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Wat Pho sauna - The heat is on

1 Jun 2012

The Thai lady and I sit, 

Through the steam we stare each other in the eye.
None of us is going to loose even if we have to pay with our lives,
Something that just might happen...
הסאונה בוואט פו בבאן טאי קופנגן
הסאונה בוואט פו בבאן טאי קופנגן
An hour before I was sitting in the lobby, relaxing, watching the beautiful clouds when Jonas Johnson decided he wanted to go for a sauna.
I am always happy to go for a sauna and sit in the hot steam that removes all these toxics from your body leaving your skin soft and smooth.
We are getting there and being given a Sarong to cover ourselves with, after all, we are adjacent to a shrine and must remain modest. 
We store our stuff in a locker and go for it...
2 small rooms where one for men and one for women. I climb the slippery steps, trying not to slip, something that usually happens resulting in some bruises and a bit of discomfort.
Inside the sauna there are two benches, one in front of the other and very close. Most of the time I am trying to breath and figure out how much time is left on that clock.
First you go in for 10 minutes, step out and wait for 5, rinse with cold water and after a short rest you get inside for another 10 minutes, 5 more outside, rinse and rest. Having a massage right after the sauna is a good thing since the healing weed can penetrate the body more easily and heal it.
Anyway, as for myself, after about 30 seconds all I want to do is break free from that sauna and rush outside. Knowing that the sauna will then not be effective, I remain seated and play a little game called "Who's first to go".
I choose a woman that came in right after I did and decide that I will not leave before she does.
I try not to choose a Thai woman since they hold in the sauna for a very long time...during the last contest I noticed that the Russian ladies are pretty good at this as well..
And so, I sit in the steam across from the Thai lady and we stare at each other, people get in and out but she is not going to quit. Maybe I shouldn't tell her about my little game since we were having such a nice time together. She helped me scrub my back and I scrubbed hers.
Before I told her about the game she was unknowingly playing with me, but now she gave me a big smile and asked if I knew that I have already lost... I smiled in decline...
There we are sitting across from one another and none of us has any intentions of loosing, time crawls by so slowly, every minute seems like an hour, and no one is going to give up.
All is so hot and burning and it is becoming difficult to breathe.
I try not to make any unnecessary moves, I can no longer speak, just sit quietly and pray she gets up and leaves, thinking that if she doesn't, all will be left of me is this sarong on the bench and I will evaporate into thin air as if I was never here.
The Thai lady doesn't look any better than I do. From having sat upright, she is now bent down holding her head between her hands, breathing heavily.
Just as I was contemplating to make a run for it, or in this case crawl for it, the door opened and the lady running the place says: "it's six o'clock time to close the place".
In a split second both of us go flying out of that sauna, red as a tomato, standing outside and inhaling that tropic air which now seems so cool and fine.
It’s a tie!!
"See you soon" she says, we both smile and go get ourselves organized.