Special Massage

26 May

I saw more blind people on the street during our time in Chiang Mai then I’ve ever seen before. Mostly in troupes of two or three, busking for change with varying degrees of skill. I feel a little weird about giving money to people on the street, and we’d heard good things about massage by the blind. It can be a viable career for someone who’ visually impaired for obvious reason, and in Thailand they are renowned for giving extra-sensitive, skillful massage – in a country where competition’s pretty damn stiff in that regard. So off we went to the Chiang Mai “Massage by the Blind” Centre, hoping to inject a little tourist cash where it seemed sorely needed.

Note to Travellers: Just because the person giving you a massage is blind, doesn’t mean they are, actually, trained in massage. Despite the fact that they may be in attendance at the Chiang Mai Massage By the Blind Centre. Despite the fact that they are a mature and seemingly experienced woman.

And just because the massage is done in a grotty old faux-leather armchair, with a bit of ancient, dried up Nivea cream to smooth things over, doesn’t mean that the elderly lady wont fleece you out of 100 Baht. Despite the fact that she cackles and gossips in Thai throughout the experience. Despite the fact she yanks on you toes repeatedly, and with obviously glee, but no discernible therapeutic motivation.

It was a bizarre experience as it dawned on me that this was certainly not a massage, but a hilarious joke for this crazy old lady, having a lot of fun at my expense. Hope she spent the money on some new massage oil.

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One Response to “Special Massage”

  1. Dee May 29, 2007 at 3:59 pm #

    As disconcerning as this experience clearly was, I like this story. I hope that is at least some consolation.

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