Friday, July 16, 2010

H-moon Recap: An open letter to the women who massaged us

Mr Fix It and I are huge fans of massages.  I even have my own personal aesthetician who does facials and massages and waxings for me on a regular basis - she was even at my wedding :)  One way Mr Fix It coaxed me into going to Bali was by raving about how you can get these cheap massages on the beach for like less than $5 for an hour!  Sign me up! 

Unfortunately, the women who offer these massages on the shoreline or on the cliffs are typically really old ladies who are not the cleanest people in the world and while I love immersing myself in the culture and truly do like interacting with the locals, they hound you about a massage even when you don't want one which becomes quite annoying.  Most of my time on the beach was spent faking that I was asleep :)

Before we left the land of Oz, we decided to get a massage in a place we passed at the local shopping mall we visited.  Below are a few letters to let these people know what we thought of our experiences:

To the Asian guy who gave me a massage in Australia:

I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful full body massage you gave me while I was visting the Gold Coast on my honeymoon in April.  $60 for a 60 min massage is pretty typical of the price we pay in the states and you did great considering it was a 'walk in' joint.

I do, however, want to apologize for my husband.  I guess having 'rooms' that are really only a bed with curtains between them might not be the greatest idea when you have customers who don't appreciate your services.  At first I didn't think anything of it when I heard him say a couple times that his girl was pushing too hard on him.  That is really unusual considering he usually likes deep tissue massages.  And maybe she didn't realize that he had just pulled his back surfing the day before which was why he was trying to get the muscles worked out.  Instead, he felt like she was reinjuring him instead of helping.

I felt really bad for her once he finally sat up in the middle of the massage and told her that he was done and wanted her to stop.  He tried to maintain his patience and be polite.  But when your manager came in to see what all the fuss was about, he couldn't keep it in anymore and just had to say that 'she didn't know what she was doing' and she shouldn't be giving massages.  You really didn't need to keep apologizing for her.  I felt bad that I think he almost made her cry.  It wasn't your fault and you did a fabulous job on me so no worries.

Thankfully, I found my hubby shopping down the mall and just let him vent for a few minutes about what a sucky job she did on him.  Next time, I'll just come by myself :)

To the two young ladies who work at the Balinese massage parlor we stopped in on our first night in Bali:

How can we ever thank you for the fabulous job you did when we stopped in for a massage during our honeymoon?  My husband had a horrible experience in Australia the day before and after a six hour plane ride, we were so excited to stroll past your shop just around the corner from our hotel.  Though your massage was about $25 for an hour, which was definitely more than the lovely old woman on the beach was offering, it was way worth it!

I would say you both had magic hands.  I must admit that I wasn't totally excited about *every* part of the 'Balinese' massage though.  I am not a fan of having the balls of my feet slammed against with your fist.  And the slapping sound I heard as you smacked my back at that one point was not anything I'd ever heard before whilst getting a massage.  It was also interesting to see you try to stretch my legs in ways that made me believe you thought I was a Gumby doll.  Unfortunately, I'm just not that flexible.

But regardless, I still felt great afterwards and my husband was feeling totally restored and repaired at this point.  It was a great end to our first night in Bali.

Kind of a bummer that we came back a couple nights later and you both weren't working :(  We ended up with a guy and girl that didn't quite meet up to the standard you had set.  By that point, I was truly over the whole massage experience in this part of the world.  Mr Fix It was not impressing me with these massages he raved about.  Oh well.  At least we had *one* good experience thanks for that!

To the old woman who wouldn't leave me alone while I was sunbathing at Bingin's beach:

I appreciate that you make your living by preying upon all the people who frequent the little eatery up there on the cliff top.  It was nice to have a place to grab some grub and lounge around for a few hours while my husband was out surfing in the water.  It was not so nice however to have you continually 'pinch' me in an effort to entice me into employing your services for a 'may-sauge'.  Really?  Pinching my arm up and down while I am trying to listen to my ipod and lay on a mat is not my idea of relaxation.  Maybe that's your idea of a massage but definitely nothing I've ever experienced before. 

I should have just given you $5 to get you to leave me alone and go away, but I was trying to be polite.  Thankfully, Mr Fix It did not make me go back there again the next day when he went to surf.  Lounging by my resort infinity pool was way more enjoyable than being attacked by the likes of sand crabs who think they are masseuses. 

Personal Photo

I like doing this (above) as opposed to this (below)

Kuta Beach Massages Source

At our final resort at the Blue Point Bay Villas, we scheduled a couples massage at what was truly a resort type spa...while not the greatest full body massage I've ever received, it was at least decent.  However, I felt the 2 ladies who were running their hands all over me and Mr Fix It's body were maybe just a little too friendly.  The woman who was massaging me gave me my first ever experience of a breast massage...something that most masseuses I've worked with have never done before.  When I mentioned it to Mr Fix It as we left the spa, he indicated that his lady also got a little touchy feely and came very close to his manhood at least one or two times to where he tightened up a bit wondering if he was going to be offered a 'happy ending'?

This (above) was not as relaxing to me as this (below)

Source:  Blue Point Bay Villas

We ended our honeymoon with one final attempt at the Bali massage experience by getting a 30 minute head, neck and foot massage in the airport in Denpasar.  That was actually not that bad and you can't complain about getting a massage while stuck in an airport :) 
TODAY'S TIP:  Don't think that one culture's idea of relaxation will translate well into another culture!


Hannah said...

Haha. In Zanzibar women used to come around with oils for massages and henna. At first I was so against it on some sort of socioecomic argument (I don't own servants and I don't want to grossly underpay these women). But after living in TZ for a while I started to realize that the women really want to work for the money and enjoyed their job. Plus, the beaches there are empty (something about Muslim women not being allowed to lay out in bikinis) so it is really your little island paradise.

Oh, and there are no such things as western spas - so this was our only choice!

PartyPlannerGal said...

Haha, sounds like you had a wide range of experiences! Now I have a confession to make - I've never had a massage. There are so many great places to get massages just steps away from my apartment, but I see it as one more expensive thing for me to get "addicted" to. Maybe I'll try one for the first time on our honeymoon, whenever and wherever that may be :)

Em said...

OMG this is hilarious!! A breast massage??? I thought those were reserved for gyno appointments. So strange. My next honeymoon recap is going to be about our awkward massage experience. I can't wait to relive it on the blog.

Alicia said...

I LOVED the massages I got when I was in Bali a few years ago - it was like $3 for an hour massage and those ladies were awesome! After getting a massage for three days in a row (come on how can you turn $3 hour long massage!) my muscle actually started to hurt! LOL.

SG to SP said...

The massage lady at the spa at our resort was from Bali! I got 3 massages while I was there, 2 couple massages and 1 by myself. I enjoyed all of them except the one I got by myself b/c the lady was WAY to tough and I don't like real deep tissue massages. Other than that they were heaven.

Bicoastal Bride said...

Wow! What an interesting set of experiences! I’ve never heard of a breast massage, and am not sure I would enjoy that. The aggressive selling on the beach would also drive me nuts. I’ve only had a couple basic massages before, and I always have a hard time fully relaxing and letting go. Maybe I’ll try to work on that. :)

Salt said...

Oh my gosh you got groped!!! That is hilarious! And awful, but mostly hilarious.

After reading this, I think I will stick to state-side massages only. Although I did used to frequent a Thai massage place down the street from my house in LA. Those girls were GREAT, but it was always important to stress the fact that you wanted 'medium' and not 'hard' pressure, lest you wanted to be paralyzed for the following week.

Morgan said...

Haha, wow, so funny! I've never had a professional massage, and don't think my first place to try would be on vacation in a different country. I have a really sensitive neck, prone to pinched nerves, so getting a massage makes me nervous. My hubby isn't even allowed to give them to me!

P.S. Happy 3 month anniversary!

redwhitebride said...

i'm not big on massage but we had several experiences on our honeymoon. all of them were positive. the best one we had was in bandung (west java), the ladies at the resort knew exactly what to do (and i did get a breast massage for the first time, it's not very common in indonesia so she asked me first and i said yes for curiosity sake). (most of, not all) the ladies offering massage at the beach (and some at the parlors) are simply local women who cannot find anything else to make a living for... i would never try that.

Mrs T said...

Oh dear. The joy of crazy overseas massages. I had someone in Thailand once pulverize my feet - man they were sore for days!

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