Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pattaya perfection

A good friend who lives in Pattaya during our Canadian winter months recommended we stay at Villa Thongbura for the first few days after our arrival in Thailand. Great advice. With a breezy, comfortable room including aircon, fan, fridge and kitchenette, we felt like royalty – a feeling that was magnified when we swam. Lined with emerald-green tiles and decorated with dragons and dragon-boat sculptures, we swam to erase the humidity. Glorious. With breakfast included, our room was approximately $34.00Cdn.

Today is our friend’s 50th birthday: we treated him to a two-hour massage at his favourite place, Thai Blind Massage Institute. Founded by “Mr. Henri” and “Mr. Sayan” in 1999, the Institute trains and employs blind persons who otherwise wouldn’t have a profession. What surprised Eric and I was all three of us friends were escorted into a shaded, teak-lined room and asked to lie upon Thai teak massage tables. The three masseurs (mine was a masseuse) immediately set to work (I had asked for a gentle Thai massage, knowing they can be quite painfully strong for beginners like me).

I never realized my body could adopt such poses while being massaged – and so the laughter from our friend who has a Thai massage weekly kept me more than a bit curious. Opening my eyes at various intervals, I saw him in several uncomfortable-looking postures including one during which his masseur was seated on his butt, pulling his legs backwards. Another bout of laughter revealed his legs being pulled over his head… little did I know some similar postures would be my immediate future!

That night after dining at Natang’s for French food (the owner’s from Montreal) we took in a ladyboy show featuring the astonishingly beautiful kattoys, Thailand’s well-accepted third sex. Extravagant cabaret-style acts with amazing singing and dance routines were all well-received by the appreciative audience, including us. Reminded us of similar acts we’ve seen in Torremolinos, in Spain’s Costa del Sol.