Getting Thai-ed into a pretzel

Getting Thai-ed into a pretzel

After a long two-week stretch of our TESOL course (no weekend) complete with a two-day exhausting, kid-filled, booger-infested, and amazing English language camp we were finally rewarded with a much-needed three-day weekend. Naturally, being so close to the beach, we spent most of our free days walking barefoot in the sand, narrowly avoiding jellyfish in the bathwater ocean, and sipping on 120 baht (4 bucks yo) pina coladas. It sounds idyllic, and it was, until a monsoon set in of course. Granted, it is the rainy season here in Thailand but the days will trick you with clear skies and sunshine until 2pm and then torrentially downpour with no warning. So we took shelter underneath a makeshift ceiling made of umbrellas and tarps while the storm hit the beach and what I thought was going to be a miserable experience turned out to be one of the coolest things to happen to me here. What was once a beautiful blue ocean turned into a dark gray blob and you could barely tell where ocean ended and sky began. The mountain just to the left disappeared in the dark and it suddenly felt like midnight. Wide rivers were made in the sand and the faces of people across the table from me became hard to make out. Everyone became silent underneath the pellet-like sound of the incredible rain. Half and hour later, the clear blue sky was back, the mountain reappeared, more drinks were ordered and people ran out into the wet sand, eager to return to their games. Ah, Thailand.

While the rain has become commonplace, one thing that still shocks me (pleasantly) is the low cost of everything here. As I write this, I’m digesting a full plate of the best pad thai I’ve ever eaten from the local night market for 35 baht (~1 buck). Today a few of us “splurged” on an hour-long Thai massage and a pedicure for 300 baht (~$9). Now, Thai massage is different than most you would get in the US. It involves the masseuse getting on the table, using elbows and feet to forcefully knead your body, and bend you into yoga-like positions you never thought you could do. I’ve only had one massage in America and I remember it being a relaxing, soothing and pricey experience. Well it was the exact opposite in the best way here.

The masseuse was the most intense Thai woman I have ever met. She was a woman who could probably pass for a lady boy. And not a pretty one. She blatantly said she thinks Americans are loud and talk too much and generally made it clear she wasn’t a big fan of us. So of course I was simply overjoyed she would be doing my massage. For the next hour I was punched, shoved, pulled, and put into multiple tickling frenzies when she attacked my legs. The real kicker was when she kneeled behind me, grabbed my arms over my head, and whirled my body in a circle. It made my back crack so forcefully that she yelled “HOOOYA!” Seriously. The whole ordeal was hilarious, somewhat frightening, and AMAZING. I cringed and laughed and while it was not the most blissful and relaxing time ever, I left feeling really loose, like a human noodle. I also felt like I had just gotten a great workout, although I probably just exerted energy vicariously through the woman. $6 for an imaginary workout and valuable cultural experience? What a steal. Back home that would get me part of a Chipotle burrito. Honestly though, between the massage and the burrito, that’s kind of a hard choice to make at this point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *