed to send two text messages during the massage, I still enjoyed it (somehow she was able to send a text with one hand and continue to knead my back with the other — I just had to laugh because that would be such a huge faux pas in the States).

In the end, I left the salon feeling much more relaxed and calm than when I went in. It was definitely worth the $10. I think I'll go back again (maybe next week).