Fun fact! Hot Springs, AR is the only city that is also a National Park. It is also the home town of one Mr. President Bill Clinton (a wooden sign in the town square depicts the former President as a high school-er playing saxophone).
At some point in history, bath houses were the business. Everyone was nuts about bath houses. I could go into the facts about hydrotherapy, but it's boring and I don't know anything about it (because when I tried to learn I got bored and stopped paying attention to what I was reading). All I know is what happens in bath houses in our modern times.
First, you pay a lot of money. If your travel companion is of the opposite sex, this is the last time you will see that person for a while.
Now that you're broke and alone, they hand you a white bath sheet and tell you to get naked and wrap yourself in it.
And so now you're broke, alone, and naked.
They then take you to a big claw foot tub and you take the white sheet off in front of a stranger called Miss Patty. She makes you stand there in the thickest, most uncomfortable silence of your life while the tub fills with water. Once full, you climb in the tub, and Miss Patty scrubs your body, never once speaking or making eye contact.
She turns on a bubble-maker and you get jostled around the tub for about 20 minutes. Miss Patty comes back and drains the tub. You are then instructed to put the white sheet back on and follow her to another room.
This room looks like the bedroom in the story books about Madeline. A dozen beds lined up on either side of the room, only instead of beautiful cast iron beds like in Madeline, they're vinyl massage tables. Miss Patty will ask if any area of your body is particularly sore. You might say "my back", or "my feet". If you say your back hurts, she will place a wet towel underneath you. This wet towel is hot. It is so hot you might cry a little bit.
After Miss Patty is satisfied with how "relaxed" your sore muscles are, she will take you to a metal booth. I'm fairly certain this booth's original purpose was for beheadings. You sit on a little ledge in the booth, a door which only covers from your shoulders down is closed, then a trap door is lowered over your head. It has a hole cut out so your head will pop through. It will look, to the casual observer, as though a head is resting on a shelf.
Miss Patty will turn on hot steam and make you sit there in your own sweat for an eternity. Maybe 5 minutes. But 5 minutes is far too long, anyhow. From your seat in the metal box, you can watch all the other, equally uncomfortable women shuffle around in their white sheets from station to station.
The last step is to take an ice cold shower. Miss Patty will sit you in a tub of frigid water and turn on the shower. This is the most enjoyable part of the experience.
Once your lips turn blue you are dismissed back to the dressing room and are permitted to leave.
From there we walked around town, had lunch before heading off to the next stop on the list, and...I may have forced Jason to dress up like a cowboy/gangster and take Olde Timey pictures with me...