One of the better parts of living in Southeast Asia are the plentiful and affordable massages. Coming to Thailand, I had to take a bit more of a financial hit for my hour long foot massages: they’re about $5 here.
I knew that my family, and particularly my mother, would be equally appreciative of my new favorite past time. My dad had paid his children to rub his and my mom’s feet, before we were old enough to see through his ploys, ‘generously’ giving us a nickel a minute. Because he was willing to take advantage of his own offspring to do such work at said price, I figured that he would be willing to cough up a bit more to fund familial spa visits.
In order to fly over as cheaply as possible, my family split their larger traveling group into two smaller factions, traveling as groups of three. My mom, along with Joy and Andrew, arrived around 7 am, while my father and his entourage (Maw and Anna) were scheduled to come in around 8 pm.
The course of our afternoon was obvious to us – what better way to pass the time than to show our travel-weary feet a little loving? What we were not aware of, though, was that the experience would also provide full-on entertainment for the afternoon.
Andrew is 10.
This was his first foot massage.
He usually does not let people near his feet. At all.
However, much to our surprise, he fought for his rights to a foot massage, despite my mom’s attempts to dissuade him and his false belief that he would be in charge of funding this experience.
Convinced, but doubting that he would make it through the full 60 minutes, my mother, sister, brother and I settled into the reclining leather chairs at the salon (which I had lovingly tested the day before, just in case).
Looking over, I saw my mom and Joy…
He was a squirming, squealing, oo-ing, ahh-ing mess the whole time. After about thirty minutes, the workers all started remarking about his condition and reactions in Thai. Andrew looked around, realized they were talking about him and that he had no way of knowing what they were saying, and, covering his ears with his hands, announced, “I AM SO CONFUSED!”
The man giving Andrew’s massage was a super good sport and obviously had fun with it as well – he would get ready to poke his victim, but make sure that Andrew saw what he was doing with enough time to nervously anticipate it.
At one point I commented that “this part doesn’t even tickle,” and Andrew, looking very serious for the first time in the last 45 minutes or so, informed me that “he has very, very sensitive feet.” The masseuse suggested that he bite his finger to help him control himself.
After a lot of laughter and a less-than-relaxing but still absolutely wonderful massage, we finally evacuated the salon, still chuckling to ourselves. Andrew had survived the entire massage (he actually got another a few days later), and we had learned yet another lesson in the many things that can be communicated despite our lack of common language!
*All pictures used in this post were candid; while I did not succeed in remembering all of the crazy antics that ensued during this massage, the story has not been embellished in the least.