In October, 2014, I stay in my husband’s hometown, Siping. Siping is in Northeastern China, and temperatures can drop way below -20 degrees C in winter. Like most other apartments in China, ours doesn’t come with a bath tub. But a bath tub isn’t necessary. Northeastern China has a bathing culture and bath houses are all over the place (just look for the characters 洗浴 xǐyù).
One evening we go to a small bathhouse. I soak in the hot water of a wooden bathtub. For hygiene reasons, the bathtub is lined with a big plastic bag that gets changed for every person. After taking a bath, I get a body scrub (搓澡 cuōzǎo), which makes the skin really smooth. You can do Chinese body scrubs up to once a week.
One woman doing body scrubs says to the woman applying my body scrub:
“A foreigner!” And she laughs.
The woman giving me the body scrub replies: “Foreigners also need body scrubs.”
Have you ever been to a bathhouse in China? What was it like?