Toes and genetic defects

It was almost a year ago when we were heading off to Thailand on what was to be my first overseas holiday.  I kept a journal and had every intention of typing it up for this blog but then I got sacked, had to find a new job, moved house and found a few other things to deal with like putting the blog into stealth mode for months because of some strange visitors.   Anyway, it’s a year on and I thought I would commence to post some of the stories of the trip.   Here is the first.

4th February 2008
…on return to the hotel this afternoon we decided to have a massage special for 200 baht for an hour.

As luck would have it all the young masseuses were already busy so I got the matriarch of the crew.   Now whilst she didn’t look like another well known Melbourne matriarch [she had two eyes for a start] she shared her penchant for inflicting pain.

This commenced with a foot massage – toes ripped from sockets, feet bent indirections they were never intended to go, pressure points found in spots where I thought there was only skin.

It was totally silent in the room, the other six women who were being worked on all appeared to be in relaxed states of sleep or unconsciousness.   The only sound were my grunts of pain or squeals when a finger found a particularly sore spot.

Every now and then she would stop and say something in Thai which I’m sure meant “Have a listen to this wuss”, or, “Get a load of his weird little toes.”   And all the other masseurs would burst out with huge belly laughs.

Just when I thought it was getting safe again she told me to roll over.  Now no one ever told me that a Thai foot massage meant that a Thai woman would walk up and down your back digging her feet into your spinal cord.  I flet like Id been run over by a tuk tuk.

************************************************
A couple of weeks later we had moved onto Chang Mai and decided to have another massage.  Time hadn’t made the heart grow fonder but had certainly dulled the memory of the pain of the first one.  This time we were seated in chairs and it was a couple of young blokes who worked on us, just as painfully.  But what I remember most is that when I took off my shoes the bloke working on me looked at my toes, nudged the guy next to him, said something I couldn’t understand and they both burst out laughing.  Are they really that weird?

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Toes and genetic defects

It was almost a year ago when we were heading off to Thailand on what was to be my first overseas holiday.  I kept a journal and had every intention of typing it up for this blog but then I got sacked, had to find a new job, moved house and found a few other things to deal with like putting the blog into stealth mode for months because of some strange visitors.   Anyway, it’s a year on and I thought I would commence to post some of the stories of the trip.   Here is the first.

4th February 2008
…on return to the hotel this afternoon we decided to have a massage special for 200 baht for an hour.

As luck would have it all the young masseuses were already busy so I got the matriarch of the crew.   Now whilst she didn’t look like another well known Melbourne matriarch [she had two eyes for a start] she shared her penchant for inflicting pain.

This commenced with a foot massage – toes ripped from sockets, feet bent indirections they were never intended to go, pressure points found in spots where I thought there was only skin.

It was totally silent in the room, the other six women who were being worked on all appeared to be in relaxed states of sleep or unconsciousness.   The only sound were my grunts of pain or squeals when a finger found a particularly sore spot.

Every now and then she would stop and say something in Thai which I’m sure meant “Have a listen to this wuss”, or, “Get a load of his weird little toes.”   And all the other masseurs would burst out with huge belly laughs.

Just when I thought it was getting safe again she told me to roll over.  Now no one ever told me that a Thai foot massage meant that a Thai woman would walk up and down your back digging her feet into your spinal cord.  I flet like Id been run over by a tuk tuk.

************************************************
A couple of weeks later we had moved onto Chang Mai and decided to have another massage.  Time hadn’t made the heart grow fonder but had certainly dulled the memory of the pain of the first one.  This time we were seated in chairs and it was a couple of young blokes who worked on us, just as painfully.  But what I remember most is that when I took off my shoes the bloke working on me looked at my toes, nudged the guy next to him, said something I couldn’t understand and they both burst out laughing.  Are they really that weird?

A Taste of Thailand

Hi all,
Monday 5:20pm here and we’re in Sukothai which is in the Central north of Thailand about 6 hours from Bangkok. Hot and humid, must be hell in the wet season. I’m going to keep this brief but have written a journal approaching 40 pages of notes so far and taken around 2000 photos in the first week.

Having a fantastic time. People are beautiful and the groups we have been with have also been great. Last week was spent with a bunch of Aussies and one Canadian in the west of the country. Had our farewell dinner with that group last night which is always sad and have commenced the journey this week with a whole new group of people – 4 Aussies, 3 girls from the UK, one from Chicago and a swiss couple.

Tomorrow we are on a bike ride around the ruins of the ancient Thai capital of Sukhotai and after that head up to the Chiang Mai area for a few days. Couldn’t get into Ko Samet so have booked internal flights and 4 days down at Krabi. Connecting flight takes us back to the International Airport in Bangkok at 4pm on Thursday of next week before catching the flight back home at 9pm arriving back in Melbourne at 9am on Friday.

Highly recommend travelling with Intrepid. We’ve got a great local tour guide who is absolutely lovely and we’ve been lucky enough to have her again this week. Everything has run like clockwork and we have enough spare time to go exploring or chill if we want to. This is not a 5 star tour so we are in guest houses with squat toilets in some cases and travelling on local transport which has been a great way to experience the country. I don’t think I’d want to travel any other way.

I look forward to posting more when I get back and have really missed all of you blogging buddies.

A Taste of Thailand

Hi all,
Monday 5:20pm here and we’re in Sukothai which is in the Central north of Thailand about 6 hours from Bangkok. Hot and humid, must be hell in the wet season. I’m going to keep this brief but have written a journal approaching 40 pages of notes so far and taken around 2000 photos in the first week.

Having a fantastic time. People are beautiful and the groups we have been with have also been great. Last week was spent with a bunch of Aussies and one Canadian in the west of the country. Had our farewell dinner with that group last night which is always sad and have commenced the journey this week with a whole new group of people – 4 Aussies, 3 girls from the UK, one from Chicago and a swiss couple.

Tomorrow we are on a bike ride around the ruins of the ancient Thai capital of Sukhotai and after that head up to the Chiang Mai area for a few days. Couldn’t get into Ko Samet so have booked internal flights and 4 days down at Krabi. Connecting flight takes us back to the International Airport in Bangkok at 4pm on Thursday of next week before catching the flight back home at 9pm arriving back in Melbourne at 9am on Friday.

Highly recommend travelling with Intrepid. We’ve got a great local tour guide who is absolutely lovely and we’ve been lucky enough to have her again this week. Everything has run like clockwork and we have enough spare time to go exploring or chill if we want to. This is not a 5 star tour so we are in guest houses with squat toilets in some cases and travelling on local transport which has been a great way to experience the country. I don’t think I’d want to travel any other way.

I look forward to posting more when I get back and have really missed all of you blogging buddies.

Confucius say….

I’ll start this with a very corny joke –

Confucius say man who run naked through turnstile at airport on way to Bangkok.

And that’s exactly where I’m off to tomorrow, fully clothed and uninjured I might add. The trip has been booked with Intrepid Travel.

So I’ll be absent for almost three weeks arriving back in Melbourne on Friday 22nd February. The itinerary is below. It will be my first taste of Asia and I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be the first of many trips with Intrepid and I look forward to writing about it on my return, with plenty of photos of course.

The trip is $850 Australian for 14 days and that’s incredible value. Browsing their website there are tours upwards of 80 days for example Beijing to Bali $A4435 plus a local payment of $1350 US. That’s around $A6000 for nearly three months of travel, pretty good I reckon, but that one will have to wait for long service leave.

Day 1 Bangkok

The ruling heart of Thailand is Bangkok, home to temples, palaces, floating markets and the frantic pace of a city on the move.

Days 2-3 Three Pagodas Pass

Staggering views await on a journey along the winding road to Sangkhlaburi. Travel through the limestone mountains and forests that are home to the Karen and Mon people and take an elephant ride before stopping off at the historical Three Pagodas Pass.

Day 4 Thong Pha Phum

Learn about the customs, religions and way of life of the Karen and Mon people and wander through the produce market that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

Day 5 River Kwai

Make an sobering visit to the Hellfire Pass Museum before taking the infamous Thai-Burma railway to the infamous ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’.

Days 6-7 Bangkok

Visit the spectacular Erawan waterfalls and take a dip, try your hand at Thai Cooking or take a kayak for a paddle before returning to Bangkok. Enjoy a stay with a local family in a traditional teak house.

Days 8 Sukhothai

Travel to Thailand’s first capital and explore the 12th century ruins by bike. This historical park is dotted with temples, lakes and beautiful gardens.

Day 9 Lampang

See the wooden temple at Wat Phra That Lampak Luang and admire the inspiring murals or step back in time and be chauffeured around town by horse cart. This is the only town in Thailand that still uses this transport. For a bit of indulgence head down to the local herbal sauna for some pampering.

Days 10 Elephant / Homestay

Watch elephants at work and play before jumping aboard one for a ride through the forest. Say goodbye to our majestic friends and spend the night in a remote village to learn about hilltribe crafts and rural Thai life.

Days 11-13 Chiang Mai

Fabulous temples await in Chiang Mai and there is ample time to take a cooking class, bamboo raft down the river or hire a bike and cycle off into the countryside.

Day 14 Bangkok

Return to Bangkok for last minute shopping and sight seeing at the end of an incredible journey.

I’m not sure if I’ll get the chance to post during the trip but if I get the chance I’ll give a quick update.

Confucius say….

I’ll start this with a very corny joke –

Confucius say man who run naked through turnstile at airport on way to Bangkok.

And that’s exactly where I’m off to tomorrow, fully clothed and uninjured I might add. The trip has been booked with Intrepid Travel.

So I’ll be absent for almost three weeks arriving back in Melbourne on Friday 22nd February. The itinerary is below. It will be my first taste of Asia and I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be the first of many trips with Intrepid and I look forward to writing about it on my return, with plenty of photos of course.

The trip is $850 Australian for 14 days and that’s incredible value. Browsing their website there are tours upwards of 80 days for example Beijing to Bali $A4435 plus a local payment of $1350 US. That’s around $A6000 for nearly three months of travel, pretty good I reckon, but that one will have to wait for long service leave.

Day 1 Bangkok

The ruling heart of Thailand is Bangkok, home to temples, palaces, floating markets and the frantic pace of a city on the move.

Days 2-3 Three Pagodas Pass

Staggering views await on a journey along the winding road to Sangkhlaburi. Travel through the limestone mountains and forests that are home to the Karen and Mon people and take an elephant ride before stopping off at the historical Three Pagodas Pass.

Day 4 Thong Pha Phum

Learn about the customs, religions and way of life of the Karen and Mon people and wander through the produce market that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

Day 5 River Kwai

Make an sobering visit to the Hellfire Pass Museum before taking the infamous Thai-Burma railway to the infamous ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’.

Days 6-7 Bangkok

Visit the spectacular Erawan waterfalls and take a dip, try your hand at Thai Cooking or take a kayak for a paddle before returning to Bangkok. Enjoy a stay with a local family in a traditional teak house.

Days 8 Sukhothai

Travel to Thailand’s first capital and explore the 12th century ruins by bike. This historical park is dotted with temples, lakes and beautiful gardens.

Day 9 Lampang

See the wooden temple at Wat Phra That Lampak Luang and admire the inspiring murals or step back in time and be chauffeured around town by horse cart. This is the only town in Thailand that still uses this transport. For a bit of indulgence head down to the local herbal sauna for some pampering.

Days 10 Elephant / Homestay

Watch elephants at work and play before jumping aboard one for a ride through the forest. Say goodbye to our majestic friends and spend the night in a remote village to learn about hilltribe crafts and rural Thai life.

Days 11-13 Chiang Mai

Fabulous temples await in Chiang Mai and there is ample time to take a cooking class, bamboo raft down the river or hire a bike and cycle off into the countryside.

Day 14 Bangkok

Return to Bangkok for last minute shopping and sight seeing at the end of an incredible journey.

I’m not sure if I’ll get the chance to post during the trip but if I get the chance I’ll give a quick update.