A Very Special Thai Angel
So many of the postings on this site are stories of misfortune or misadventure with Thai women so I will share a positive short story of some of the time I shared with one special lady that I know in Krungthep – let's just call her Sunissa.
It was during a brief stopover of a few days in Krungthep on my way to Chiang Mai so I rode a tuk-tuk from Pratunam to Thaniya one Sunday evening in August 2007 to check out the scene and to find a decent place to have a proper Thai massage. There were
things I needed to get straight in my head.
Sunday evening and Soi Thaniya is not very busy as I wander down sizing up the Japanese bars, trying to decide if I will try my luck – but I just keep walking until I get to the end of the soi and then I turn into Suriwong where the pedestrian traffic is heavier. This is a part of Krungthep where I seldom go – part of the Patpong bar scene which has never really appealed to me, yet here I am. The traffic on Suriwong is really heavy and a storm seems to be closing in. Five or six doors along there is a massage studio where three girls are sitting on stools outside the main door.
"Welcome, you like massage?"
One girl in particular catches my eye as she sits on the left. I look at her lovely smile but it is her eyes that I cannot ignore – almost at once I pick her as a Japanese lady. She has all the Japanese beauty and her voice is soft and soothing. I look at her and smile.
"Yes, of course, I would love to – korp-khun-krup!"
She wais me and I return the courtesy then she opens the door and welcomes me inside then leads me to a recliner chair where she takes off my shoes and socks then proceeds to wash my feet with a bowl of warm water and soap, carefully drying me with a clean towel. Then she presents me with a pair of slip-ons and leads me up a flight of stairs to the next level. She asks me how long I wanted for a massage so I ask if two hours would be OK.
She said that was fine and we went into a small room that was mostly occupied by two large Fuji mats pushed together – with dim lighting and air-conditioning. She left a change of clothes on the Fuji mats and asked me to change and said she would be back in a few minutes. When she returned I was changed into the loosely-fitting top and bottom and I asked her name.
"My name is Sunissa – welcome, I look after you."
"Hello Sunissa, I am Mark – pleased to meet you."
She just smiled at me and leaned forward and gave me a light kiss on the forehead.
She began by asking me to lie face-down on the Fuji mat – standard practice for traditional Thai massage and it didn't take long for me to realize that this lady really knew what she was doing. The only other Thai massage that has even come close to the way Sunissa worked was when I used to go to a studio on Petchburi Road where I always asked for Khun Daw, a graduate from Wat Pho. Sunissa was even better than Khun Daw and I have had many, many Thai massage sessions so I know what to expect.
The storm that had been approaching had finally begun to drop rain onto Patpong and you could hear the water running in the downpipes outside. Sunissa worked methodically on all parts of my feet, legs, back, shoulders, arms and hands before she asked me to turn over onto my back and then she began to work on my legs and feet. As I lay there watching her work I couldn't help but look at her as often as I could without making her feel uncomfortable – and each time I looked at her she looked back at me and smiled. She really was a gentle and beautiful soul.
"Sunissa, do you have a family in Krungthep?"
"Yes, my son lives with me in my condo and my mother looks after him sometimes when I have to work. I also have a brother who lives near my mother's house. My son also spends some time with my ex-husband who now has a very rich wife."
"And how about you, Khun Mark, do you stay in Krungthep for long?"
"I came here yesterday from Australia and have to fly to Chiang Mai on Wednesday because I have a lady in Chiang Mai. We have been together, on and off, since 2004 but I'm not sure what is happening with our relationship right now and I need to go and talk with her. She is a lovely lady and I do love her. I also was once married to a Thai lady but we are now divorced and she lives in Australia with her two children. We are just good friends now."
"Oh, where in Thailand does she come from?"
"She is from Surin and her two children are from a marriage to a Thai man but they were divorced when I met her. Now she and the two luksao are Australian citizens and she has a good job there."
Sunissa smiled at me as she continued to work and I couldn't help but think how lovely she looked – the way she moved, the touch of her hands – and I knew then that I wanted to talk some more with this lady. She generated a feeling of peace and it spread to me – just being near her made me feel totally at ease and peaceful. The two hours passed quickly and the rain seemed to have eased off by the time we finished, then she brought me a cup of warm Chinese tea into the room and we sat and talked for a short while.
“Sunissa, can I ask you something?”
“What do you want to ask, Khun Mark?”
“Sunissa, you look like Japanese lady – when I see you first I think you are Japanese person.”
She just smiled.
“Everybody think I Japanese – Japanese don't like me, I think it's my eyes. No, I am Chinese/Thai – my father from Hunan Province.”
“Well, I think you are beautiful – suay pooying.”
She wai'd me and said korp-khun-ka.
"Will you be working tomorrow? I would like to come and see you again."
"Yes, I start work at 11 a.m. and you can come any time after then."
I gave her a good tip before we went downstairs to pay the cashier and she raised her hands to her face in a lovely wai.
Then she leaned forward and gave me a gentle kiss.
We went down and I paid the cashier and Sunissa saw me to the door and we wai'd each other then I turned and went out into the rain and tried to hail a taxi in Suriwong – but nobody was interested in a fare to Pratunam. I then walked through to Silom Road and managed to find a tuk-tuk driver who was willing to take the fare for 120 Baht. I soon found out why nobody was keen to take a fare. Traffic was banked up everywhere as the police had traffic held up because His Majesty, The King, was expected to pass along Rama IV around this time. But it was OK once we got across Rama IV and into Ratchadamri – still heavy traffic but moving.
Back at the soi next to The Indra Arcade it was obvious this was a severe downpour Krungthep had just experienced – water was several inches deep up to the entrance to The Baiyoke Tower but I paid the tuk-tuk driver and managed to find a way to the hotel entrance without getting my shoes full of water. The afternoon-evening market-stall holders in the soi outside the two Baiyokes had fared very badly as almost all of the stalls were flooded out to a depth of at least half a metre and people were everywhere trying to ferry out their goods in taxis, pick-ups or even tuk-tuks. I felt really sorry for these people as I know how hard it is to make a living at market stalls. It would be a bad night for market people.
The next evening I rode the bus to Sala Daeng, had a Subway snack and a bia Singha then walked through Thaniya to see Sunissa. She came down and met me, taking me upstairs to prepare for the massage. As before, it was just right. We finished at 7 p.m. and I asked if she had eaten.
"We go now – I take you to place I go – but first we go to wat. Is that OK?"
I leaned forward and gave her a light kiss.
"Of course that's OK. I go with you everywhere."
We walked across Suriwong and turned right toward Rama IV then left and then right again before turning left into Rama IV, walking toward Hualamphong. Sunissa explained to me that she comes here to Wat Hualamphong every week to make merit and give donation to a fund that pays for the funerals of those who die in road accidents when the families do not have money to pay.
"I give part of all my tips each week to donate here because some people have no money to take care of loved ones who die."
A feeling of inadequacy swept over me and I felt that I was in the presence of a great person – much better than me.
She took my hand and led me into the reception area where we sat down and filled out donation forms and paid our money. I gave her extra money to give and I gave a donation of my own. Then she took me into a large room where there were all these empty coffins waiting to be used for some poor unfortunate person who had died on Krungthep's roads and family have no money to pay for a funeral. She showed me how to attach the stickers with our names to the side of a coffin and then we went outside and bought incense to make prayer offering in the temple. This was a very moving thing to be doing and it affected me profoundly. This woman is a very good person and my respect for her has grown immensely.
After leaving the wat we walked down Rama IV to the junction with Silom Road and turned right toward a row of kerbside food vendors where we sat at a table and had a meal of Chinese noodles.
"You like Chinese food?", she asked.
"This is different – but it's fine," I replied.
I smiled at her and she smiled back.
On the way back to her work we stopped at a clothing salon and I talked her into buying a pair of jeans and a top. She was hesitant at first but I told her the shop was having a sale and the price was good. She agreed and was very pleased with the goods. I walked back to her studio with her and said I would see her tomorrow.
I have known Sunissa for nearly 4 years now and, being a Farang, there have been times when I have been less tolerant of situations than I am now in Thailand.
Sunissa explained to me how she sees things.
"Darling, God wants to play a game and he gives me a little problem to see how I manage. I can say 'OK, I will play the game' or I can say 'no thank you, I don't wish to play that game' – and the choice is mine. You see, life is like that and you have all these choices but you only play the game if you want to. God is good and he understands but he wants to test us – and we need to understand that."
I listened to her and I thought what a beautiful way to look at things. Oh, Sunissa, if only I had met you when I first came to Thailand. You truly are such a beautiful, gentle soul and I feel so small beside you. The way she sees life is so magical and so powerful in the way she relates to other people. I know she is such a very special person and I will try to be supportive of her in every way I know. She is changing the way I have always seen things and I have much to learn from her.
The temple Sunisa took you to is very popular for Thais to make donations to and is open late, maybe even 24 hours.
Did she really kiss you on the forehead the first time you met her? I have never heard nor seen that happening in that setting.