Elwood 5566

The Ebente-Tang (이벤트 탕)

Posted in Bathhouse, bathhouse and jjimjilbang culture by 노강호 on April 15, 2010

The 'special event' pool?

This evening, I wallow for a while in the ‘special event’  pool, amusingly, in Konglish, called the ‘ebente-tang’ (이벤트 탕). Next to the pool is a sign announcing the ‘special event’ of the day and advertising forthcoming ‘attractions.’ Though you won’t see anything as special as synchronized swimming or a killer whale display, you will be treated by a variety of subtle scents, frequently changed,  that float gently on the rising steam or  at times  bask in vibrantly coloured water, purple and green being the most common. In some establishments, lighting in the water adds a retro appeal,  probably lost on most Koreans but for westerners over a certain age, reminiscent of 70’s larva lamps.  In other places, the ‘special event’ pool might be a large jacuzzi that froths into life intermittently.

Yesterday’s olfactory treat was lavender, today, its pine needle aroma which must have been recently added as the scent is quite heady though not in the least overpowering.  Pine is probably one of the most common scents in bathhouses and  very reminiscent of  Korea. The smell is quite natural and shouldn’t be associated with the overstated, chemical guff of  propellant toilet and room  fresheners  all designed to neutralize unpleasant smells and bludgeon your nasal passages in the process. Tomorrow’s scent will be jasmine, I can’t wait!

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