I turned the inconsequential age of twenty-six while in Beograd and decided that I’d use this as an excuse to spoil myself. So, after all the hard work I’ve done in the last seven months [like sitting in cafes, visiting amazing countries, eating cake, exploring beautiful foreign lands, drinking too much cheap red wine and cider and so on] I thought I deserved some pampering.
My morning started with a phone call home – I was under strict instructions to call my family on my birthday. However, when I did call they were all outside in the pool or around the bonfire; not exactly waiting by the phone for my call as would have been appropriate! It was nice to catch up with my family.
The staff at the hostel were very kind and gave me a birthday present – some chocolate [anyone who has met me knows I have a slight addiction to chocolate] and an ‘opanci’, a souvenir-sized version of part of a traditional Serbian costume. They’re tiny little leather slippers, and they’re gorgeous. I’ve attached them to my handbag so they come with me everywhere! I was really surprised, as of course they didn’t have to do anything for me. It made me feel special. As I’ve said before, Hedonist Hostel is a fantastic place and the staff are absolutely wonderful!
I booked myself an afternoon of pampering at Bali Detox, a little spa place on Skadarska St – the cobblestone ‘bohemian’ street. I’d found it online and they had a package that was appealing, involving a body scrub and massage, as well as a foot massage and ion detoxification followed by oxygen therapy. The detoxification process sounded strange and interesting, so I thought I’d give it a go. I made an appointment and duly rocked up at 2pm, and was greeted with jasmine tea with honey and little gingerbread biscuits. I started with the body scrub and massage, all in one. It was a little uncomfortable at first as my body was clearly pretty tense and knotted. I don’t think that one massage could possibly have unknotted all my muscles, but the girl certainly tried. After an hour I was wrapped up in plastic to let all the oils and good stuff in the body scrub soak into my skin…I’ll admit that I fell asleep for a while. It was warm and I was cosy in my plastic wrap.
Once this was done it was time for the ion detoxification session. I was really curious about this, and whether it would actually work like the website claimed. Here’s the website’s description:
Bearing in mind we are living in polluted environment, different toxins accumulate in our body violating vitality we once had.
It is very important to perform detoxination of our body on a regular basis!
With ion detoxination we could remove toxins and recover our body by activating tissues, improving immune system, blocking viral infections and improving our mental health.
Bali Detox, which use micro electrical waves, is the latest technological invention for detoxication that doesn’t require taking drugs or surgical operation. It is fast and safe way for natural detoxification.
It is necessary to dip your feet in warm sea water containing electrolytic part, cathode, and anode. Negative pole is in the water while positive one is in our hand connected with apparatus. By streaming of 2 mA electrical current, electrolysis of salt process begins which enable penetrating of ions into tissue. Metabolism accelerating and the water in the foot bath change its color. Based on color of water we have sensual results of purifying. Black water points to presence of heavy metals in organism, alcohol, and liver problems. Red color points to asthma, problems with blood vessels, orange points to rheumatic, arthritis, and similar problems. The color of the water cannot make a precise diagnosis but points out to endangered organs and the purifying ones. Onto water surface you can clearly see drops of fat which means from some organs fats are also eliminating beside toxins.
Third part of treatment is floral bath with rose petals and at the end – 20 min of relaxing foot massage.
It felt a bit like a medical procedure. After you place your feet into clear, warm water they strap the anode, which is attached to a machine, to your wrist and turn on the machine. Then it’s a matter of sitting back and relaxing. My curiosity about the process of ion detoxification led me to keep looking down to see whether the water was changing colour as claimed. Nothing happened in the first five minutes, however after that the water began to turn an orange-brown and I could see clouds of brown stuff coming out of the soles of my feet. It was actually a bit disturbing, and a little creepy. However, as this progressed I found that I was breathing easier and that I felt generally ‘better’. After forty minutes they took away the foot bath full of brown cloudy water and replaced it with a soothing flower bath before my foot massage. Finally, the oxygen treatment – basically, sitting in a comfy chair for half an hour breathing through an oxygen tube. I left just before six, after a few more cups of tea and biscuits.
I was interested in whether the whole ion detoxification thing was legitimate or a hoax, and the internet appears to be divided on this issue. I know that I felt better afterwards, was breathing better and that the colour the water turned matched what I’d expected based on my medical history and lifestyle. Other people in the room had different coloured water. So, whether it actually works or it’s all in my head – the good old placebo effect – I was still happy. I felt better, and if it was just a hoax well it was novel and I enjoyed it anyway.
I went out for an early dinner with an American guy I met at the hostel. It was a nice change, as I’d been cooking for myself for the previous three nights. We went to a small but packed restaurant on Skadarska St, and the meals were so big that I ended up taking half with me to have for dinner the next night. I’d planned for an early dinner as I was meeting up again with Ben and Tam – the Australian couple I’d met in Plovdiv and then Sofia – to go out for birthday drinks. It was a nice surprise to find that they were still in Beograd.
We spent the evening in a little wine bar just around the corner from the hostel. Bizarrely, I’d walked past this place every day and had never noticed it. We’d planned to head down to ‘Silicon Valley’ street, but decided to pop in to the wine bar for a glass of bermet, a delicious dessert wine. One glass turned into a few more and we never actually made it to ‘Silicon Valley’, instead whiling away the evening with wine and good conversation. Ben and Tam had to be up early for to take a train to Sarajevo, but they wanted to visit a burger place they’d heard about before heading back to the hostel. They were talking about Loki and were rather pleased when I told them it was less than five minutes walk around the corner. Even at about 1am on a Wednesday, Loki was busy. I translated what I could remember of the menu for them and we ordered – shortly afterwards receiving the most massive burgers you’ve ever seen. I swear the chicken fillet burger actually contains an entire chicken. It was a tasty and probably not so healthy end to the evening.
It’s safe to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday. My only regret is that I didn’t even take my camera with me anywhere that day, so I have no pictures to remember it by. Still, I have memories!