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Méli-Mélo offers spa products representing the four elements: fire, earth, air and water

I was strolling along the passageway leading to Le Fenetre Soleil café on Ly Tu Trong Street in Ho Chi Minh City when I spotted some cute-looking soap, candle holders and crystals through the window of a new shop.

Full of curiosity, I entered Méli-Mélo in anticipation of finding something that would surprise me.

The range of soap grabbed my initial attention. It was elegant, in natural tones like sand and vanilla, and smelled good with soothing and relaxing fragrances.

Kazue Kinjo, the shop's owner, started Méli-Mélo two months ago after working for 14 years as a tax consultant in Vietnam. She has a chance to meet many more people in her new business and that makes her happy.

She said the products on her shelves represented the four elements: fire, earth, air and water.

"Each product here represents one of these four elements. For example, a candle holder stands for fire, stone for earth, salt for water and oil for air," Kinjo said.

In her words, they "bring you back to yourself and your spirit. And then you can be comfortable with who you are."

Kinjo said that all her stock was handmade, most of it in Vietnam.

As I browsed her wares, I noticed soap with the fragrance of cinnamon or macadamia, a candle holder made of sand, and massage oils and Himalayan bath salts with the fragrance of grapefruit, rose, leaf or seed, as well as plain.


44 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

In one corner was a colorful crystal cluster for decoration or for feng shui.

Besides these indulgences, Méli-Mélo has a foot massage parlor upstairs. Kinjo said she found it energizing to have her feet massaged.

After a long day walking around the center of HCMC, it was pleasant to relax in a rooftop room in a contemporary Zen atmosphere created by dark walls and dark wooden beams.

Together with tiny lights from the roof to warm up the room, there was a Himalayan salt light that is said to purify air.

First I soaked my feet in a basin of hot water for five minutes to unwind, then the massage chair was adjusted so that I could lie back in comfort.

A therapist washed my feet and wrapped them in towels, and placed a warm, long pillow stuffed with tiny warm beans around my neck.

Leaning back, I could feel the beans working their magic on my neck. That was my favorite part of the massage as it was the first time my neck had been automatically treated in such a simple yet effective way.

It was more than just a foot massage. After 50 minutes of attending to my feet, the therapist massaged my shoulders, neck and head for 25 minutes. It pepped me up no end and made me ready and eager for my next engagement in town.

Next door to Méli-Mélo is a pretty shop of jewelry, designed by Kinjo herself, such as earrings, and necklaces of beads, stones, pearls and other materials. The shop also makes jewelry to order.

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