My most embarrassing moment in Thailand
When I first came to Thailand, I was recovering from a motorcycle accident—little ailments like broken neck, fractured pelvis and destroyed foot the doctors reassembled with metal rods, rubber cement and duct tape. The metal is gone, but there are still large numb areas I’m sure are filled with rubber cement.
Thai massage was a mainstay of my healing in America. After arriving in Thailand and testing an array of “therapists” I chose a gem named Somsee. A few of the candidates offered to massage the soft tissue in my pelvic area, but I declined these generous proposals.
With her tiny smattering of English and my command of eleven or twelve Thai words—hello, goodbye, one, two, three, where’s the bathroom, and thank you—we forged a warm and professional relationship during my routine visits. After weeks of massage and discussions with the owner about how I could communicate my needs more specifically, he loans me a massage manual containing anatomy drawings to which I could refer.
Upon learning from the book that Thai massage has roots in the yoga practice, I imagine Somsee could massage my back in one of my favorite relaxed yoga positions, the child’s pose. (Imagine you’re in a temple on your knees, forehead on the ground, arms at your side, praying to the god of your choice.) At the next session I am dressed in the standard garb they provide: soft, short-sleeved shirt and gigantic silk pants large enough for several friends and me to wear at the same time. Near the end of the massage, I mumble something in pidgin English, bad Thai and probably a few German words left over from college, while assuming the Child’s Pose and pointing to my backside.
As I hear her muffled outcry and a loud noise, I realize the elephant pants have slid down to my knees, and considering I’m not wearing underwear, the two soft cushions of my rear pelvic region are butt naked and waving in the wind created by the slam of the door and my fleeing therapist. After shouting “I’m sorry” in every language I hastily dress and stumble through a red-faced apology in sign language. Embarrassed to the max. That day I learned the absolute meaning and true origin of the word: Embarrassed = I’m bare-assed.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com