The Ebente-Tang (이벤트 탕)
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!