Being denied ice cream on a blistering day is quite heartbreaking.
I was in Chiang Mai, a city of mist-shrouded mountains in northern Thailand. The day was sweltering (like every other).
So when a Thai woman showed me an elegant tray of ice-cream scoops, I smiled like a five-year-old at an ice-cream parlour. Until she said, "Not for eating."
I was at a luxury spa called Devarana. The woman, a skilled therapist, was going to use that ice cream for something else.
The Thai-inspired spa, found at deluxe five-star hotels in Thailand, Manila and the Maldives, has rolled out a new skin-care treatment of body scrubs that uses old-fashioned ice cream.
When slathered on skin, ice cream boasts all kinds of miraculous things – it reduces inflammation, relieves sore muscles and soothes sunburns. So, I signed up.
First, I had to pick a flavour. Chocolate, coconut, rose or Thai tea. I mulled for a while. It's always hard to pick just one. Then I remembered, not for eating. "Coconut," I said.
The therapist escorted me to a bed where I tucked my naked body under the sheets and waited.
I peered up and saw her making the scrub mixture. She put two scoops of ice cream into a bowl, added flakes of oatmeal, sweet potatoes, coconut meat and a few drops of lavender oil, then combined them all. I sighed. A waste of delicious ice cream, I thought.
The therapist began. She massaged the ice cream into my skin, starting with my legs and back, moving on to my butt, and yes, breasts. The sensation of having ice cream on your bare body is much like when someone puts an ice cube down your back. Shocking cold. But I eventually relaxed. Pachelbel was playing and, after all, it was a body rub.
When all the bases were scrubbed, it was off to the shower. I awkwardly shuffled into the next room, leaving drops of dairy in my path. I could feel the ice cream trickling into crevices where it was never meant to go. I diligently rinsed it all off, a solid 10-minute task. Then a towel dry, a layer of lotion and it was over. My skin felt like satin and I smelled like coconuts.
I emerged outside, back into the oppressive heat. And what came over me was a powerful urge to lick myself.
Devarana Spa, based in Bangkok; +66-0-2636-3596; devaranaspa.com; 60-minute ice-cream body scrub for $70 (Canadian).