Short bits of travel have introduced me to the many ways I can experience a culture. The ways in which people eat, shop, get themselves around, build their houses and organize their cities are propositions on a way of life. I can read about it, get sore feet from wandering around, or spend money at restaurants. I want, and will do, all of those things, but increasingly my travel dreams are focused on those countries that take their bathing very, very seriously.
For me, the bath and its accompanying routine lets me 'read,' through the body, more cerebral cultural differences –- historical advancements in infrastructure, the individual within a larger group, and notions of personal shame (or lack of!). I don't always speak the language or know all of the social codes, but I would like to think that immersing myself in a culture's bathing tradition is a way to begin to feel the culture itself.
I love that similarities emerge. Heat, water, shadows, and a view usually make my perfect bath.
Mambukal Mountain Resort's sulfur springs, in Murcia, Philippines (via farl)
Dunton Hot Springs Resort, near Telluride, Colorado