Life at Sea on the

by francine Hardaway on September 27, 2006

Life at Sea on the Floating Wal-Mart

OMG, we are spending the entire day at sea. I get up and go to the gym, and things are great. But it’s all downhill from there.

I go to this treatment called Ionathermie, which I am trying because it’s supposed to detox and lose inches, and remove cellulite and…everything but ensure financial security. I know it won’t work, but I will try anything once. A Japanese woman mixes a potion of herbs in a metallic bowl, like a cake mixing bowl. Then she folds the gelid herbs into a clay powder. She then uses a spatula-like device to spread the clay mixture on a mat atop a massage table. Before she makes me lie down on the table, she measures my waist, hips, and thighs. Down I go on the table.

Then she connects electrodes to my body in about eight different places. I try to resist the urge to giggle, thinking I am in a sci-fi movie with bad special effects. She tells me this is a popular treatment in France and Japan, where people understand both herbs and unusual drug delivery systems. She tells me she has been doing it for twelve years. She asks me if I am serious and committed. I already know that this is code for “will you buy the products at the end of the treatment.” Having already answered in the affirmative to the personal trainer, to the tune of about $250, I assure her that if this produces results, I will do anything she tells me.

I relax on the clay potion, and she covers me with a blanket and turns on the current. I feel a tingling in my body, not unlike what the physical therapist gives me after my hip treatments. It’s electrical stimulation. In this case, it is supposed to open blockages in the lymphatic system and deliver the herbs through the skin to the body.

A half hour later, she commands that I arise, and then measures me again. Damn, I’ve lost 6.75 inches. She tells me I will continue losing as I continue to detox. She tells me to expect greater elimination. She tells me she will write me a prescription. The prescription, if filled, costs about $750.00. I eliminate some things, and bring the cost down to an “affordable” $500. She tells me I should come back for a repeat treatment, and I assure her I will see her later in the cruise. I know, hoewever, that I can’t afford to darken her doorstep again.

I leave and go to a spartan lunch in the Spa cafe. On the way there, I pass one of the people in my cruising group. He walks right by me, apologizing profusely that he is seasick and on the way to Client Relations for some pills. Then I attempt to go out by the pool. I see that the boat is rocking, and the water is coming ten feet out of the pool like a fountain and spraying all over the deck. People are scattering. I go back inside the gym to use the bathroom. I see that half the staff is barfing in the bathrooms.

I’m no fool. I stagger back to our stateroom, where my daughter is also sick. Hmm…do people PAY TO DO THIS?

I hunker down in bed for three hours. When I think it’s safe to get up, I put on my formal wear for the Captain’s Welcome dinner. My daughter will not be joining me. When I arrive at the dining room, I see that they have drawn the blinds so we can no longer see the waves out the windows. Now we see phony Italian still lives, and landscapes. Half the dining room is empty, and the others are eating with forced enthusiasm.

I escape with a bowl of ice cream for my daughter, who is –thank heavens–feeling better.

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