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Detox Frenzy

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Living in this depressing, almost mental society exacerbated by daily pollution contributed by hoards of rust- infested buses nowadays is a huge challenge. That thick black smoke coming from their exhaust pipe that makes you half blind and say: 'Yikes!' when you clean your nose in front of bathroom mirror later on; that can be classified as one pollutant, right?

Not to mention that escaping the city hustle and bustle to the beach or mountain retreats every weekend is also almost a total waste of both time and energy because of the long stationary driving or the endless waiting in the airport lounge for the delayed flights. As soon as you step into the resort you find the same people carrying the same diseases from the same city congesting the lobby already. And you can't avoid hearing their soulless conversations that automatically send warnings and make your ears flap and itch like: "Great to see you here, John. I can't wait to discuss the coming IPO session next week. How far do you think the shares are going to jump? Should we manipulate it?" Aaaargh!

You definitely expect a different kind of manipulation at that stage.

Even when you walk into the spa centre, the masseuse who's supposed to be giving you a relaxing massage continuously whinges about how she wishes the political situation in the country would improve so she can get more tips from the guests like before. Nevertheless, she doesn't forget to mention how her husband ran away and left five kids to feed behind.

Then you start to feel your head pound, your blood rush in all directions, your lungs gasp for carbon-monoxide-free air and beads of sweat appear on the T-areas of your face.

You think that you need help. You feel like a pathetic walking zombie who's got slightly too much stuff going on in your head.

Sitting with Jenny at a hot club in Jakarta last weekend, listening to a crappy band from Australia who were singing crappy songs with the weirdest accent I had ever heard, I watched her gulping her fifth margarita.

"You should be careful with the salt Jenny, it's bad for your heart," I told her, seriously concerned.

"Yea, it's okay, I have made an appointment for a detox treatment tomorrow. I'll be back fresh and have my cheeks glowing as healthy as a newly born baby within two days."

Wow, what's that, David Copperfield's latest magical trick? That'll make half of the aging population in the world go nuts!

Reading the latest edition of Marie Claire magazine one morning (I bought it only because it's got a detox article in it), now I have a little bit more understanding of what the treatment really is.

Basically, according to the magazine, the doctors need to test your body liquids like urine, large amount of saliva and blood samples to determine the level of destruction and poisons in your body's principal organs and biological system.

A few days, or weeks - depending on how squandered your body condition is - of shocking diet regime is applied to dispose of your body's accumulated toxins created by a daily stressful lifestyle, polluted environment and trashy food.

The first day of the detox treatment is the hardest part. If you can't take it, that's it - pack your bags and go home. For the first 24 hours, you are only allowed to drink purified water and watered down juice, while some fibrous veggies are given on the second day - no, you can't eat the half cooked carrots and celery with your favourite 99% saturated fat dips.

Dizziness, nausea and temptation to commit suicide (likely to happen after one short phone call to a friend who's partying at a bar downtown) are probably the most common side effects during this body cleansing process.

And, after you finish the program, you are obliged to avoid eating certain foods including cheese, milk, egg, soy, corn, wheat, gluten products and meat for the rest of your life. Ha! I couldn't stop laughing reading this. The list basically mentions almost all the edible, energy boosting yummy stuff I can't imagine living without! What can you eat then? Organic weeds? Maybe they're healthier. We only have to put up with the angry mob of underfed and unemployed cows, chickens and their gangs.

Well, is it necessary to insert this detox regime - after Michel Perry's knee high red boots, of course - in your 'this season must have' long list? It's your call.

Some people find it an easy way-out to achieve a toxic-free plus younger (so they say) body system. It gives them some extra confidence. Hey, living in this current noxious environment, if somebody tells me that sticking cow dung on my forehead will prevent me from catching any diseases (some people in a small village in East Java reportedly believe in it) - I will not even think twice to do that either!

Yesterday I met up with Jenny for our ritual Wednesday lunch.

"Don't you notice something different about me?" Jenny asked excitedly. What? New nose job? Tell you the truth, I couldn't see anything.

"My detox specialist told me that now I'm biologically a 25 year old woman. So I am biologically five years younger than I was three days ago," she explained while chewing her greasy bacon-infused spaghetti carbonara, with her left hand clasped around her second glass of double baileys.

First published in The Jakarta Post on Sunday, September 17, 2000

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

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