Thanks to the wonders of modern chemistry, the ancient healing powers of herbs, and a nice nap, I was able to drag my sorry butt out of bed around noon. First stop on our itinerary: taking the waters. This we did at the Quapaw, because we wanted a) plenty of time to luxuriate in the hot, buoyant waters, b) to share this experience together and not be separated, and most importantly, c) not to spend a lot of money.
The Quapaw Bathhouse is a ninety-year-old Spanish colonial revival building on Bathhouse Row. For anyone who hasn’t been there, it’s much like traditional old-world bathhouses, except clothing is required. You enter the foyer and sign a waiver explaining all the things you can’t do; you’ll need a swimsuit and a clean pair of flip-flops, which they will sell you if you don’t have. You pay your fee ($12 – $20, depending on your deal/coupon), and a T-shirted attendant gives you a couple towels and your locker key and directs you to the appropriate-gender dressing room. There, you will need to take a shower (in your swimsuit) before grabbing your towel and heading into the baths proper.
The main bathing area (which is co-ed) is a large, echoey room, where sunlight filters in through the skylights above and bounces off the white tiles on the floor and walls. There are four pools, each a different temperature. I like to start in the coolest pool, on the top, and work my way up to the hottest one, in the center, which I can only take for a few minutes at a time.
So we lounged, floating and chatting, all through the afternoon. We drank cups and cups of the same water we soaked in, but chilled. When we got hungry, we shared sandwiches and smoothies from the little cafe right there next to the pools. It took some time and calories for us to come down from our relaxed, blissed-out state.
Finally, back in our right minds (but still slow-moving as sloths), we dried off, got dressed, and ventured out to the street. We drifted through two crystal galleries, buying a few souvenirs and, of course, crystals. I introduced F. and J. to the pleasure of Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcake Shoppe. As we did at Rolando’s, we each ordered a different flavor with the agreement we’d share bites, so everyone would get to try all three kinds. We were disappointed that they were out of their lemon/lavender cupcakes, but consoled ourselves with creme brulee, chocolate-on-chocolate, and strawberry cheesecake cupcakes in crinkly paper wrappers. J. and I bought T-shirts with the store’s logo on the front and on the back, a 50′s housewife holding a cupcake on a platter and the tagline: “It Ain’t Gonna Lick Itself.”
Later we had to check out Hot Springy Dingy; the name alone was too funny for J. to pass up. It’s a funky (literally, musty and cluttered) little head/costume shop, and the owner is a ebullient font of funny stories.
Now dinner: me and F., eating microwaved leftovers from last night and J. eating an enormous organic bison burger from Park Island and reading poetry. We’ve got a bottle of wine open, but I’m not sure I’m brave or stupid enough to face it.