Wat Po Massage
I reported last time to all and sundry on this 'ere Stickman site about my doings one year ago – a brief recap here – I went to Bangkok in August '06 from the UK and attended two massage courses at Wat Po, and had a great time doing the course, meeting people and as well picked up a Thai 'guide' who in fact was very good and she showed me things I never would have seen without her assistance (including her apartment). I then went home to Australia, boohoo. Boohoo because being back home meant I had to extract the digit and actually earn a living again after 6 months of swanning around. Had such a great time and I couldn't wait to get back to Thailand.
So, this August I went on another trip to Bangkok and another course at Wat Po. This was an oil massage course and for those interested is a procedure you don't actually find in Bangkok massage houses (I never did anyway) – very balanced and relaxing and not a bit sexy! When compared to the relaxation massage I learned here in Oz, the Wat Po massage is superior and of course the Thais are not so up themselves about personal privacy when on the table so it is somewhat more relaxed on that score alone.
In such courses you get to meet people from all over, so on this one there was a lass from Sweden, another from Portugal, a young bloke from Singapore, another from Pakistan, ladies from Thailand but living in UK, Paris and Yokohama, and even some from Thailand! All with a story to tell and very interesting it is (for an old Aussie at least).
During the course it was reinforced on me that for Thai ladies the mobile phone RULES. The story is as follows. The school is organised so that you have a partner and you alternately give each other massages during the day. Next day you normally have a different partner but not necessarily, depends on 'new starts' for that day. On this day a Thai lady whom I called Miss Thailand (she liked that) – you know the type, tall, straight back, erect posture, head held high, solid but lean, vivacious and confident – she's having a massage by her partner for the day (another Thai lady of similar ilk, but not quite the Miss Thailand status). I'm on the next table massaging my partner for the day, a Thai lady but her home is in Yokohama, so I'm close to the pair next to me.
It happened on that particular morning that Miss T was showing a photo or two from her wallet and I noticed a pic of the boyfriend amongst them. She showed this to me and the bloke was obviously a farang which I commented on, adding "English?". "Yes" she said, and went on to tell me the story about him – 26 years old and she's waiting for the visa and then it's off to the UK to join him.
Anyway, we are all massaging away and a mobile rings. Hard to say where it is, and I'm concentrating on my massage anyway, expecting the annoyance to stop ringing soon and take a message. No such thing and what actually happens is that the teacher rushes up, retrieves the thing from a handbag and hands it to Miss T. The massage goes on.
A five minute conversation ensues, with Miss Thailand saying not much. I can hear a male voice speaking in Thai doing most of the talking. At the end of the conversation a long loud moan is heard from Miss Thailand, followed by bouts of weeping. This is rather upsetting for reluctant onlookers because she was obviously in some pain. Turned out the visa department was on the phone and she would not be getting her visa anytime soon. I thought 'get used to it, you're setting yourself up for a lot more pain in the years to come'. Perhaps I'm being harsh, but I get the impression from this site at least that it is somewhat less than half the time that these farang / Thai relationships last 'forever'.
Also interesting in this particular situation was that the lady massaging Miss T had already married her UK bloke and was flying off to the UK the day after the exam. They were doing the massage course to add to their potential employment prospects it seemed. Both spoke some English but were set to start lessons as soon as they arrived in their new home.
Also good when in Thailand are cooking classes. I went to one which was terrific (turned out to be only people from Down Under – Oz and NZ) and this is also a great way to meet people, as well as have some magnificent food which is organised as a complete meal. This is a point that I had not experienced previously in Thailand – I'm interested to see what a Thai family might sit down to at an evening meal or perhaps Sunday lunch – does it equate to the 'set' menu we have in Oz e.g. soup followed by main course followed by desert followed by beverages, accompanied all through by wine perhaps?
On the subject of food, Mrs. Yokohama took me to lunch on a couple of occasions during classes. There was a problem of language here – neither of us could speak a word of the other's language, but we did manage to share the food. I took great care to fish out those things that she did to the side of the plate, as the food was not the usual fare I'd been buying on the street. Later in class the teacher informed me I'd been eating genuine Isaan dishes. Some a little confronting I have to say. Mrs. Y approached the task of eating with the usual Thai lady determination and finished off everything in sight, certainly ate more than I did.
So there you go, lots of fun and entertainment plus, all the time, in Bangkok!
While it’s not my thing, women love to get good massage and I am sure that anyone doing one of these Wat Po massage courses would get “a return on their investment”!