CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
São Paulo | Spa & wellnessNovember 29, 2005

Bali or São Paulo?

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I have finally arrived in Brazil with 2 extra pounds on my scale. Let's not forget that here it's summertime and I must wear my bikinis to go to the beach. I could not take anymore of those amazing French cheeses, baguette breads and Greek olives that my French paparazzi friend Cedric keeps bringing to my apartment with the excuse that we only live once.  Nor could I continue to indulge in those incredible blue-frosted chocolate cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery in Soho that Natasha, a friend of my daughter, makes a point in bringing to the apartment for "just a small taste" as a comfort from New York's cold weather.

Part of my plan for weight loss is an emergency coconut water diet to detox, so I immediately called a clinic that does miracles in sculpting female bodies without the traditional knives and scalpels. If I recall, the phone number is the same, but the answering machine voice sounds more like an AT&T operator just like at home in the States. "If you want to schedule an appointment, press 1, but this is just for one appointment; if you want to cancel an appointment press 2, for all other inquiries please stay on the line, an operator will soon assist you."

After waiting on the line to inquire how I might lose 5 pounds, I am asked if I want my lymphatic drainage massage in the bungalow or inside the house. Bungalow? What bungalow? Do I have the wrong number? Apparently not, the operator's voice recognizes me and warmly greets me with, "Welcome, Joelle, everything has changed, you'll love it!"  Huuuff, I am back in Brazil.

I choose the bungalow, this evening at 7. The space has drastically changed; I am at a totally different place at the same address, maybe the Jymbaran hotel spa in Bali? A young, pretty girl takes me to a corridor where old Balinese wooden fences surround a Jacuzzi and Nandina plants -- a kind of bamboo used by the Japanese to throw their worries on and keep the negativity out at every main entrance door of their houses.

Candles and cement Asiatic lanterns are located on a small bridge, under which carp are swimming elegantly in a little pond. Half a dozen rooms are named, on their walls, after Indian gods like Shiva, Ganesh and Devi. I am already feeling that goddess-to-be sensation by smelling from afar my favorite aphrodisiac scent, Ylang-Ylang, prepared especially for me in the form of an essential oil waiting to be spread on my skin in the so-anticipated bungalow. Before I take my clothes off, my attention is caught by the picture, in a Playboy magazine cover of this month framed and hung on the wall, of a bombastic and pretty girl that I have met in person, thanking the owner of this place for we all know what.

Okay, my decision was perfect, my lymph and all the water that I retained in my cells all these months in NY will leave my body so fast that my picture will one day be hung on the wall of someone special to me, very soon. The sound and sight of a gracious and very noisy waterfall do not allow me to hear the pretty masseuse shouting that my bungalow is right in front of me! I am already dreaming of a thinner me on a beach under another bungalow.

The hammock is warmed to a temperature of 22 degrees centigrade. The orchids, ventilation, oils, mask for the eyes and infrared light for extra warmth on the feet are in place, and no, I am not in Bali, nor in São Paulo. I am in heaven.

To be honest - and I must be honest - lymphatic drainage massage hurts tremendously if you have some extra weight to lose, but you see, this is what sculpting is all about. The little Rodin girl, while applying this strong and firm massage to my body, asks me with a voice full of disappointment and astonishment: "Joelle, why did it take you so long to come back???"

My answer was, while gazing at the fiber and raw wood ceiling: Never ever again, I promise.

Related Links: http://www.hara.com.br

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