Imagine lying naked on white linen sheets in a glass hut in the middle of the forest. As you adjust your body -which is facing down- to find maximum comfort, you feel the warm air in this sublime space caressing your body. You look through the glass one last time and spot a monkey picking what you imagine to be ticks off its baby’s back, oblivious to your presence. After about two minutes, the baby who obviously has had enough of the grooming, shoots towards the thick of the forest. The mom runs after her. The show, which was happening approximately 50 metres away, is over too soon! You lie your head on the bed and allow the whistling wind and rustling leaves to soothe your tired mind. A masseuse walks in and gently runs her soft hands through your knotted shoulder blades.
I was absolutely lucky to be treated to the above last Saturday. And I was not just alone, but with my friend Plounne. We both desperately needed a day of pampering; she-having gone through one of those rough years that shake you to your core and I, still traumatised from the half marathon that I participated in last week. I picked her up at 11.15am. Our session was at noon and I figured 45 minutes was enough to drive from Kileleshwa to Entim Sidai in Karen. I was wrong.
None of us thought to check traffic on google maps before-hand so in about 15 minutes, we found ourselves stuck in harrowing traffic on Ngong Road, right after The Junction. A City Hopper bus that had been overlapping forcefully tried to get into my lane. From his high vantage point, the kange flashed a beaming smile at us while motioning me to allow the driver to slide in. I yielded. But had I known what was going to happen next, I would have kept those morons off the road.
The bus got into formation and soon after, traffic came to a standstill. The Kange got out of the bus and walked over to my car. He stood next to the front passenger window where Plounne was seated, leaned over and peeped. The windows were rolled up, but they were not tinted. He grinned sheepishly then looked behind him and alerted another guy to join him in his feast of thighs. I was in rompers and Plounne, a mini-dress, so you can imagine. His friend came over and they both leaned into the window, their noses pressing the glass and their hands forming a triangular shape like thugs peeping through a house they are about to raid.
“Baby girl.” Said the friend. I am not sure who he was addressing as I could not muster the courage to look at them. I wasn’t too bothered though, as I was sure I would not feel insecure if he was more interested in Plounne haha.
“You look so fiiiiiiiiine.” He added while grinning sheepishly.
Plounne tilted her head downwards and covered her eyes with one hand. She giggled, hard. I laughed too as I looked straight ahead into the road in an attempt to hide the fear that had engulfed me. After about what felt like eternity, cars started to move and we were finally set free.
At quarter to one, we passed the Karen roundabout and opposite Talisman, took a left turn. We drove down a tarmac road through a quiet exurb then took a right turn which led us to this fortress of tranquillity. Massive trees and shrubs jutted from either side of the road which led to the spa. It felt as though we were about to go on a nature trail. We packed the car at this space in the middle of the woods and grabbed our hand bags and the camera. Right after walking over the bridge, an expansive forest spread out on our left with Ngong hills in the yonder. On the right was a huge mansion with a lush lawn sprawling at its feet, reminding me of the series Downton Abbey. It was one O’clock and we were one hour late for our appointment.
Nellah, our gracious hostess, met us at the lobby. She had called me at 11.45am to find out our whereabouts and I had mentioned that from the look of things, we were never going to make it on time. “Just come. We will figure something out.” She had said. The world needs five more people as accommodating as Nellah.
She informed us that all was not lost. The plan was for both of us to get our massages in the glass room and later head to the nail bar (still a glass room) for our pedicures. The bad news was that only one masseuse was available and the only empty space was inside the manor. Plounne offered to go first for the massage and I was ushered to the nail bar in the woods for my pedicure.
When I walked in, two ladies were engaged in a hearty conversation as the beauticians worked their ways around their feet. The slender one rocking kinky hair said something to her friend in French and she gave a gleeful chortle. I could sit and listen to people speak in French all day, as long as they are not from Central Africa. I joined them on the elevated bar and sank into my seat. Above us, a monkey swung from one branch and jumped to another. I took a sip of my chamomile tea, sunk my teeth into a huge date and allowed Carol to treat my feet to pleasure. An hour later, I spotted Plounne through the glass walking down the paved path that led to the nail bar. She was glowing and at ease, like she had just spent a week listening to the sound of the waves from a beach bed in Malindi.
“I could get used to this.” She said, as she walked into the parlour. “I feel like I am wearing a brand new body from a designer shop on Oxford Street.”
We chatted about motherhood and work, marriage and its joys and struggles, and how necessary it was to allow ourselves to pursue things that made us happy without feeling guilty. Shortly after, a lady walked in and politely informed me that if I wanted to have my massage in the glass room (as opposed to the main house), I should head there immediately as there was a one hour window before the next appointment. Thankfully, Carol had wound up on the pedicure and manicure and I was good to go.
When I walked in, the room, which had a clear view of the forest, was warm and smelled of a fusion of eucalyptus and mint. I imagined that is how a cubicle in heaven would look like. Naomi my masseuse got into action as soon as I settled on the bed, face down. I was receiving the Engolon Treatment, a one hour sportsman massage befitting my tight muscles. She worked her hands gently down my back and stopped at the lower back to ease the tension that had built up around the gluteus. I drifted off into a heavy sleep.
The next time you want to have a blissful time with your girlfriend or treat your hard-working spouse to a respite from the rat race, how about you head down to this slice of heaven? And all you ladies stranded for bridal shower ideas, please, give those sex aunties- Naget and Fatuma- and Morris, a break. Experience is the best teacher and you can all share yours with the bride to be as you enjoy a relaxing spa pedicure in heart of the woods. How about that for a change?
Thank you Nellah for your benevolent gesture and being such a gracious host. And to the lovely Entim Sidai team, we appreciate you for ensuring that we had a memorable experience. It made up for being harassed by the idlers on Ngong Road!