Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Massage Parlour

Possibly these are rather uncharitable reflections, but the way to operate here seems to be to ask yourself, “What’s the scam?” whenever a local speaks to you, rather than “Is there a scam?” The sole exception so far is the nice lady from Phuket in the temple. She said she was on holiday.
I met what seemed to be a nice guy; he told me he wanted to practise his English, and invited me to go for a drink in the old part of town. We did. At his insistence, we had some food to go with it.
The whole thing ended up costing 470 baht – a trifle steep for two beers and some bar snacks, I thought. I had to pay, of course, as his “bankcard wouldn’t work there.”
He then persuaded me to go with him to get a massage – traditional Thai style, very good, only 500 baht. It seemed a bit much, but he was very eloquent, and so we went.
Man, it was painful! She kept poking and prodding and twisting me for what seemed like hours. What seemed like and what indeed was hours. An officious bastard came in after a while to demand 1120 baht – 500 per hour (I’d gone in at 5 p.m. and it was now 6.30) + 120 for “entertainment” (i.e. one cup of tea). I paid, with an ill grace, but it kind of negated the interest of the whole experience for me.
Sure enough, when I went out, the first guy was gone, though he’d promised to wait in order to pay me back. He seemed so nice, too. Why did he do that? Mislead me so deliberately? Now I’m left with roughly 300 baht per day for the rest of the trip ($NZ18) which will not be enough. I could strangle the little prick, with his NY Yankees cap, and his sad tales of his dead brother (killed in a motor bike accident – he was driving. That should have warned me).
I feel properly pissed off, for the first time in ages. Scamming seemed amusing at first, but it’s now become more serious. I must become far more bloody-minded if I’m to survive over here.
Time for a good old sulk/soak and a read. Relaxed? I feel about as relaxed as a tiger about to spring. I feel not in the least guilty for not having tipped the masseuse.

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