We left our Christmas presents under the tree at home, so we come up with a special gift for ourselves in Las Vegas: we book a day at the hotel spa on the 25th.
Mandalay Bay spa is focused on a relaxing experience, rather than exercise per se; it’s all about reflexology, aromatherapy, massage, yoga, and so on. I’ve booked a back, shoulder and neck massage, but first I need to take a shower and soak in the hot pool to loosen up my muscles.
sara heads for the female side, I head for the male side. The locker room gives me a few moments of angst. A simple robe is provided, along with some rubber sandals and as many towels as might prove necessary. Everyone seems to wander around in the robe, and spend their time in the pools naked. I have no problem with nudity, but I do have residual nervousness about straight guys wandering around locker rooms.
I get over it, and spend a quarter hour soaking in hot, bubbling water. Next I try the steam room. It’s very dark and very hot; the steam is laced with eucalyptus, which clears out my breathing beautifully. At noon it’s time for my massage, which is provided by an old German guy called Wolfgang. After that I’m so relaxed I have trouble concentrating on tasks like standing up and walking, and he asks if I’m all right. Oh, yes, I’m more than that.
Spring water, fruit juice and fresh fruit are supplied in the spa, along with healthy high-fiber muffins. My body may be a temple, but unfortunately it’s a temple to the sacred bean, so I decide I’ll need to leave the spa to find lunch and coffee. Not a problem, as I can return later in the day.
I get dressed and emerge—at the exact moment sara emerges from the women’s locker room. We look at each other in amazement. We’re so in sync, sometimes it amazes even us.
The casino is the busiest we’ve seen it. It seems that everyone arrives on the 25th or 26th, and stays for the week between Christmas and New Year; that’s why the room rates jump on the 26th. There’s a huge queue of Asian people waiting to get in to the Noodle Bar. We go to an Italian café in Mandalay Place, the up-market mall area which stretches between Mandalay Bay and the Luxor.
After a relaxed lunch, we head back to our room for a while. I have never felt so completely relaxed in my life. I listen to the iPod for a while, and sara takes a nap. I head back to the spa in the late afternoon for a little more steam and soaking.
Channel surfing leads us to another Mormon documentary. This one is about Mormon missionaries in Europe. I imagine they must have a pretty hard time of it, selling the idea that the USA is the chosen land of the true people of Israel.
Anyway… not a conventional Christmas, but probably the most relaxing and enjoyable Christmas Day I’ve ever experienced.