Tortured at the Chiang Mai Women's Prison.
Chiang Mai Travel Blog› entry 69 of 251 › view all entries
May 17th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
This prison has a rather innovative (I presume) program of training its inmates for jobs “on the outside.” In additional to massage training, the prison also sells crafts made by the inmates, and I think I saw a restaurant staffed by prisoners, too. It’s either a brilliant social program, or a forced labor camp…I am going with the former in order to feel good about participating.
When we got to the prison, we were waved in by a tiny uniformed lady. We entered a highly air conditioned room (it felt great since it was hot and muggy outside) and were greeted by three smiling inmates in blue pajamas -- the masseuses/prisoners.
Steve and I were given our own pairs of pajamas to wear, then we lay down to receive our torture, I mean massages. While Steve LOVED it, I found the whole thing to be quite painful. My lady had very strong hands, and when she wasn’t trying to remove my muscles forcibly with them, she was standing or kneeling on some part of my body. Some people love it, some people, not so much. There was a moment when, as I lay on my stomach, she used my arms to pull my head and upper body up forcibly, kind of like a backbend. I think that’s what did me (or at least my lower back) in … I am now hobbling around like an old lady!
We left, and paid our 360 baht (about $12) bill on our way out.
Other highlights of the day included: breakfast at the hotel’s huge and wonderful buffet; strolling through old city and stopping at several shiny gold temples; Steve’s $3 haircut (a #1 on the razor!); getting a lesson on the five precepts of Buddhism from an orange-robed monk at “Monk Chat” at a temple (Wat Chedi Luang). We also helped six little girls nervously practice their English at this same temple. They asked us a series of simple questions (What is your name? Where are you from?) from a card and tape recorded our answers. They took turns with the card, and a couple of them were so nervous and shy, but they all did well.
Finally at 4pm we strolled over to Wualai Road, where a “walking street market” is set up on Saturdays. It was a little early, so we killed time by… getting foot massages! After then, after the foot massages were over, Steve’s lady talked him quite easily into a shoulder massage. So I had one to, and it was a tamer version than I had just experienced at the prison, and felt pretty nice.
We then spent about three hours at the market, which was lined with vendors selling many handmade goods. Many of the things had a real creative and artsy flair. One could find purses, figurines, notebooks from handmade paper, etc, etc etc. They had some T-shirts, too, of course … I got a Hello Kitty tank top for about $1.
Tomorrow…a date with some elephants! We are so excited. Stay tuned!
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