Tonight at almost midnight I will get on the red eye and head back to Beijing after 9 fabulous days in Thailand.  John and Jack were here for 5 of them. I was on my own for 4. Hunter didn’t come… wanted to stay home preparing for his upcoming exams and beach is not the most fun place to be with a broken arm.

We were all thrilled to back by the water.  Our hosts, Jen and Ferg, could not have been more generous.  John got to spend two days on their boat. Nothing makes him happier. Well maybe if it had been sail instead of power, but we never would have made it to the fab island restaurants under sail. The sea is as warm as a bath, more spa like than refreshing but still lovely to paddle in. Jack loved hanging with their son Cam. Both boys were delighted to be away from their bossy older siblings. They had a blast swimming, boarding and playing the odd video game!

I have always been a sun worshipper. My fantasy as a teenager was to look like the Bain de Soleil woman. So my strategy for my four solo days was to bake in the sun. However, instead of the baby oil of my youth I was going to compromise with SPF 30 lotion.

Well, best laid plans.  It has been stormy, with clouds, rain and wind, no sun.  Shopping is always an option, but we have too much stuff already. The only thing I’d like to buy is a Buddha. However, they are rather difficult to export from Thailand.  It is absolutely forbidden to remove any thing antique or from a temple. Even new images require a fair bit of paperwork and a government certificate.

Anyway, my post 50 motto has been “buy experiences, not things”.

With that in mind, I decided to try a Thai Massage.  Legend has it Buddha’s physician, Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, developed this element of Thai medicine.  It is sometimes called Yoga Massage. Some say it is like doing yoga without the work. I’d say it’s like doing yoga with pain. It involves stretching and deep pressure rubbing.

The masseuse moves your body into all sorts of yoga poses and then presses into your muscles with her hands, knees, feet and elbows. I whimpered in agony as she crawled from my ankles, along my legs and up my back digging her knees into my tissue. I almost cried when she twisted on my arms and pushed her elbow into my shoulder. She kneaded and prodded and pulled and bent my poor body. After two hours I felt shaky, exhausted, exhilarated and thinner (rather miraculous given how much tasty Thai food I have been enjoying!).   Surprisingly, it was marvelous! It was also quite cheap, less that $30 for two hours. I tipped generously and had her come back two more times!

Proponents claim this style of massage releases tension, improves circulation and boosts the immune system.  I don’t know if all that’s true, but I can tell you, it made me feel tranquil, happy and energized.  I hope to find a local practitioner when I get back to Beijing.

Wish me luck, hate flying in bad weather.  John recommends I grab some travel insurance at the airport!

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