A Porteño Pedicure

Warning...Men will not relate to this post at all, let your wives read it instead.

Let me start by quoting a sentence from one of my previous posts...

"Do they have nail salons in BA? I'm sure they do, but who knows when I'll get brave enough to try it out. Of course, it can't be much different than the salon I go to now. I can't understand anything that they say either :)."

Well, today I found out just how different it could be. I arranged a babysitter (Mark had a long distance errand to run) and met up with one of my friends here, Christina. We were excited to be pampered and have some girl time to chat. At least that's what we expected.

We met at a cafe, and I ordered a quick cafe con leche "para llevar" (a very necessary phrase that I've learned that means roughly 'to go'). And we set off in search of this salon that had been recommended by a friend of Christina's. Without kids in tow, we were really able to hoof it, and our anticipation of luxury hurried us along. We were even more excited when we found it. It was a beautiful salon, very chic, and everyone inside looked gorgeous.

"Dos pedicuras, por favor?"


(head nodding - I don't know how to say 'yes, if it is possible')

The gal calls the pedicure floor of the salon, and gets permission to send us up. I can already feel the gossip magazines in my hands, smell the fumes, see the lines and lines of polish choices and was thinking of all I wanted to talk to Christina about until...

At the top of the stairs, we are issued room numbers (really cubicle or stall numbers) and ushered into our very private, very sterile, individual pedicure chambers. Inside was a doctor's office-type folding bed, a very surgical-looking metal tray holding all the the typical pedicure tools, and a chair for the nail tech. That's it. And mirrors all around the cubicles from midway to the top of the wall, so that I could see mirror echoes of myself go on forever as I lay on the operating table. I guess there would be no chit chat or magazine gossip today. What in the world was I in for? Did these people have a medical license? Was I about to get a toe amputated? This is definitely not the bubbly-foot-jaccuzi, social outing that we had envisioned!

"Hello, Christina, can you hear me? Guess I'll see you in the lobby when we're done, hopefully without any stitches or anything!"

"I'm just searching for the stirrups!"

In my mind I'm reassuring myself, "It can't be that different, stop freaking out!"

The gal comes in and sets down her personal Caboodle on the floor, slings it open, and moistens a cotton ball with CUTEX brand polish remover. Seriously. I could have done this at home, sans the creepy sterile cubicle.
This is a picture I tried to take inconspicuously
of her Cutex and Caboodle 'o polish
Then, instead of soaking my feet in a tub, she simply soaked sheets of cotton with that softening acid stuff and applied it to my heels and the balls of my feet. She used the same liquid on the cuticles, and she proceeded to clip my nails while my skin softened. Interesting.

After a fair amount of "softening", she removed the cotton, reached over to her table of tools, and picked up a silver packet the size of a bandaid. (I'm sure my eyes were as big as saucers at this point) She opened it, hooked a sterile razor blade onto what looked like a scalpel, and began scraping the excess skin off of my feet... with a scalpel.  Do not move, do not move, do not move.  Dear God, please help my feet not to be ticklish right now.    

I survived without any nix, but the fun wasn't over yet! She pulled another tool out of her box of goodies. This time it was a mini rotary sander (I have seen these before with acrylic nails) - but she continued to sand my feet with it! She was not going to let me leave with one layer of excess skin on my feet! I'm not quite feeling pampered, but these feet have never been smoother!

Finally, it was time for the color. At home, we're used to walls of choices. Today, she offered me the 15 shades she had in her Caboodle, many of which read Revlon or L'Oreal. Interesting. I chose a nice tangerine red. I had read that orange was the in color for toes, and I felt lucky that it was among her 15. My toes turned out beautiful, and it gave Christina and I a lot to talk about as we ate lunch in our flip-flops.
Finished product!


  1. OMG Sara! I would have had to ask for a step to step explanation of what she was doing with my feet ...not knowing would have brought me to tears! And I thought my massage in Bangkok was strange! Wait, IT WAS strange...but now funny (3 y post) ! lol

  2. Love it! What a fun experience! But, most importantly, it is great to see those Vinnies getting some TLC ;-). I can't wait to hear about the experience of "getting your hair did". Love u and miss u.

  3. THE EXACT same thing happened to me in The Netherlands but without any nail polish -- just the pure clinical stuff. It looked like a dentist chair and I was also a bit frightened!! :-)

  4. Typical American, thought everyone did things the way we do! Finding out everyday how wrong that is...

    Hair is my next hurdle - we'll see! Might have to hire an interpreter for that. Hair color is serious stuff.


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