Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Power of the Cheap Massage--and Where Redding Got His Biscuits Buffed

Everyone says get as many massages as you can while you travel.  When they're $5 each for an hour it makes the advice kind of easy to follow. Our first one was at the end of Khao San Road where we were searching for a "gorgeous teak house" that a friend in San Miguel recommended.  Searched high and low but finally settled for a kind of dirty, rickety plaster house but after a few hours of walking from temple to temple, fending off taxi drivers, we set uncle and sat down.  What you learn quickly is that almost doesn't matter where you go. Someone is going to put you down on a mat, wash your feet with water, and then start to bend, twist and rub you into oblivion.  Then give you a cold cloth and a cup of hot tea and ask for a fiver.  It just can't ever be bad.

The second massage we got at the famous Wat Phrao temple school ,perhaps one of our least favorites and most expensive, but still you have to have one.  It's a huge hall with rows and rows of beds.  Each bed has some sweaty prostrate tourist flopped down with a Thai man or woman crawling over them.  The staff gives you a pair of cotton pants to put on (you never get Thai massaged in the buff), you flop down on a mat with a colorful piece of fabric and a hard pillow, and you get prodded and bent for an hour.  Mason must have really enjoyed his.  As he said when we gathered in the courtyard of this rather fantastic wat, surrounded by gold stupas and multicolored carved dragons, "I haven't had too many massages in my life but that one seemed really good."

The kids got  a third massage in Bangkok's famous Saturday Chatuchak Market, while Sam and I had a huge bowl of tom yong goong soup and a massive plate of pad thai.  Foot massage as babysitter?  Alright.

Two more in Chiang Mai, one at Fah Lanna, the best smelling shop we visited with strong wafts of mentholyptus in the air, and where Redd and I opted for an oil massage. I just wanted someone to rub me, not bend me. So this was the first place we actually took our clothes off, which I guess you do only when you're getting oil applied.  Redd was a bit shocked at first when asked to strip down everything, including his underwear.  He told me, She rubbed my butt cheeks which at first I thought was really weird but then it felt OK.  When she turned me over she came me a little piece of cloth to cover my wiener."  Glad she didn't massage that. 

My masseuse was of some indeterminate sex.  Because he/she/it was vigorously rubbing my bare boobs with oil (another first) I just kept my eyes shut and pretended to like it.

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