Chillin’ at the chimjilbang


It was another typically Monday until tonight.  I spent another busy day at work today and came home feeling a bit sluggish.  My colleague from Taipei who’s heading back home on Wednesday convinced me to go with him to a chimjilbang (침질방), a Korean bath house and sauna.  I hesitated to go, but he insisted because I probably won’t see him again until next year.  (He would make a great salesman.)  Another colleague joined us and we went together to the bath house in Hanam district.  Chimjilbang is very popular throughout East Asia.  I visited a similar place in Shanghai, China back in 2002.  It’s a great place to relax and unwind.  It’s cheap entertainment—6,000 won (about $6.00) will rent you bath clothes so you can rest without being self-conscious, and that’s it.  Massages cost extra (I skipped the massage tonight).  I highly recommend visiting one while you’re in Korea.  China’s are even cheaper and perhaps more fun, but Korea’s are also very enjoyable.  It’s one of the better things to do after a stressful workday.

Without going into too many gory details, here’s a sketchy summary of what happened and what to expect when you visit a chimjilbang.  First, you shower.  It’s a collective all-male or female shower (not unisex), so you need to leave your modesty at the door.  Group bathing is much more common in Asia than in the U.S.  After showering, hit the pool to relax in very, hot water.  It’s extremely warm.  After awhile, jump out of the hot pool and into the cold pool.  My colleagues were too apprehensive to do it, but crazy ol’ me did just for fun.  It felt great!  Don’t be afraid to go from hot to cold water.  It feels very refreshing.  After soaking in the pool, you dry off and put on your bath clothes.  The oversized gray clothing is made of breathable cotton, and you can relax barefooted in them as long as you’d like.  We ordered some shigae (식혜), a rice dessert soup, and relaxed and chatted in the oxygen room.  I don’t know if I was breathing pure oxygen, but it felt great.  I checked out the cold room, a frigid room, and the very hot sauna.  I didn’t spend much time in either room.  It was great to chat and relax with friends at the bath house.  I feel refreshed—just in time to head to bed.  I will sleep very well tonight!

In technology news, Adobe Systems announced that it will acquire Macromedia for $3.4 billion.  Adobe makes a variety of software products, most notably Acrobat.  Macromedia is best known for DreamWeaver, a Web design program, and Flash, a program for making dynamic online content and animated graphics.  I think it’s an interesting move by Adobe, because the two companies’ product lines do not overlap.  They also may not be compatible.  It remains to be seen if the merger will work, but it will create a strong rival to Microsoft.  Adobe’s focus is on digital documents, which is relatively static content, and Macromedia’s focus is on dynamic content.  I personally think Adobe may have been better off moving in another direction such as merging with Quicken, the financial management and tax software maker.  I believe that Adobe would find more crossover and synergies with Quicken than with Adobe.  Adobe and Macromedia’s combine success remains to be seen.

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