I wandered around the maze of the big hotel with tired eyes in search of a shred of sunshine and some poolside respite. It was late in the day, too late, but I had holed up in my room for most of the afternoon to take care of a few final, critical projects while I still had a strong connection. I met the deadline, and now I needed sun.

All afternoon while I worked I longingly watched the light, strong on the beautiful and unfamiliar cityscape outside, from my desk in the elegant room promising myself time outside later. But when I finally got there, even though the pool was lovely and inviting, on this side of the building puffy gray clouds boiled up, changing the mood. Discouraged but not dissuaded, I swam to stretch out. It was invigorating, but what I really needed was heat. I finally found it back inside purely by accident.

I discovered the steam room inside the hotel spa by walking through the wrong door. When it swung open, I was met with the most evocative herbal infused wall of sticky air. Heat! I melted in. If the benefits of drinking chrysanthemum tea are any indication of the benefits of taking a steam bath infused with the flower, then I am now a healthy woman. In addition to detoxification, relief of congestion, ease of digestion and lowering cholesterol, chrysanthemum helps “…in easing giddiness.” I soaked up the benefits, joined by a woman who was able to read a book through the thick air (that talent amazed me). As I sat in the steam and watched it collect on the hair of my wrists like dew on grass, I thought about priorities. I was happy my work was complete, but aware that I had made a choice. I may not have an afternoon of sun for awhile again especially in this corner of the world. Noted. Lessons. A good way to start a new adventure in a strange land.

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