It was your average suburban strip mall shop. That phrase 'strip mall' always conjures up unseemly pictures. I prefer 'shopping center.' Nothing pretty about this boxy street side retail spot.
A blaze of orange color blinded me as the door opened, from the tangerine colored walls. The lobby resembled the sign-in area for a szechuan restaurant.
Further back each long wall was lined with comfortable chairs and towel covered ottomans.
I glanced at my friend who was generously treating me with an, "Is this place legit" look? Then the young Asian man at the counter greeted us and saw us to our chairs.
Immediately 3 large men in their 30's-40's came out and with no introduction or greeting silently proceeded to motion us to dip our feet in a lined bucket of water. The bucket had smooth ridges in the bottom to start the massage process.
His thick spongy fingers began kneading my neck. I couldn't help chattering and joking. When he worked a few knots out of my neck and I really started to relax, I blurted, "That's it. I'm off to La-La land!" The therapist immediately shushed me.
That's when I learned:
Rule #1 - No talking during the massage!
After the 15 minute neck work, we pivoted around and reclined for the 45 minute reflexology foot massage. We arrived around 10 to an empty room. By 11am the place was packed, customers lined up in easy chairs and rows of burly men in soldier-like formation attended to skyward toes and feet.
Reflexologists believe that each spot on the foot relates to an organ in the body and complete health can be improved by simply working on the feet.
It was very, very quiet there. Almost like being in a room of deaf people. The only sound was a little muzak that seemed stuck in the 70's, playing James Taylor and other 'easy listening' cuts.
Rule #2 - No talking on cellphones.
My attempt to take photos was frowned upon at first. But before long, the once serious therapists were snapping pictures right and left. This guy thought he was real creative in his photos angle, I guess.
I'd never seen a sight such as this in my obviously sheltered life. The Vietnamese brought us nail salons and now the Chinese are bringing us Foot Relaxation rooms.
Rule #3 - Leave a nice tip for Fan.
Fan was my therapist's name.
I'm a fan of Fan.
I floated out of that place with an old Beach Boys song playing in my head:
...Take good care of your feet...
Better watch out what you eat
Better take care of your life
Cause nobody else will...
I owe my friend big time.