Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Swirling Thoughts #89 - treatments

Feeling blue? Have a shot of chocolate! Feeling sick? Medicated chocolate for you.
In stores throughout Israel they sell a gigantic syringe filled with liquid chocolate. Real chocolate. For treatment of acute non-medical chocolate emergencies.

Why was I worried when we ran out of Grape Flavor Children’s Tylenol? Did I doubt for a minute there would be an Israeli equivalent? Of course there is an equivalent – it’s called Chocolate Flavor Children’s Akemoli!

Road trip!
When you live in Israel you can go to the Dead Sea. Just like that. And so we did. Me, Grandma Barbara and baby Rachel Merav. It was splendid. The drive was amazing. We passed herds of all kinds but for the first time ever I saw a herd of camels. Not the camels waiting to be mounted and photographed. A herd of some 30 camels galloping alongside the highway. The sea was like a mirror, reflecting the horizon like a watercolor painting. Really, it never looked so beautiful. And so we arrived.

Our hotel was booked solid. We had used a travel agent to get a reservation. It never occurred to me to ask why the hotel was so busy on a weekday in November. As it turns out we were the only Jewish people staying in our hotel.

There’s a holiday on the Muslim calendar called Eid Al-Adha. It is celebrated for several days and makes for a perfect opportunity to take the whole family and go to a Dead Sea resort hotel. Everyone in Israel seems to know about this holiday. I know about it now!

It’s all about the treatments
People go to the Dead Sea to relax and be pampered but there’s more to it than that. There’s an idea that the sea, the salt, the mud, even the air is curative and healing. People with medical problems go for weeks at a time. For treatments. Our cousin with a military injury gets to go to the Dead Sea for a week every year for free. For treatments. We couldn’t wait to get our treatments. When I called to schedule the treatments and they asked me what room I was in, I had to tell them I was not yet checked into the hotel – that I would be coming in a week but wanted to make sure I had my treatments scheduled.

What's that smell?
The Swedish massage-facial combo (always a winner) was amazing. My mother-in-law was visibly renewed after her body scrub-mud wrap combo. She and my friend Michal later agreed it’s so good it should be mandatory for everyone. I was very much looking forward to my scalp treatment – what better way to undo the damage of 4 ½ months of washing with limestoney water than to massage some Dead Sea mud into my scalp, right? Except that there was no mud. There was shemen (oil). I recognized the smell but couldn’t place it right away. Shemen zayit (olive oil)? Maybe it smelled like peanut butter. Was it peanut oil? Right when I asked her, “Eyze shemen?” (which oil) I realized what it was and we answered together, “Tzum tzum!” You know, the oil that separates from the tehine paste. She poured warm sesame oil all over my head and massaged it into my scalp. My thoughts swirling as usual, I wondered what she would do if she spotted lice in someone’s hair during a treatment. At some point I realized there was no sink or any other means of washing my hair in the treatment room. Sure enough when she was done she told me it’s very good to leave the shemen in my hair for another hour or so and then wash it out. For an hour I kept smelling my hair. It smelled like tehine. I started craving falafel. Maybe lafah bread. Then my hour was up. And our time was up.

We returned a day later but it felt like a week later. Renewed and refreshed. Rejuvenated and relaxed.

Tonight my mother-in-law is getting on a plane to go back home. There isn’t a treatment, chocolate or otherwise, to soften this blow. I miss her already.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful way to end your last blog!!!!!