Today was a landmark day for me. I was groped, prodded and manhandled by the Thai version of Rolling Stone’s Keith Richards at the Thai massage school at Wat Pho in Bangkok. The craziest part was, I loved it. And for all your Seinfeld fans out there: it didn’t move. Lindsay and I went to view the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho today (much more impressive than it sounds) and decided to give Thai massage a shot. Don’t be fooled, Thai massage isn’t your mother’s kind of massage. These folks wring you like a dishrag, stretch you like a rubber band and dig into you as if they were tenderizing a steak for the grill. You even pay for it, in fact I tipped the guy.
Apparently, Thai massage started out as a component of Thai medicine developed by the Buddha’s physician and used mainly by monks. Influenced heavily by the Chinese, it was used as a component of Thai medicine. It was kind of like today’s antibiotics. The idea is that it will improve your blood circulation. If improved blood circulation makes you feel like you’ve been put on a strong pain killer and gives you the munchies, then it worked (see food photo).
The food we decided on came from a street vendor near Wat Pho. I had been dying to try food from one of these folks, but was just too afraid of the possible repurcussions. It felt a lot like one of those times that I almost got a tattoo, but just wasn’t brave enough. But this woman’s food looked safe. It was also very, very good.
We moved on up the Chao Phraya River by water taxi and walked around a market in a small town north of Bangkok. Shopping in this town is a lot like the background in a Flintstone’s cartoon. If you look at it long enough it all starts to look the same, just a circular reel of similar goods. But no matter, every corner promises another good deal on some knock off brand or some unbelievably scrumptious food.
Bangkok has been a real treat, but we are ready to split. We pick up our processed E-2 Visas at the Korean consulate tomorrow and then hop an overnight train to Chiang Mai for a few days. There I am putting Lindsay in a cooking class while I find a Mick Jagger look-alike to rub me down for an hour.