In the relative cool of midnight, Seo Seok-gu’s workers break the seals on the kilns and, using long steel hooks, drag out what remains of the oak logs that were inserted a week before and have by now turned into smoldering charcoal. The temperatures inside the clay domes reach up to 1,400 degrees Celsius. […]
Later that day, Mr. Seo’s ovens are packed with something new: people, who huddle inside where the temperature still hovers around 200 degrees Celsius (nearly 400 Fahrenheit), so hot that synthetic clothes are banned because they can melt. For two days the kilns provide heat baths for visitors. Then, another cycle of charcoal production begins. […]
For a while, said Seo Jong-won, 37, Mr. Seo’s son and the manager of the complex, “we were making more money from people sitting in our kilns than from selling charcoal.”
If the numbers are to be believed, that’s nearly double the air temperature of a Scandinavian-style sauna! I’ll make no further jokes about the sweltering Texas summer heat.
(On a side note, I like the Romanized word for Korean-style spas: Jjimjilbang)