At home I don’t spend money on pampering myself. I have never been to a fancy salon. I think $30 is the most I have every paid for a haircut. I have been to the spa twice in my life the first was when I was part of a bridal party and the second was when I was the bride. There are just too many other expenses back home to be able to justify spending that much money on a lovely, but frivolous thing.
Here in Thailand, Mike and I have been getting massages a few times a week. Oh, how lovely it is to take an hour to yourself to get pummelled by a small Thai woman! Massages here start at $5 an hour for a traditional Thai massage. Ever had one of those? It is in between massage and body contortion. It is like massage mixed with aided yoga. They stretch you while they massage you. They use their hands, their elbows, their feet. Sometimes they will even stand on you!
We have had many massages of varying quality. Sometimes it is much too light and I am thankful I only paid $5 for the hour, sometimes I wonder if the massage is going to leave bruises, and sometimes it is just right. Hmmm. Sounds a bit like Goldilocks!
Yesterday I was able to enjoy an afternoon of pampering all to myself. Mike took the kids to the movie theatre while I went to my favourite salon in Chiang Mai, New York New York (on Nimmen Soi 13, GO THERE!) The salon is modern and lovely, owned by a Thai/American woman who really knows her stuff. I was a walk in customer but only had to wait a half hour before being pampered by a team of Thai stylists. First I got my hair washed in the most comfortable hair washing chair I have ever sat in. No neck cramps for me, oh no! But wait! It wasn’t just a hair wash it was a head massage! Lather, massage, rinse, repeat. Condition, massage, rinse. Hot towel, massage, rinse. Oh my!
The stylist who cut my hair was meticulous. It was the longest hair cut I have ever had and I have yet to find a stray hair that was missed. Once the cut was finished I was sent back to the washing area for another rinse, and yes, one more head massage! Then my hair was blow dried by my stylist and her assistant at the same time. Then I was styled and ready to roll.
This is probably one of the more expensive places in Thailand to get a hair cut. When we took our son to the barber for his cut we paid just under three dollars! This exercise in pampering cost me a whooping $15! Ahh. Life is good.
After my haircut it was time for me to make my way to the mall to meet up with my family. I window shopped as I walked and passed numerous Thai massage parlours. In a spur of the moment decision I decided that I might as well pull out the big guns and make the delight of my haircut carry on into the delight of a good massage. I texted Mike and told him I was going in for a two hour massage and I would find my own way home.
I chose a nice looking place and stepped inside the cool interior of the room to ask if I could get a one hour foot massage followed by a one hour thai massage. I was promptly ushered into a lazy boy recliner and my feet were placed into a warm bowl of lime filled water. The foot massage that followed was pure bliss and I closed my eyes, sat back, and smiled.
After the foot massage I was taken to an upstairs room that had raised beds with curtains. There were quite a few Thai ladies in there getting Thai massages which made me happy I had found a place that the locals like. I was rubbed, pummelled, contorted, and stretched for the next hour. My masseuse used just the right amount of pressure and by the end I felt like a rubber doll…in a good way.
The cost for such pampering? Another $15.
Have I told you how much I like Chiang Mai?