Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Wrapping Chiang Mai (Part IV) - Ain't nuthin' like gettin' a rubdown from a female Thai convict...

Team Taylor Deportation/Repatriation Countdown

Days left in Singapore: 17

Days left until arrival in the Queen City: 24


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City.  The Bull returned to the great indoors tonight, logging a 5K on the treadmill as well as mixing in a few (still extremely light) weights and some sit-ups.  Next up - a phone call to Balco saying, "I want the Barry special."  Welcome to the gun show, baby!!!!

So before I go into the Chiang Mai wrap tonight, I simply must call out one of the WORST marketing blunders I've seen this year.  Check out the Santa on the cover of the local Expat magazine (called "The Finder").  I mean, the dude is scrawny, he's got a TOOTH missing, AND he's holding a bottle of wine.  Is he filling stockings or knocking off liquor stores?  If you tried to put a kid in that guy's lap, they would scream bloody murder and someone would call social services.  Seriously - he's something out of the underbelly of Gotham.  Only this time I can't "look beyond my own pain, Bruce..."  YIKES.

Let's just say that I'm pretty sure old St. Nickcan confirm that Canadian beer is like moonshine.

But enough of that - let's return to the north of Thailand, where we can finally wrap the adventure that was Chiang Mai.  When we'd last left you, we'd just had a nice $7 massage, all set to the delightful symphony of flying dinosaur trapped in the roof (we later learned it was a pigeon).  We shuffled out of there bed bug free and with a lot of the day in front of us.  Consequently, we did what any red-blooded American tourist would do - hit "The Wall" bar, baby!

So as you might have guessed, "The Wall" is a bar dedicated to Pink Floyd (Rice - I thought about you and must have sang "Wish You Were Here" about 11,000 times), and every drink is named after a Pink Floyd song or album.  They had cocktails like "Pulse," "The Wall," "Wish You Were Here," "Fishbowl," etc.  It was a neat spot, and we knocked a few back whilst the Heavens finally opened, providing some much needed cool air in the city 

We then went home to shower, where Sammy the Bull did something he hasn't done since he was about 8 years old - took a bubble bath in a jacuzzi bathtub, baby!!!!!  Yes, yes - I realize that you all probably want to scrape your eyeballs out now that you've got that image in your brain, but I couldn't resist - I felt like king of my castle.  Nothin' says manly like some pinkish hued bubbles exfoliating and regenerating your skin.  Ahhhhh - it's even better than being zestfully clean.

The evening was spent at the Sunday markets, which were actually quite fantastic.  CM hosts a "night market" 7 days a week, and Jenny and I had already plowed through that.  This market, however, involves them SHUTTING DOWN THE MAIN ROAD of the town for 6 hours every Sunday whilst salesmen of all shapes and sizes come out to play.  We had eaten some pad thai at The Wall, but that didn't stop us from CHOWING DOWN at the street vendors.  Nancy - it was sort of like a mini (okay, VERY mini) Shilin Night Market.  Let me just say banana spring rolls = SO GUUUUUUUUUUUUD...peppy cheekies.

We capped the evening off the way anyone should - a THIRTY MINUTE FOOT MASSAGE ON THE STREET.  That's right, baby - picture endless rows of seats in the open air where folks are just getting a quick rubdown for the bargain price of....$2.  I mean, my dude was TERRIBLE, but how do you argue with two bones?  And best of all, there was live music playing across the street, and when the guy started belting out "Country Roads, take me home," all was right with the world.
It doesn't really get much better (or cheaper) than this.
High on life, we stopped into the Chiang Mai saloon once again, and just as we're about to head out, who do we see but...wait for it...wait for it...you guessed it - THE BELGIAN couple!  They were supposed to be in Laos, but as they'd slept in and missed their bus, they were enjoying the sites and sounds of CM one last night.  And so we knocked a nightcap back with them, said farewell (again - but this really was the last time as fate would have it), and then rolled back to the casa, sacking out between 12:30 and 1.

On Monday we got up with the goal of a final ice coffee, seeing a wax monk, and then getting a massage from a convict.  The ice coffee was procured easy enough, as was the viewing of the (truly creepy) wax monk - it was like a scene out of Waxwork.  I kept waiting for David Warner to put his hand on me and say, "Would you like a closer look?"  But then, all distractions now removed, it was time to get to the correctional facility and get the kinks worked out.

JT says thumbs up to cheap rehabilitation - I honestly want to
make SO MANY Borat references here right now I can't
stand it, so I'll just quite typing.
So here's the deal - CM hosts one of Thailand's female prisons, and theirs is reserved for those who are convicted of "not so violent" crimes.  I never really got a description of what a "not so violent" crime was, but I assumed that "shanking my husband whilst he slept" probably isn't a misdemeanor in any country, meaning I was reasonably safe here.  Anyhoo, as part of the rehabilitation program, these gals learn various skills, one of which is Thai massage (they also learn to cook, brew coffee barista style, etc).  A 1 hour massage was only $6, and let's face it - the story of surviving one of these is just EPIC.  And so, with that in mind, JT and I rolled up to the prison.  WOW.

So seriously - guard towers?  Check.  Barbed wire?  Check.  Dudes with guns?  Check.  Attendant taking your name dressed in a guard uniform?  Check.  And the second we rocked up, there were two ladies ready to start work.  I was so excited I could barely contain myself, and I gotta tell ya - it was AWESOME.  This was seriously THE BEST massage we had in CM, and almost as good as any we've had in Thailand.  The ambiance, however, could use a little work.

Obviously they can't have any valuables laying around for insurance purposes, so you have to lock everything up and keep your key right by your ear.  Also, because guards are watching the whole thing, the lights are BLINDING in the room (it's a big room with about 25 of us getting worked on).  And lastly, you have to change clothes into "massage gear."  Now granted, I"m used to this, but this set of clothes was like NOTHING I'VE EVER SEEN.  It was the most complicated outfit EVER, and neither Jenny nor myself could figure out what tied to what (it was basically like assembling a straightjacket from scratch).  Consequently, we walk out like two characters from "The Mummy Returns," at which point the inmates start giggling.  They then proceed to "re-wrap" us, which is fine for me because I'm a dude.  For Jenny, however, they basically open the front of her shirt WIDE OPEN and begin retying and moving things around.  It was, well, HILARIOUS. 
The wax monk of "Famous Wat."  Rice - this is the part where you say, "Hey, Llama!  How aobut a little somethin',
you know, for the effort!"

We then lay down, and the ladies do their magic.  There was a bit of talking, but on the whole it was very relaxing.  Well, except for the dude beside me who was PROPOSITING THE INMATE MASSAGING HIM.  Seriously, this Aussie cat was chatting that Thai bird up as if she was gonna be moving to Melboure in about 6 to 9 months.  The snippets I remember her saying:

"Yes, you can visit me in the prison.  You don't have to keep coming back here."

"Visitation is 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, but you can't visit me on weekends.  You can stay as long as you want during that time." (note - there was definitely a mumble about a private room in here somewhere)

"You are coming back to visit me at Christmas, yeah?"

Now I have no idea what all was going on, but needless to say it heightened the entire experience for me.  As did the moment when the gal massaging me grabbed my neck and swing it like a baseball bat.  POP goes the weasel.  But it did feel good.  She also folded me up like a Bavarian pretzel about 5011 times (Nanny - that was for you), so I left ther quite the limberneck (also a shout-out to my Gainesville posse).

After that it was back to the hotel, where we grabbed our luggage and rolled to the airport, at TERRIFIC vacation in the books.  We landed back in Sing Sing in time for (where else?) dinner at Wine Connection before calling it a night.  After all, we were leaving for Railay in 42 hours!

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print.  Chat tomorrow!


Sam and (most likely staring at the Taj Mahal right now in Agra!) Jenny (and Cath)

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