Thursday, November 10, 2011

the massage

many of you know that I LOVE massage! prior to leaving for my trip, my body was extra hungry for a set of strong hands to work their magic. I purposely waited until I was away, saving my pennies for the relatively inexpensive luxury abroad. having never tried Thai massage before, I thought to myself where better? for those of you unfamiliar with the technique, it combines gentle stretching and deep pressure massage. honestly, I knew little of it before having it done but was eager to undergo the experience.

upon arriving at my hotel the night before, I asked if they provided massage services. alas, no. however, there was a place just behind the hotel they highly recommended, but they had just closed for the night. I could go tomorrow beginning at 10, they were open until 11.  when, would I choose?  oooo...  so exciting!!!  little did I know what awaited me.

after my delicious lunch, I decided a massage would be the best kind of dessert.  walking back to the gentleman behind the desk who'd suggested I try Robinson's for lunch, indicating the small pamphlet for the massage place recommended the evening before, I kindly asked where they were located.  a smile crossed his face as he walked me out to the smoker's section, (thankfully located outside the hotel), down a path, where I picked up a plumeria-type flower, placing it behind my left ear, suddenly we hit a gate.  he showed me how the hotel key worked in the gate like in my hotel room door, landing us on a small sidestreet.  no more than about 12 steps to the left and we had arrived!  a cloth, rust-colored sign reading "Chiva Chiva" hung, about 2 feet by 2 feet, he opened the door for me and turned back to the hotel.

dark, rich mahogany wood filled the feng-shuied room.  the energy was clean, light, and thinking about it now i am forced to take deeper breaths.  the garments the women wore were beautiful!  again, dark brown silk with gold trim around the waist on the pants, repeated three times.  i was told by my neurologist, i think, if i wanted to have any garments made, the Thai are excellent seamstresses; I'd forgotten this until I saw these uniforms.  I'd be thrilled if I had to wear something like that to work everyday.  Flattering, comfortable, and well made.

By now, in case it's not clear, I've entered the building.  I approach the desk to two women seated, passing two women at the door standing, and another who is at another entryway to the rest of this magical massage kingdom.  Presented with a binder of my options, I'm also given a paper of what is on sale for today and a cup of tea.  Having already looked over the options in my trusty pamphlet given me the night before, I think I already know what treatment I'm going to get, however, no.  I'm lured by one of the specials.  I've already learned to convert to $U.S. I have to divide by 30, however I've been here less than a day, so I'm quite rusty.  Had I gone with my initial treatment option, I'd already done the math, but now I have to start from scratch.  Oh dear.  So I do my thing and I sort it out.  I'm gobsmacked by how inexpensive this country is.  Sign me up for the special!!!!

I am asked to remove my shoes and given slippers, at which point I'm introduced to Sukjai and she introduces me to what I will always remember fondly as the magical massage kingdom.  She leads me into the hallway, up a flight of rich mahogany stairs and into a room where she asks me to undress and get in the shower for 15 minutes, pointing out the shower cap, underwear on the bed and fantastic mahogany furniture where I can place my clothes, and flower.  I think ok, she's asking me to take a shower.  So I do.  Upon getting in the shower, hot hot steam raises from the floor.  I wonder, ooooh, maybe this is why she gave me 15 minutes?  Nevertheless, it's way to hot for me to just stand there.  I wash and eventually get out, dry myself and put on what I feared would be a string pair of underwear, but turns out to be a wonderfully comfortable, mesh pair.  I want to keep them, but can't.

She returns, sees me standing there in a towel, feels my skin, cold, and in broken english somehow I understand that the steam was meant to open my pores. (I suppose because instinctively I knew I was supposed to be hot), so I undress, from the little I'm wearing, and in the 10 minutes she's given me to steam, I steam.  I am not a steamer.  Oooph!  It's hard to breathe in there!  I do it though, somehow.  It certainly isn't my hobby, but if it's what the skin needs pre-massage, it's what I'll do!

When Sukjai and I meet again, she asks me to lie down and she gives me an hour-long full body ginger scrub.  Ohmigod.  Divine.  I can't say I've had a full body scrub before, but I'll definitely have another some time.  After this, she asks me to shower again - to rinse off - during which, she runs me a bath!  I couldn't believe it.  When I got out of the shower and she asked me to get in the bath, jets running, nice and hot, oh, I melted.  Talk about being pampered!  I hadn't even had my massage yet!  What was I doing?  Is this reality?  I must have been in the tub for at least 15 minutes.

When I got out, there was a beigey-tan pair of raw silk Thai PJs ready for me to put on.  Once dressed, another cup of tea.  I mean really.  I'm starting to feel guilty, kind of.  I had a reflexology and calf massage for an hour.  Never does it take long before I'm putty and passed out.  She carried my clothes down the hall to the Thai massage room.  I went to the washroom, almost breaking my toe, not seeing the lip (the floor wasn't flat), breaking my calm for a moment only, then lying on the floor-positioned mat.

Let me tell you, where this tiny woman stored here strength is beyond me.  How she used her body to ease my tension was remarkable.  I kept thinking, maybe it's the technique, a new technique that's more beneficial than anything I've had done before.  After all, she was bending me into pretzel-like shapes and then applying significant pressure.  Fact is, nothing could deny her ability; how she used one finger was more effective than how some individuals use their entire beings.  Hands down this woman had a gift.  I started feeling intense heat towards the end and had no idea where it was coming from.  Eventually I clued in that I'd also signed up for hot stone massage.  Geez!  Some people swear by hot stones, but they're really hot.  Personally, not my thing.

I then got dressed, slowly, of course remembering to put my flower in my hair.  I loved the PJs I'd been given to wear and was curious if they would let me buy them.  Uber comfortable, they would be a special memento to remind me of what would surely be my longest, and likely best massage ever.  I figured I had nothing to lose.

All in all, my magical massage lasted 4 hours.  I kind of bow my head in shame knowing that I was pampered for that long, at once.  There's treating yourself and then there's this.  It was AMAZING.  Sukjai made it amazing.  Chiva Chiva made it amazing.  The feel of their space, high ceilings, the peaceful atmosphere, tea upon arriving, after my bath, and once downstairs, prior to paying the bill.  Finding my final cup of tea and my shoes, I sadly removed my slippers, and sipped my tea while soaking in the atmosphere of the lobby from a relaxed perspective.  PJs in hand, I approached the desk and bravely yet with slight embarrassment ask if the PJs are for sale.  I hear a yes, and smile, replying they will be a special reminder of today.  I choose to keep my explanation simple for the purposes of confusion.  I'm given the price and am most pleased.  My curiosity then delves to explore if anyone as ever purchased them before, to which the answer is no.  I cannot say I am surprised to be the first.  I smile.  :)  Quirkiness is part of who I am.

I pay my bill and do the most important math of the day, appropriate tip amount for Sukjai.  I won't soon be forgetting my new friend.  Any great masseur is a fast friend in my book.  May she be well and may her gift take her places.  Kokumpai Sukjai! 

1 comment: