I cashed in on my “trip to the Jinan hot springs” Christmas gift from Nate today. We had an address, but our cab driver didn’t know where it was! After a call to Lainey we were told the driver knew of another hot springs by the airport, so we agreed that he could take us there. It didn’t look too impressive when we walked into the lobby, and we were starting to wonder if we were actually at a hot springs or if we were at a hotel that called itself a hot springs… There was a pool we could see through the window of the lobby and I was a little worried that was all there was.
We followed the hotel clerk around a corner where we left our shoes in place of sandals and were handed numbered wrist bands to correspond with our lockers. The resort was made up of small pools filled with steaming water of varying degrees of heat. Each pool was infused with something different. one was tea infused, one lavender, and there was even a milk infused pool. The tea was one of my favourites, it’s water wonderfully hot and steamy. I had never thought of tea as something to bath in. I pondered whether bathing in tea could wake you up… Most of the pools were outside, or in small shelters. I could see little shower capped heads poking through the steam inside the glass panel sidings of the wooden huts. It was cold out so we had to go quickly from one pool to the next, but after a while the chilly air felt good and made us appreciate the hot water all the more. We had been given thick robes to put on in between one pool and the next, and I was very appreciative of mine.
We couldn’t think too much as signs all round the resort reminded us that “Do not thinking when you come to Jingang Resort”. Each pool had supposed health benefits, one even claimed that our skin would be enlightened! I have yet to find a way to communicate with my skin to see if it was indeed enlightened, but it did take on a rather wrinkly appearance after a while. Is that what enlightenment is supposed to look like?
The tubs seemed endless as we wandered from hot bath to cold outdoor air and back to hot bath. Most were inside the wooden shacks that trapped the steam, but a couple were left in the open air. Just as we thought we were coming to the end of the pools we would find a path that led to a whole new cluster. Some were big while others were only meant for a few people to sit in at a time. Some were clear with smooth stones while others were so murky you couldn’t see the bottom, and mineral deposits had crusted up so thick on the walls and seats of the pool that a wrong movement could scrap off half your skin.
There was one large bath the size of a swimming pool that was full of all sots of water flowing massager devices that looked like something from the 80s. A couple were running and we tried those out but we couldn’t figure out how to turn anything on! One chair- like device blew bubbles right up your butt if you weren’t careful!
Another building had a row of five different pools, each a different temperature, and then there was the “swirling bath” that had jets in all it’s pools and more under water massage chairs. In the sauna the air was so thick we could barely breath.
“Bluzabla-yi! Bluadeode-yi-yi! Bludagodres-yi!” Sonya, her sister and I were dying laughing. We were at KTV and Nate was belting out nonsense to some chinese rap song Sonya couldn’t keep up with and yelling the only Chinese word he knew in it (yi meaning one) with great excitement every time it came up in the lyrics. I could barely breath.
We’d made it back an hour late as we’d lost track of time at the hot springs, so Sonya had plunged us directly into singing, and had picked out songs we barely knew or didn’t know at all. If something was in English she assumed we’d know it!
We’d only paid until 8:00pm, but after our time was up the tv kept playing music on it’s own, so we kept singing. One of the KTV workers kept peaking in on us, and Sonya would tell him we were just leaving, so every time he came near we’d pretend to be packing up… until he walked away again. When he eventually came back and made sure we really were on our way out we left the KTV singing at the tops of our lungs.
Sonya had to work the next day so we said goodbye, and headed home for some drinks to welcome in the new year. We left a message on my best friend’s skype of ourselves taking shots of baijo, and yelling “Coke-a-cola, chasing bijo since…” “LAST YEAR!” Nate shouted, “1984!” I yelled. “Happy New Years from the future!” we both yelled before pressing send.