got out of my first Korean public bath. I showed up and wasn't
sure exactly what I was supposed to do. I took off my shoes at
the door and dropped them on a rack. A barbershop was located
just inside the door. The barber didn't speak English, but he
motioned me through the process. I entered the locker room and
took off all my clothes. I wrapped my towel around my waist, and
started for the bath room. Suddenly the towel was yanked away.
The barber said I should drop it there. OK. So I waited until
he was busy with a customer and I put it around me again and headed
for the bath. I made it about five steps when the towel was yanked
away again and tossed on the table in the middle of the room.
The barber made a little motion toward his privates and indicated
that no towel was necessary to cover them. So I walked stark naked
through the two rooms.
entered the next room which held showers and two large baths.
Two guys were showering along the wall so I avoided that spot.
I just slowly eased myself into the first pool. It was hot as
heck. After a few minutes I was in to my middle, seated along
the wall. I just sat there trying to look inconspicuous, but of
course, standing out as usual. One of the showering men came over
and entered the pool next to mine. I saw that the water was deeper,
so at first I thought I had entered the "kiddie pool". The man
then came over to me and introduced himself. He spoke a bit of
English. We were both sitting there stark naked, carrying out
a formal conversation.
was an officer in the Korean Air Force and had learned to speak
English from some Americans he worked with. He sort of gave me
the procedure for the room, so I went through the steps.
I got a long rough towel and stayed in the small hot pool for
twenty minutes. Then I got out and showered thoroughly. I washed
my hair and rough toweled again. After that incredibly hot bath,
a cool shower actually felt good. A cool shower was probably against
the principal of the hot bath, but I thought I might pass out
from the heat.
the twenty-minute shower, I poked my head into the dry sauna room
and realized there was no way I could take that heat, so I backed
out. Next I sat at the seated showers and shaved. The seated showers
were little places where you could sit down and wash and spray
yourself. If you wanted you could shower seated. When you were
finished with everything, you could enter the large pool at the
end. I put one leg in that pool and didn't stay long. It was a
cold pool. No cold pool for me.
I'm still not sure exactly how the entire process works, but maybe
I'll have it figured out the next time I visit one.