Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My Hanoi Pedicure

Today I went on the walking tour offered by my hostel, so we spent a couple of hours walking around Hanoi.  Since I've been here for over a week now, I had seen many of the places already (I usually find the good stuff). But there were some places I hadn't been to, such as a 900 year old temple, and the largest cathedral in Hanoi. I also hadn't been to the indoor market, which was filled with stuff that I didn't at all want to buy, but it was interesting to see. At the end, we stopped in a local coffee shop so people could sample the local egg coffee.

Our guide also explained what was going on with the announcements on the loudspeakers during the day across the city. There is some government propaganda, and patriotic songs, but it is also mixed with announcements about the day's pollution level, a traffic report, some light news, and other info. So it is not just propaganda, there is some information as well.

After the tour, I decided to get a pedicure. What the hell, these spas are everywhere, and the pedicures are super cheap. I think the one I got was a little over five bucks. I've never had a pedicure before, so I didn't know much what to expect. And my feet are super messed up, first of all, from being guy feet, and second of all, from wearing sandals all the time everywhere. The heels were a war zone, and the nails and areas around them...well, I felt sorry for someone who would have to deal with that. But I figured, it's that person's job, so they must see some really messed up feet.

And then there is the issue that many of these spas offer what you might call extra services. Really, I just wanted a pedicure at this point. Although, I do have to admit that a pedicure with a happy ending would probably be a more gripping tale (ok, bad pun). But, anyway, I wanted to find a place where I was not likely to find a beautiful woman with wandering hands, and me with a weak will and lonely travel soul having to say, "No, thanks", while biting my lip, or maybe even, "Yes, please..."

Anyway, I went into this place, and told the woman in the front I wanted a pedicure.  She led me to a woman inside who had me take off my sandals, and then had me put on some house sandals while she led me upstairs. Once again, I had no idea what to expect with a pedicure, since I've never had one before this. She had me lie down face up on a massage table, and put hot towels under my feet.

I was happy that there was no cringing at the sight of my feet, no expressions of disgust, no derisive pointing and laughing.  Nope, just foot work. I had thought it would be relaxing, somehow. I always have heard about how pampered one feels when one gets a pedicure. But parts of it hurt like a bitch. When they are scraping off big chunks of whatever, and pushing back the cuticles, and whatnot, that can be damned painful. I winced a lot. She did her thing, and told me she was finished after working on my toes. But I had wanted my sandal heels scraped down too, so I pointed to that, and she obliged.

She did ask me at one point if I wanted a massage. But it seemed legitimate, and I didn't want one, so I politely declined.
All on all, it was not bad. At the end if the pedicure, she asked me where I was from, and I told her I was from the US. She seemed surprised, and said she thought I was from Singapore. Now it was my turn to be surprised, because I can't imagine where that impression came from. But all in all, I think I could have done a slightly better job on my nails, and maybe even calluses, but I would have to have the right know, like a belt sander, and maybe a plane and ap hammer and chisel. But it was definitely not bad, and a bargain for barely over five bucks. And my feet definitely look much better.

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