Manicures & Pedicures in Peru

So this was a very interesting experience I had today. I have had manicures and pedicures in other parts of of the world, but I would say today’s experience definitely takes the cake. Mani’s & pedis in other parts of the world are different from America. Which is to be expected. When I lived in Asia for four months, I never got a decent pedicure. They just don’t do them like we do back in the states. Thai nail salons have the exact same chairs that we do in America, the massage ones with the water basin to soak your feet. But with my experiences, they never actually filled it with water and did not do the entire pedicure experience. Of soaking your feet, cutting the cuticles, getting in and cutting out the ingrown toenails, scrubbing off your callouses. Everything that we are used to getting in America. In Thailand basically they just changed the nail polish and cut down the nails and filed them a little bit. Same with your hands. They only used regular nail polish too no gel. If you had acrylics forget about it. You are in trouble. I have real nails, but I use gel on them. That stuff is hard to get off. They use a tool, kinda like a drill bit. They file it down and then put acetone on it and soak it, then file it off. After living in Thailand for 4 months and not getting a proper pedicure my ingrown toenails were so bad I could barely walk. I didn’t realize what an amazing job my nail tech did back home. Or I guess how bad my toes would get because I usually get one at least every two months. In the states nail techs have to be certified and have a license. So they are trained, in other countries, I have no idea.

So lets get back to my pedicure in Peru. I am staying in a 5 star hotel to research for our writing retreat. I figure this is as good as place any to get a mani pedi, right? I didn’t have time before I left FL because I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off getting ready for my trip. My nails grow really fast. So I figured I will just do it when I get to Peru. Well here I am two weeks into the trip and still haven’t done it. And my nails are super long. So I book the appt yesterday as I am touring the hotel for 2PM today. Excited because I really need this.

I arrive at the spa in the hotel right on time. The receptionist says the masseuse is running behind and I can hang out in the sauna for 10 -15 minutes. Ok cool, but I’m confused. I booked a mani pedi? So she takes me into the lockers and tells me to change into a robe. Um ok, but why I’m I taking off my clothes for a manicure? I comply so I can go to the sauna since I have on velour sweats and a sweatshirt. I go in the sauna and she says I can leave the bathrobe outside. Um no… I didn’t dress for this I came for a manicure… I’m naked under this! So I sit in the sauna in my bathrobe and enjoy the hot coals for about 5-7 minutes. It is nice change from the chilly weather outside in Miraflores winter months. Before this I have been staying at an Airbnb without heat. So this is awesome. Did I mention the hotel has heat in the hallways? However, I get a little too warm and I decide to exit the sauna and go back and put my clothes on to get ready for my mani pedi because I assume I will be sitting in a chair like every other mani pedi I’ve had in 45 years on this planet.

I leave and tell the receptionist I’m going to change and she looks at me weird. But I’m putting my pants back on because this robe will show off my whooha and I need to be properly clothed for this. So they take me into the room and it’s a massage room. And I said I booked a mani pedi and they said yes. Um ok… Where’s the chair? There’s two ladies in there already that only speak Spanish. The receptionist speaks English and is translating. My Spaniglish is so-so. Even after being married to a Nicaraguan for four year and taking it in High School. I really should be better. But with all the face masks it makes it hard for me. I have to read lips and it makes it much harder to understand under the mask since I’m very rusty to begin with.

So they ask me what color I want and lay down the Opi colors on the bed. I choose a dark red. They only had 8 to choose from. I really wanted black but red it is. Then she asked how far to cut them down etc. shape of nail, normal questions, then she exited the room. And I hopped up on the massage table and they started working on taking off the nail polish I already had on. This was just kinda bizarre because you are laying down, only half propped up and can’t really see what they are doing. I’ve had my nails done in a spa before in the states and they never did it like this, but we are in Peru. So I was like lets just enjoy it. And I was for a bit.

So I kinda fell alseep because what else are you going to do laying there on a bed? I had gel on my hands not on my feet. But since this isn’t a nail salon they didn’t have the proper tools to take it off. And I wasn’t paying attention. All I felt was this scrapping on them. And I’m thinking they need the grinder tool. But I guess they know what they are doing right? WRONG. All of a sudden PAIN shot up my pinky finger and I screamed out as she scraped so hard she broke my nail off the nail body, all the way down into the meaty part. Because they were scrapping the gel off and didn’t soak it at all in acetone. I looked at my nails and they are just mutilated. I’m horrified.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! I yelled. This is not how you take off gel. They had scrapped and ruined my nail beds there was practically no nails left. Because my nails were so long they were trying to pull the gel off the ends and were just ripping them. The assistant went out to find the lady that spoke English. It took awhile she must of been on break. During that time I told the other lady, give me the nail file. I told her this is how you take off gel. You have to buff it down first. And I started doing my own nails. I buffed them, got them coarse, then we put the acetone on with the wraps to let it soak so we can file it off later. By the time we finished doing it properly together, the English speaking lady was back.

I explained to her what happened the lady still in the room blamed it on the assistant what happened, but honestly neither one of them knew what they were doing. And my poor pinky was broken badly. Now burning with acetone on it. So she kept working on my toes. Then 10 minutes later a more senior lady came in and she then started working on my hands. I was super nervous, and now I’m paying attention. She took off the first wrap and the other girl tossed the scrapping tool towards her and she ignored it. Got a nail file and started filing off the gel. I sighed with relief. Thank god, someone knows what they are doing here.

She cut my nails, and filed them and even was able to fix my pinky finger. She had the other lady go out and buy super glue. She was top notch. So glad they sent her in. I could finally relax and get my mani pedi after all. Hopefully it will stay together long enough to grow out and heal.

It was over 2 hours already. The other girl left, all my nails are painted and I’m like ok we have to be done here. I’m over this I really just want to go back to my hotel room. Then the lady put cucumbers on my eyes and I’m like oh whats this. Takes my hand and does like a hand massage thing which they will do sometimes at a nail salon, but then she swings my arm over my head, to the back and switches a lever under me, I hear a BOOM and I’m down flat in the massage bed. I’m like OMG is this the happy ending … what is happening. Then she starts stretching my arms and legs and doing a full on body massage.

I can’t see anything I still don’t know what’s going on. I’m glad I have on my face mask because I can’t help but laugh. I’m thinking, is she going to ask me to flip over? I’m I getting a back massage? No my nails are wet. I’m so confused. I have no idea what is happening right now. Then she’s just like, “Ok we done!”

This is hands down the weirdest mani pedi I have ever had in my life. But in the end my nails turned out ok. They didn’t charge me for the mani since they mutilated my pinky and only charged me for the pedi and that unusual happy ending which came to a whopping $36. Would I do it again? Not sure….

*Sorry for any typos in this blog, I’m drinking sangria while I write this.

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