After my terror-filled diving experience, I was in need of a little TLC that took the form of long, white-sand beaches and little bungalows. Perhaps even a back breaking Thai massage. Ko Samui’s reputation as a party town had preceded our arrival, so I went to extra lengths to find the quietest beach on the island and, boy, did I deliver. After taking the fast ferry, Lomprayah, from Ko Tao to Ko Samui and a short taxi trip we arrived at the Moonhut Bungalows.
It is now well and truly quiet season and only a few of the bungalows were occupied. Our bungalow was basic, but it was clean and came with an en suite and a fan (these things are now considered luxuries). The bungalow was right on the sand and a short path took us to the beach. Mae Nam beach stretched well into the distance both sides of us and must have been nearly 10 kilometers long. Despite its size we saw only a handful of other people in the three nights we stayed in the bungalow. Most of the resorts were closed for the season and we were left with a private beach. We couldn’t complain.
The downside of visiting in quiet season was that it was also rainy season. Our first two days had minimal rain and only a light shower one afternoon. This meant we were free to float in the sea, lay in the cabanas on the beach and read our books. I couldn’t have felt more relaxed if I tried. However, on our third day it poured with rain from beginning to end. We sat under a cabana most of the day, watching toads jump around in the rain. Considering how slowly these toads moved, it was remarkable how entertaining they were to our real-world-deprived brains.
Freeing myself from the toad’s enchantment, I skipped over to the masseuse cabana for what I thought would be a relaxing afternoon. Knowing nothing about Thai massages, I had expected an hour of bliss. What I got was quite different. I can report that I am still in one piece and have no slipped discs, despite my masseuse’s best efforts. Let me elaborate. I opted for the coconut oil massage (which isn’t a full traditional Thai massage, God only knows how torturous they must be) by a tiny, old Thai woman. It began with the usual rubbing of the muscles, but was quickly followed by the tiny woman walking on my back. For a tiny woman she was surely heavy footed. She had some kind of black-hole density in her feet. This part was still fairly enjoyable though, but a far cry from relaxing. That was until she began pulling at my fingers and toes until they popped and I was certain they were going to come right off my body.
She then told me to sit up. Oh no. I had to knot my fingers together and hold them above my head. In broken English she says, “no let go”. Before I had the sense to run for my life, she wraps a stringy leg around my waist, holding it in place and yanks my arms around my body. The crack exploding from my back echoed down the full length of the beach, and may have triggered a number of moderately sized earthquakes across the South China Sea. My feet were now facing one way and my shoulders were facing the other. I thought perhaps I would now be left to learn to walk like a flamingo with backwards bending knees. However, she quickly unraveled me, positioned my arms in the same place and sternly told me to “no let go” again.
This time she put her arms through my arms and rolled me back until she had me suspended up in the air like some kind of circus act. She mumbled something at me, which I couldn’t understand as my mind was boggled with how this tiny, old woman had the strength to balance my body over top of hers. Her voice became more stern and I realized she wanted me to put my feet on the floor. Then she rolled me towards the floor using her knees to break all the small bones in my back as she returned me to the lying position. Broken, bruised and battered, I lay on the floor hoping my punishment was over. I was given a few more elbow bends, cracks, pulls and a general slap around and then she was done with me. I handed over the money and limped back to find Ben. In hindsight, I’m not actually sure if I had a Thai massage or if I walked into someone’s house and they mugged me.
We packed our bags, sadly said goodbye to our much-loved private beach and headed for the west coast of Thailand. I foresee many beaches in our future, but perhaps no more massages for now.
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