A Peace of Taiwan in My Sole

The last night of our four-day trip to Taipei, I wanted to be bold!

From my understanding, many massage parlors function as a dual enterprise. While you can indeed receive a massage, if not careful, you could find yourself receiving something a little more than a basic package. Granted, these “special” deals might be strictly reserved for my male counterparts since scantily dressed women have never inquired whether I’d like a “sexy massage.”

Regardless of this knowledge, I was determined to satisfy my urge to get a foot massage.  Four days in a row, I abused my soles with the long excursions across Taipei. At the end of every journey, I nosily peeped through the glass, quickly assessing the legitimacy of the establishment, simultaneously wishing I was the one lounging in a plush green chair with my feet up. My desire to relieve this physical stress continued to brew. It was imperative that I addressed this issue. After all, what’s wrong with spoiling yourself a little?

After careful consideration, and days of being teased by the constant allure, I had to fulfill my curiosity. So I embarked on a journey to an unknown territory…

Bright and inviting, I strolled in Sunday evening and was greeted with a friendly smile from the owner. She kindly escorted me to an area where I would prepare for my foot massage by soaking my feet in a pail of skin-softening bath salts. Now on the other side of the glass, it was evident that this parlor was not the shady ones I had heard and read about. The establishment was bright and clean. Within moments, my mind was at ease. No shady business here.

The parlor was also distinct in its use of Chinese and Japanese texts. While soaking my feet, the co-owner greeted me as well. Noticing the immense influence of Japanese, I asked him if this was Japanese owned business. Once confirming my assumptions, I attempted to speak a little Japanese. After almost five years of not speaking the language, it was definitely a struggle. It ended up being an interesting compilation of Japanese and Chinese.  But nonetheless, we were able to communicate.

After five minutes of soak time and a little conversation, it was time for the real deal. It was finally my time to enjoy the plush green chair and what would hopefully be a pleasurable, lawful experience.

And it was. In fact, it was the best 40 minutes my soles had ever experienced! For only NTD 500 (or about USD 17), my precious feetsy’s and I were pampered like a princess. Not only was I provided a delicious cup of tea with, I also enjoyed a delightful exchange with my masseuse! Although he was an elderly gentleman, he was quite lively and very enthused. Curious to know about my studies and whereabouts, we discussed several topics, periodically interrupting the conversation to explain the complex reflexology as he applied pressure to certain areas. Overall, the experience surpassed my expectations.

In retrospect, my initial concerns were unwarranted. Taiwan is not China. Taipei is not Shanghai. The quality of life differs, as well as how they conduct business. Clearly, I had nothing to worry about. The masseuse’s performance yielded a sense of tranquility exclusively available in Taiwan. I left feeling like a new woman, ready to take on the commotion of Shanghai. Twenty bucks well spent.