I was in the cosmetic industry for many years and although I both learnt and taught the basics and foundation of the product lines I represented, never did I ever have the time in my busy, frantic life to find the sheer pleasures of that world. This was not shown to me until I arrived in Manzanillo many years later and found that, although pleasurable, I could not spend the rest of my life just sitting on the beach.
Not that sitting on the beach was any problem because at that time the beach was mostly uninhabited for several kilometers either way and one was allowed total freedom to sit and read, watch the waves and the pelicans diving or chat to the occasional passer-by. Just perfect to reconnect with one’s own self and start to smell not only the roses but the inviting scent of the ocean.
So what could be more inviting than that? Have you ever had a real, honest to goodness pedicure? One where a tired and weary foot is first warmed in a foaming delicately scented bath before being tenderly massaged by soft hands to the point that the sensation becomes so pleasurable that you want to just relax all tensions and simply cry?This happened to me very recently. I had been introduced to the Mexican pedicure many seasons previously and always enjoyed them but this last one, in April of this year, was absolutely the most special I had ever had. The previous year had been a totally traumatic one, full of unexpected and unwanted health complications. They were followed by the decision that I could wait no longer, I had to sell my dream home in my dream town. One thing after another came tumbling down, until my whole psyche felt as though it was crumbling into dust.
Not that the year was a total write off, many good things came my way as I realized what a wonderful world I had discovered in Manzanillo. How many good friends I had who were there cheering me on and wishing me well! I was having get well letters from people I had never really had the opportunity to get to know well, besides the many others that had become good friends over the years. As well as finding a wonderful person to join me for the rest of my life’s journey.
As I sat in the easy chair at Alexandra’s Esthetic Salon in Salagua while her sister Maricela gently worked on my poor, terribly swollen and unhappy feet, all of these emotions came tumbling out and I had the greatest difficulty in keeping myself together. I am quite sure that Maricela would have had the shock of her life if this middle aged lady had suddenly just burst into tears. But this is exactly where I was at that moment in time. All of the hurts of this terrible year came pouring out of my feet as this young woman carefully worked on massaging all of the tensions that were dwelling in these feet which really looked something like swollen pumpkins with toes like fat sausages ready to burst.
On previous occasions when I had a pedicure, my feet were not in this condition but this time my illness had caught up with me and was determined that this part of my body was where it was going to be made obvious! Already I had difficulty in finding suitable shoes and along with my fat feet, had developed a problem with one heel which made it even more difficult to walk.
Those aches were ever so gently massaged away. The tensions of the year started to melt away along with my almost tears as I fully gave myself up to the sheer luxury that I was experiencing.
Of the many pedicures that I have had this one had to be the very top of the scale. Probably because so many tensions were right at the surface and the gentleness was so unexpected. The previous two pedicures I had were by Vietnamese technicians who had been taught the stiff and heavy massage approach. They also had me near to tears but with pain! Eventually I had to ask the last person to stop and just finish with “The polish, now! Please!”
There are many beauty shops in Manzanillo where a person can get a pedicure and manicure for less than half the price at home. Knowledgeable visitors to this part of Mexico make a point of waiting until they arrive on holiday to get all of their cosmetic work done. Haircuts, tints, streaks and perms are also a fraction of the prices in our home towns.
Here it must be confessed that initially one has a real trial and error to find a stylist who knows what to do with our skimpy locks which are so totally different to strong Mexican hair. But they are there and if you ask, other visitors will be pleased to tell you where they go.
There is a reference guide to recommended good businesses and this can be got through the ‘Mujeres Amigas’ Luncheon group. This group meets ever first Wednesday of the month and there may be perhaps 100 women getting together and making friends.
Manzamigos have a dining out night each week on a Thursday where people gather to exchange information and have a good evening in pleasant company. That is called Thirsty Thursday and a not to be missed event for at least once in a holiday.
Both of these organizations are great ways to have a short cut to the many pleasures to be found in Manzanillo and each month the contact address is to be found in the pages of this magazine.
Next month we will look at other services to be found south of the border. This one just happened to be my favourite.