“Now we’re here, I really would like to learn an additional massage technique” Saar said. Sounded like a good plan to me. “A 2 hour training only costs 400. 000 Rupiah and you get a free massage, an English manual and a selection of herbs to practice at home; a bargain isn’t it? And you get a certificate on top of that!”.
That was only 30 euro and you got your money’s worth it seemed. “And what technique are you going to learn?” I asked, interested as always. “The ‘Warm Herbal Ball Massage’”, she answered. “ …and I’ll practice on you after the course”. Why did I hear the film score of ‘American Pie’ all of a sudden? Who she would practice on during the training remained unanswered. “Oh well, if I can help you, of course you can practice on me”, I said, trying my best to sound as neutral as possible. During ‘Madame’s’ training, yes they call her Madame here, I floated on my back in our private little pool, fantasizing about how the massage would be.
With herbs? Warm? It lasts and hour? Wouldn’t that be painful? She returned very enthusiastic and accompanied by my masseuse of the day before who carried an oversized steamer. Normally water is boiled in the bottom part, allowing steam to come through holes in the bottom of the top part. It sounds complicated but it actually isn’t. You prepare a perfectly steamed rice in it. I got a little suspicious and asked what the steamer was for. It was for warming the herbs that Saar was chopping; that’s what I was told anyway. I wisely withdrew to the air-conditioned bedroom.
After dinner we came to the point of no return. In the half open dining room, Saar had transformed the dining table into a massage table, using cushions and bathroom towels. The humongous steamer was simmering on the stove. It made a threatening noise. I was summoned to the treatment, wearing just the linen kimono of which two were available for the guests in each villa. “You’ll take that off before laying on the table”, Saar instructed. “And then, in the open air, naked on that table?” I muttered. “Nobody will see you! Do you really think they will come barging in like that? And no, they will not go peeking over the wall. As a matter of fact, the non-treated parts will be covered by a towel. Don’t be a sissy and hurry up”, I was told.
The non-treated parts will be covered. Oh my! In other words: the parts that will be treated will be there, completely exposed, for the world to admire! Nice. Fortunately, my non-treated red face will be under a towel when they come to return the laundry or do the turn down service. “Come on now, on the table”, Saar insisted, with a slight irritation in her voice.
My morning enthusiasm had evaporated like the water in the gigantic ‘dandang’ (Indonesian for ‘steamer’). I hoisted myself on the table and lay flat on my back. A sheep on the slaughter-bench. “Not on your back, on your belly first”, said my wife, dressed in a sarong for the occasion. “On my belly!” I thought, “but how will she do?” . I meekly turned over. Towels were draped over me. “Are you ready for it?” she asked. I just mumbled something because my face was buried in the cushion. “A lucky coincidence” I thought. “This will allow me to scream as loud as I want when she starts applying those hot herbs. ”.
The towel was pulled back and I braced myself for the inevitable. A warm pressure. As if a big, round, soft stamp was pressed on my back. Quite pleasant. The stamp explored the whole of my back, my legs, arms, neck and, let us call it ‘my lower back”; then I had to turn over. The stamp proved to be a piece of cloth in which the herbs had been packed like a piece of candy in its wrapper. That parcel was then placed in the steamer to warm up and be used for the relaxing massage. herbalballsred “
Didn’t I make nice ‘Herbal Balls’?”, my loving wife asked. “Yes”, I answered, “very nice!”, and shut my eyes, fully enjoying part two of the ‘Warm Herbal Ball Massage’.