Taking a wine bath in Santiago, Chile

Folks, I’m just a few hours away from wrapping up my four and five star trip through Chile. But am I sitting back and letting these final hours wind down unproductively? Perish the thought. I’m a professional. When I’m on the road, I work like a miserable dog right down to the final buzzer. That’s what makes an outstanding travel writer people.

As such I am writing to you now with only my left hand. My right hand is holding a generous pour of Carménère, a French wine grape thought to be lost forever until it was re-discovered in Chile in 1994. The rest of me, from the tits on down, is immersed in a Ritz Carlton Hotel signature wine bath. Don’t talk to me about dedication. I am Mr. Dedication. Where’s my goddamn Nobel Peace Prize?

I caved to the wine bath idea after repeated insistence by the hotel’s public relations manager. Strangely, I thought it was just a bit over the top after the one hour relaxation massage, swanky lunch, repeated trips to the whirlpool and three indulgent nights in one of his Club Level Rooms. But I am nothing if not cooperative, so I relented.

Though I secretly hoped they’d wheel an oak barrel of wine into my room and upend it into my bathtub, in fact, two very nervous maids – nervous probably because I was observing their actions intently, taking notes and wearing a lazily fastened hotel robe – poured two tiny bottles of bath foam oil and an entire jar of what appeared to be dried flower parts into my tub, then filled it to 3/4 full with water. They then carefully emptied about 500cl (2/3 of a bottle) of red wine into the mix, lit a candle, placed the aforementioned glass of Carménère on the edge of the tub and hastily took their leave.

I quickly submerged myself in the mixture and that pretty much brings us up to date.

The scent is glorious. How bad would it be if I took a little sip of the bath water? Is bath oil poisonous? And why didn’t they leave a three foot long bendy straw so I could sip wine without having to reach for the glass? I’m full of brilliant hospitality ideas like that.

The water is surprisingly red considering the modest wine content. Can you get drunk by absorbing alcohol through the pores? If so, how much alcohol would you need?

I reek of wine now. I’ve decided to not wash it off. I’m flying home like this. If I had enough time to let them dry, I’d probably dunk my plane clothes in here too. Why not? It smells divine, though my neighbor on the plane may not agree.

In truth, with the sheer volume of wine I’ve consumed in the past week, I doubt this bath is going to make much of a difference in my general odor. All I need to do is eat a clove of raw garlic and I’d smell exactly like my downstairs neighbor from Lake Trasimeno in Italy last spring.

Alas, the time has come to extract myself. I have to find food. A car is taking me to the airport in just over an hour.

Oh here’s a bonus What I’ve Learned for you:

Never get on an airplane hungry.

I have 16 hours of flying ahead of me and then serious work to do for the next few days, but regular posting will resume shortly with a full account of the surprisingly strenuous, seven night Patagonia adventure cruise I just concluded.