Monday, March 12, 2007

The Schvitz

I finally found a bath house in Buffalo.

When I travel, I seek out a few things: foods I can't get in Buffalo, like Ethiopian cuisine, bookstores (especially used), and bath houses. To me, a place with a jacuzzi , sauna (and steam, but definitely sauna) and cold plunge is heaven.

I've been to bath houses all over the world. NYC's Tenth Street Russian baths, Kabuki and Osento in SF, Sauna Deco in Amsterdam (hands down, the winner), a little Korean place in Chicago, and more. When I worked at UCSF, I'd often spend an extended Friday lunch hour in the gym's sauna. Though this was essential to my sanity, I don't prefer an athletic atmosphere.

I like the variety of bodies, the wet air, the wringing out of the pores, the heat, the salt, the opportunity to lose oneself in a ritual which touches every culture.

Tonight, I went to women's night at Buffalo's own Russian-Jewish baths, The Schvitz, on Kenmore Avenue near Starin. $20 gets you towels, locker, robe, and an evening's access to the facilties. Though I had a short visit, my muscles are loose, my sinuses clear, my spirit calm.


I needed that deep heat. I've been working nearly every day (4 gigs in total) and on Sunday I devoted about 10 hours to the project of painting my bedroom, a pale yellow called moonlight. I'm a clumsy painter, and my shoulders and hands ache, but it looks nice. I also grocery shopped, hennaed my hair, made granola, and basically dervished all day.

This week: teaching every day. Expect a crispy little poet on the other end of this week.