Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nirvana in Thailand

Somebody should probably pinch me right now.  Tara and I just had the most terrific 4 hours in recent memory.  We got to the airport way before our flight because Nattie and Donna's flights were before ours & discovered we couldn't check in for another 3 hours because our flight wasn't until 1am.  We didn't want to hang around the check in area because there wasn't even a coffee shop or restaurant in that section until after you went through security.  So we decided to drop off our bags at the storage area and sky train it into the city.

After getting some recommendations from some helpful pedestrians, we found an area that served the Pad Thai we had been searching for.  We stopped at one restaurant that looked like it could be the one, but once inside it seemed from the odor, that this restaurant may have been hiding a large open air aquarium in the kitchen and that would just not do for our last meal so we bounced.  We were oh-so-glad we did because just up the street we discovered this cul-de-sac of cute little restaurants and bars.  We sat ourselves down at the Muy Thai Cafe and ordered cokes in adorable little glass bottles with Thai logos, Tom Guy soup, Pad See Ew and Pad Thai.  Everything was absolutely delicious, the servers were so nice, and we were seated directly in front of a fan; it was like a little slice of heaven.

 Before leaving we pumped our waiter for information about where to get a massage and with a little navigational assistance from some of the street vendors we found ourselves at a pink storefront near the Asia Hotel getting manhandled in some pajamas made for giants who moonlight as surgeons.

Note we are not fully in this photo because we were laughing too hard, in a place where you aren't supposed to be laughing at all, at how ridiculous we looked to get a decent shot off.  It's hard to tell but we could have easily gotten both our entire bodies into one of the pant legs and I have a pretty fantastic Urkel waist thing happening.

These might have been the best massages yet- we went for straight up back, neck and shoulders instead of messing around with all the arm & leg nonsense.  This lady had one strong set of hands- if anybody grabbed me that hard in my everyday life I would have them arrested, but somehow she made it a delight.  She also cracked probably every part of my spine that could physically be cracked (and possibly some that couldn't be) not once, but twice!!  At the beginning she worked my back like bubble wrap while I was laying down, one spot at a time and for the finale she sat me up, put my hands on my head, wrapped her leg over top of mine & twisted me around on each side like a pretzel while my back went off like a machine gun-  After it was over and we had returned Paul Bunyon's loungewear, we were sitting at the front sipping green tea from our chicken teacups & Tara said to me, "I wish you could see the look of bliss on your face right now."  So that pretty much sums it up.

As we set off for the walk back to the train, I was keeping an eye out for a place to have one final banana pancake but it looked like it might not happen.  I thought it might be just too much to ask for and declared that the rest of the night had been so perfect, I wouldn't even be upset if I didn't get one.  No sooner had the words left my lips, when a man emerged from the shadows, pedaling a bike around the corner in front of us.  And attached to that bike- his mobile pancake stand.  Cue angels singing and soft glowing lights from the heavens, surrounding him.  I was pretty sure I was living in a dream, or that I should immediately figure out how to pantomime, "Where can I buy a Thai lottery ticket?"  We flagged him down, he whipped up one final, delightful, banana pancake for me & I was like a kid on Christmas morning as I devoured it on the train.

We got to the airport & through security with plenty of time to spare, which was fairly shocking considering how Tara and I both operate.  I even had time to walk the 6 miles to get my $2 VAT refund, which if I had done the math (even with my trusty iphone currency converter app downloaded especially to do the math, I never do the math) and figured in the effort I probably wouldn't have.  There was a silver lining though- on my way back I lucked into a bookstore displaying Carrying Cambodia.  We had been searching for this book since we had been talking to Andrew at dinner in Cambodia about the incomprehensible, common sense defying, amount of stuff the people in SEA haul around on their motorbikes.  He told us about how somebody had published a coffee table book with amazing photos of Cambodians balancing an assortment of items off their bikes & in our travels we had only been able to find it's Vietnamese counterpart Bikes of Burden.  They only had one copy left so I snatched it up for a birthday present for Tara and off we went for the last leg of our journey!

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