Pole to Pole
Day 38: Odessa
The beds, or treatment tables, are laid out in two rows on either side of a tiled sluiced floor. There is no privacy at all and gentlemen in various intimate stages of treatment are on full view. One man is heaving his blackened and naked body off the bed like someone escaping from a swamp. Another is being administered a mud enema with the aid of a white plastic plunger. The whole grotesque scene resembles a cross between a hospital and an abattoir.
My time has come, and I'm led by the supervisor, a benign, motherly sort with pink earrings the size of ships' lifebelts, to a changing cubicle, from which I emerge, uncovered, to find a lady with a white coat, red hair, pink spectacles and a rubber pipe squeezing a layer of evil black slime onto a stained brown undersheet. She beckons to me to get into the middle of all this. My first surprise is how warm the mud is, the second how soothing it is to have it rubbed all over me, and the third how deeply tranquillizing it is to lie wrapped in the stuff like a piece of boeuf en croéte. Everything, the dreadful smell, the cattle-shed conditions, the slurping of distant enemas, is forgotten in the sheer tactile pleasure of lying in warm mud.
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- Series: Pole to Pole
- Day: 38
- Country/sea: USSR
- Place: Odessa
- Book page no: 85
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