Sunday, August 8, 2010

Free Radical

Yesterday, I spent the early morning shopping, buying food, etc. In the afternoon, I decided to get a Thai massage not far from here. The closest parlor had a sign that read 'Aroma oils massages by Pretty.' I decided not to take that option, for obvious reasons, and went to the next closest place. There, a Thai man in his early to mid forties spent an hour 'massaging' me. Though it was a legitimate Thai massage, it may have been 'too legit'- in the same way that Thai food is often too spicy for one's digestive tract the first 20-30 times it is consumed. I am still quite sore, but I feel like my body is better because of the experience. A good Thai massage not only involves rubbing muscle tissue, but the attendant basically stretches you using their weight and yours. I can honestly say I now understand what a deep tissue massage is. I broke out in cold sweats at certain points during the adventure....

Today, Aoy took myself and five other students to see several wats (temples), and give early morning offerings of food to local monks. Monks are not allowed to take alms in the form of money, but instead carry large bowl-shaped satchels with lids and accept all sorts of food. In the morning, at the market the good-natured men clothed in robes of bright orange are everywhere. Also, the are many Buddhist nuns at many of the religious sites, with similarly shaved heads, but swathed in all-white. We wai (the polite thai bow) every one of them with a great amount of respect- the discipline required of these devotees is great, probably beyond most people's understanding.
Next we attended the floating market, where I drank cold Thai beer and ate hot, fresh Thai catfish, prawns, bamboo soup, papaya salad, and other tasty treats. We then hopped aboard one of the thin, long, noisy Thai tour boats and rode the canals of Bangkok stopping at a couple of other wats and eating a few other times. I had asked Aoy if she would take me to temples at some point and she promised me she would...that is THE main reason I decided to stay at the Mansion long-term. She told me today that this was the first time she had taken a group on this type of trip. Aoy also bought many of our ferry passes, and bought a meal for everyone, and even a meal for me. It is nice to feel like I have a family here. She said one day that she was like the "Amarin Mansion Mom." I have said it once already, but the kindness of Thai people is often overwhelming. We had a really great group today, though I was the only non-asian (farang) among them. I feel like a giant here sometimes.

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