Mellow Monday

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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Huen Penh lunch feast
I vowed not to do anything on Monday, as I was so thoroughly worn out from the daily travel of the week prior.  Mabel, an Australian girl who was sharing the dorm with me, was looking at spa deals as it was her last day in Thailand, and she wanted a little pampering.  As it turns out, there are dozens of spas in Chiang Mai to choose from, and nearly all of them offer a two-for-one deal.  Someone clearly knows what they're doing with their marketing; how can you pass up two-for-one spa packages?

We made an appointment for the afternoon and then set off to find a restaurant Romana had recommended for lunch.  As always, Romana's directions were spot-on, and lunch was delicious.
Banana roti street cart. Stoopidly delicious.
  I had a spicy mango and peanut salad, Mabel had the spicy bamboo shoot salad, and we each had fish curry soup with the local egg noodles.  Yum.  Top it off with Thai iced tea and fresh coconuts -- scrumptious feast indeed.

When we arrived at the spa we were immediately disappointed.  Mabel had narrowed her choices down to two spas, and I chose the one over the other because I liked what was included in the package better.  Mabel had been leaning toward the other because of the "pretty pictures" in the brochure, which means I was feeling horrible because here I had chosen the spa and we walk in and it's not nearly as nice as we were thinking.  It was a little shabby around the edges and clearly targeted toward Thais, as opposed to the western luxury clientele.

We were led upstairs and told to undress, and then stuffed into the most bizarre, makeshift steam room either of us had ever seen.  Essentially, it was a wooden bench with a rice cooker boiling up water beneath it, and a cotton tarp supported by wooden poles draped over the whole contraption.  The two of us barely fit inside, and we sat there, our asses on fire from the fierce steam directly beneath us, giggling our faces off.  What the hell was this?  Talk about bootleg city.  What did I get us into?

We sat in there for a solid twenty minutes or so, gulping for air, sweat pouring from our bodies in streams.  If I had been by myself I probably would have hated it, but together it was comical.  Finally we were allowed out, and given ginger tea to rehydrate ourselves.  I do love me some ginger tea.

From then on, everything changed.  Sure, the facilities were pretty bare-bones and not exactly nice, but the staff were friendly and accommodating and boy did they know what they were doing with their hands.  We had a thirty minute scrub, an hour body massage, and then a thirty minute foot rub, followed by a head and shoulder massage.  That woman could have done anything to me and I would have been totally ok with it.  Wow.  I was putty in her hands.

Afterward, Mabel and I agreed that was one of the best massages we've ever had.  Those women knew what they were doing.  It was wonderful.  And considering most Mondays in my life are of the manic persuasion, it was a welcome change to be so relaxed and pampered.  Nice.
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Huen Penh lunch feast
Huen Penh lunch feast
Banana roti street cart. Stoopidly…
Banana roti street cart. Stoopidl…
Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes