I love foot massages! One of the joys of living in Shanghai is the availability and affordability of good massages. I’m talking CHEAP…as in I got an hour long massage for 79 kuai, or 12 USD…and this is actually expensive for here, but I like the place, so I pay it.
Anyway, yesterday’s massage was so funny! When I sat down, the Chinese male masseuse said, “Ni shi piao liang,” which means, “You are pretty.” I, of course, said “Xie xie ni,” or “Thank you very much.” From there, he must have thought I spoke fluent Chinese because he started talking to me nonstop. We had a very basic conversation in my broken Chinese. It was an exhilarating conversation about the number of siblings we had, what I did for work in Shanghai, and yep…that’s about it. My Chinese, as you can see, is very limited.
When he started massaging my feet, he used the reflexology technique, which if you haven’t had it, can be very painful during the massage, but leaves you with an amazing feeling afterwards. The first pressure point he pushed was VERY painful. Trying not to yell, I tried breathing deeply, which sounded like I was trying out some lamaze breathing techniques. His response to my pain was “Zhege bu hao,” pronounced “Jigga Bu How.” In English, this phrase means “This is not good.” When I asked him what wasn’t good, he put his hand over his heart, making a pumping action and a “thump, thump, thump” noise. “My heart is bad?!? Is this what you’re saying?” I ask in English, of course. Through a series of hand gestures, I ascertained that yes, in his opinion, my foot was telling him that my heart was not good. Hmmm…not sure how I feel about that, but okay, let’s move on.
The massage continued, and with it the pain and constant “Zhege bu hao” phrases. If I was a hypochondriac I would have booked an appointment with the doctor right away. Apparently, I have a “not good” heart, lungs, ears, throat, uterus (I’m assuming because he motioned to my stomach and said “baby”), head, and intestines.
Wow! I’m falling apart! My favorite part was when he was trying to explain what was wrong with my intestines. He motioned to his stomach and made a zigzag motion, which I understood as intestines. When I asked him what was wrong, he clenched his fists, bent down, tightened his jaw, and made a noise like he was trying to poop. Yep…this really happened. So, on top of falling apart, I’m obviously constipated!
Massages, and many other interactions in China, never cease to make me laugh! 🙂