It was the rubbing of her buttocks against mine that was the strangest sensation.
I'd rocked up to the Na Spa in Hoi An, conveniently located diagonally opposite our Cua Dai Hotel, and just next to Mr Chin, who offered laundry at a very decent $1 per kilo, as well as bicycle and motorcycle hire at very reasonable rates. Helmets included.
The nice ladies at Na Spa gave me thongs to wear instead of my beaten and dusty blue Crocs (a relic of the Great Wall of China walk that I cannot bring myself to throw away), and handed me a tall glass of iced tea. I've never drunk iced tea, never thought I'd really like it. But it's amazing the new taste sensations you discover when it's in the mid-30s outside with humidity close to 100 per cent; and you've just returned from a sweaty fitting at the Yaly tailors', where your suit, while beautiful, seems remarkably browner than when you first picked out the material.
Eventually, the Therapist took me upstairs to the Massage Room. She was a tiny lady with little English, but the 'take your clothes off' gesturing crossed the language barrier well enough. I was given tiny white mesh pants to wear; the kind midget porn stars might don before a tough day at the office.
She spread a large sheet of plastic on the firm (and generously wide) massage bed. I clambered on, all grace and elegance in my near-nudity. I plonked my face into the head-rest-with-breathing-hole-cut-out bit, and the Therapist got to work. She smeared my body with papaya, back then front. She then folded the plastic over me, and left me there, like a bizarre cross between Laura Palmer and a fruit salad.
Once marinated, I was sent into the shower cubicle to de-fruitify. I donned a second pair of white mesh pants, wondering where the factory for such garments might be. I returned to the massage table, where a fresh plastic coating was waiting. Another delicate mount, and then the Therapist began applying the coffee.
I'd ordered the coffee scrub after hearing rumours that the ground beans work well on the so-called "problem areas". My "problem areas" are rather too many to describe in a blog post, but safe to say I was hoping for a caffeine-inspired boost.
She mixed the coffee with some sort of liquid; I suspect water, but I'd like to think milk, just to get that cappucino effect. She began scrubbing furiously at my pasty doughy white skin, taking off at least six or seven layers of epidermis in the process.
The most confronting part was, having done my back and legs, she got to my... ahem...chest area. Now Judith Lucy once famously said "I don't know about you girls, but I don't carry a lot of tension in my breasts." But then, this wasn't about tension, it was about exfoliation, so The Girls were in for it.
Her technique was firm and steady; but she went at each breast like Demi Moore went at that pottery wheel in Ghost. I wanted to say, "Love, it doesn't matter how many times you do that - it's not going to turn into a vase!" I almost laughed thinking about it; which she took as a grimace and softened her grip somewhat.
I entered the shower after the coffee scrub looking like I'd rolled through 70 packets of broken Oreos. I wondered if this is what I would look like if I got an oh-so-natural-super-dark fake tan.
The water restored my paleness, and I returned - smelling like a tropical expresso - for the full body massage. I thought I had been fairly well massaged enough, but that was not the case. The Therapist took this opportunity to jump onboard the table, straddling my middle, and putting the full-force of her 50 kilos onto my spine. She rolled back and forth like a ship in a swell - hence the rubbing of the buttocks. Thankfully she was clothed and my modesty was protected by a towel, otherwise it could have got very Swedish in there very quickly.
A few pressure points later, some graphic rolling of my feet - accompanied by the grinding sound of my wrecked ankle joints - and we were done. She tapped my back, tapped my head, tapped my shoulders - soliciting all sorts of hollow noises - and wished me well.
I handed over my Visa card to the receptionist, before staggering back across the road to the hotel and collapsing with jelly-like flubbery-ness onto the bed. But damnit, a rest was not to be had. For I had a fitting at the tailors'....