…a massage with Nang at Numngeru Thai Massage in Khao Suk. I walk in at noon expecting to make an appointment for later but Nang, the massage therapist, insists on doing it now. I’m not a fan of deep tissue massages because frankly, they frikkin’ hurt! I decide to surrender because everything hurts after 23 1/2 hours in the air.
After 90 minutes of it-hurts-so-good pain (and a brief nap!) I ask her to do a reflexology massage. Embarrassingly, I didn’t make time to learn a little Thai, so I have to resort to hand gestures.
“Nang, did you eat lunch yet? Are you hungry?” I say rubbing my stomach, pointing to her and making hand-to mouth eating gestures. Nang obviously doesn’t understand me, so I repeat my questions and hand gestures.
Nang gets it and smiles, “It okay. Foot massage now”
Before she leaves to eat I ask her where the bathroom is. She doesn’t understand me, so gesture with my hands that my stomach is bloated. She doesn’t understand me. So I squat. Ay-ay-ay. I promise myself to learn a few pertinent phrases of Thai before I venture out again.
“Toilet!” she says with comical recognition and takes me to a room down the hall opening the door with an apology I don’t understand. Once inside, I understand. The lightbulb flashes like a cloud of lightening bugs on steroids.
I know she must be starving, so I repeat the hand gestures and insist she go eat. Nang flashes a big smile then throws her arms around my waist, hugs me and says, “Okay. 5 minutes.”
She hugs me again after the foot massage. We are instant friends. I point to my previously swollen ankle bone from an old beach volleyball injury and make a large circle with my hands then a small circle to show her that the swelling has completely disappeared. I point to the other areas on my body that feel incredibly better and swoon over the miracles she’s worked. Nang hugs me again.