After an afternoon sightseeing at DuFu’s cottage, prior home of a famous Chinese poet, I decided to check out a Chinese Tibetan spa near Charlie’s apartment building. I only knew it was a spa because I had asked him about the prayer flags over the front entrance a few days earlier.

I took the elevator up to the top floor, and was happy to see a well-decorated, warm and welcoming reception area. The language barrier was a big issue, however having been to a spa previously with Charlie, I had a sense of the routine.

First, they showed me to a locker where I put away all my clothes. I was standing there buck-naked for a moment until the attendant was kind enough to hand me a towel. I spent about 30 minutes soaking in a wooden tub of hot water and Tibetan medicine. The medicine was red, which gave the water a similar tint. Next, I showered and changed into the supplied pajamas. The attendant brought me to a dark room with lounge chairs, each equipped with a remote and small flat screen TV. I flipped around the channels until boredom set in, and then asked for a massage.

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  • David Lee

    In late 2007, I quit my job and left the comfortable life in the USA for the open road with nothing but a 20-pound backpack, a …

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