Friday, 24 January 2014

Pampering day in Chiang Mai

After lots of travelling and sightseeing during the past few days,  I felt it was time for a relaxation day.  And how better to relax than during a lovely massage - unless it's a Thai massage,  of course.  Ouch.  This was my second one in Chiang Mai, and after having a male masseur the last time, I thought it could only get less painful with an innocent looking Thai lady.  How very wrong I was. But after an hour of having my muscles kneaded, my tendons stretched and my bones snapped, the absence of pain was indeed very relaxing.
The next stop was for my stomach. A mango shake (it's very easy to get your 5 a day in a place where juices, lassis and shakes cost less than fifty cents) and heavenly Pad Thai later, I felt I needed some moving around.  Luckily,  there's always a temple or two that I haven't seen yet.
After at least an hour of exploring Chiang Mai's little alleys and hidden gems, I passed a hairdresser's. This had been on the list ever since I'd arrived and seen the local prices for a haircut. My hair was looking pretty horrid anyway, somehow the heat combined with the lack of hot showers made me look like the Shockheaded Peter. That's why I couldn't resist when I saw the pleasant little Mirror, Mirror salon and its prices (250 Baht for washing, cutting, drying, styling). At first, there was the hair washing. Bliss! Instead of sitting on a reclining but uncomfortable chair, here I lay on a cushioned table (picture will follow), with a leathery thing around my shoulders to prevent any part of my body but my head from getting wet. My hair was washed not once, not twice, but three times (the lady next to me got the same treatment, so I guess it was not due to my hair being especially unclean). The hairdresser was wearing some wooden rings on her fingers and knuckles,  with which she massaged my scalp - I felt very reminded of the earlier Thai massage,  except that this was even more painful. I was very glad that when she started to knead my temples, she used her bare fingers. When I was just beginning to think that there would be no skin left on my head, I was wrapped in a towel and sat on a chair.  There was not a lot of receiving what I wanted: I was asked, how much, I motioned, about four centimetres, and that was it. Somehow,  she only cut a little while the hair was still wet, then after drying it (ouch, the brush seemed to be made from steel), she snipped a bit there,  a bit on the other side, then it was done. Suddenly,  my hair was straight (and quite a bit shorter than what I had intended). And even after all my complaining here,  I actually like it.  And I'm thinking about going there just for the washing.

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