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THE BATHHOUSE EXPERIENCE

Cindy Maddera

On our last day of vacation, Chris and I stopped in Hot Springs, Arkansas to have a bath at one of their many famous bathhouses. I have never done a bathhouse experience before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. We went to a place called the Buckstaff Bathhouse, which turned out to be really busy because it was the only bathhouse open on Sundays. Chris got shuffled off to the men’s side of the bathhouse while I rode in one of those creaky gated elevators up to the women’s area. Once there, I was told to remove all of my clothes (yes, all of them) and then this lady wrapped me up in a sheet. I waited for about fifteen minutes before this very large woman came and took me to the bath. They have all these whirl-pool tubs and they pipe in the hot springs mineral water. She took me to my tub and ripped my sheet away with a snap. I stood there for a shocked minute and they lady said “Now git in the tubâ€?. She was like this big mammy, barking orders and pulling me this way and that. It was a bit frightening at first.

But after I got used to the idea of being led around like a sheep, the bathhouse was really relaxing. After it was all over, I felt like I was made of rubber. I took the elevator back down to meet Chris. He had dosed off while waiting for me. Apparently he had had a really relaxing time as well. I would definitely do the bathhouse experience again, especially now that I know how it all works. No fear of the unknown.

Let me tell you though, that was the longest drive home ever. The bathhouse is not a good idea if you have a six hour drive home ahead of you.