Because I’ve been traveling for so long my mother and sister think I am a walking Tripadvisor and Google Maps. Or they pretend to think so anyway. I’ll show them exactly how well I know Bangkok. After two hours of aimlessly taking busses and getting scammed by taxis, we accidentally arrive at Bangkok’s Chinatown. They really want a Thai Massage, but their faith is in my hands.
Walking through Chinatown
Traditionally, Chinatowns are more Chinese than China but Bangkok’s Chinatown is probably the “Chinesiest” of all. The only un-Chinese thing about this place is that none of the Chinese speak Chinese. Other than that, very Chinese. Big banners with Chinese symbols, people spitting on the floor and smells that have extinct in the real China years ago. In the biggest street people sell lottery tickets, fake jewelry and everything a man can dry: dried mushrooms, lizards, metal… You name it, they dry it. Also for sale: rhino horns and snake penises to increase your sexual potency. I’m tempted.
After perusing a couple of random alleys we arrive at a street with shops that are filled with car parts. Some shops specialize in wheels, others in the engine or steering column, and some in bolts. The bolts reach all the way to the ceiling, leaving only a small path to the back. This path is mainly used by shopkeepers as a napping space or as a means to brag to other shop owners about their unlimited supply of bolts. “In these times you can never have enough bolts. I have enough bolts for my great great grandchildren to take over the business…” The owner says proud to no one in particular. All the shops are dark grey. Even the people became one with the color, like chameleons. In the back of all these grey greasy shops a little Buddhist altar with flashy red lights draws the attention of passersby. It is the only little bit of color in the whole shop, a symbol of hope. How do they keep it so shiny and pretty?
My mother and sister are getting pretty tired of my poor tour guide skills, so I take them to more random streets. The street with car engine material changes into a street where all the shops sell weighing equipment. Around 25 shops in a row are selling traditional and outdated electronic scales. Demand is high, because Chinese people in Bangkok love to weigh things. To me it gets quickly monotonous and I decide to take another side tour that brings us to the street where the shops sell metal bars and isolation material. My mother and sister are now truly convinced about my lack of tour operator skills. They want a massage. That’s why they came to Thailand in the first place.
The Thai Massage
Their prayers are heard: at the end of the street is a sign: massage 200 baht 1hr. The place is filled with Chinese people getting foot massages. This must be a decent place. I mean, if you see a balding fat Englishman of around 50 whose eyes are randomly jammed into the sockets, with jawless jowls carelessly hanging underneath his face, you know it’s not the best place to go for a massage with your mother and sister.
For a traditional Thai massage we follow a short old lady to the back and upstairs into a small room with three mattresses separated by thin curtains. We receive comfortable pants and a shirt that just covers my ribs, leaving nothing of my belly to the imagination. Three masseuses enter the room. The ladyboy is appointed to me (she might be an actual lady, it’s hard to tell sometimes). My mother gets the old tough one and my sister the sweet one. Not even 5 minutes into the lousy massage and the hands of my masseuse are gently adding my dick into the rubbing routine. Even though my mother and I are separated by a thin curtain, I don’t feel like reliving someone’s embarrassing teenage memory where the mother walks in without knocking.
I force myself not to get too comfortable. At the same time, I allow myself to relax. I’m jumping on thin ice. Does the masseuse know the woman next to me is my mother? Does she care? Is my dear mother receiving the same sensual treatment? I try not to listen if I can hear some moaning. Are these curtains soundproof? Will they at least guide me to a separate room to finish the deed? Is there life after death? When is my tax return due? These are things that are going through my mind, keeping me un-aroused; God, I’m happy I didn’t take that snake penis elixir.
Towards A Happy Ending
When the masseuse notices that all her attempts are failing she becomes more violent. She lays me on my belly and kicks her knee firmly between my legs. I grunt. She grabs one arm and puts an elbow in my shoulder blade. I moan, out of sheer pain. Strangely enough I am more comfortable feeling pain than feeling pleasure in the presence of my mother. I wonder what Freud said about that. While she is twisting my spine, the masseuse is talking about me with the other women. They are giggling. I guess they’re talking about my impotency and all the things she would do to me if she had her own dungeon.
From the corner of my eye I can see the clock. Five minutes left. Time goes faster when in pain than when in awkwardness. My sister and mother are done. I’m still lying on my belly with a knee deep against my crotch. One hand is holding my chin and the other the back of my head. She puts it more into a headlock and turns it a bit as if she is ready to twist it 180 degrees. She gets her face close to my ear. “Next time…” she hisses violently and then lets go. My head falls back on the mattress.
When I turn around she is gone. Quickly I put on my own clothes. I rush down and see my mother and sister sitting in the foot massage chairs sipping ginger tea, zen like Buddhist monks. My masseuse is standing next to them and gives me a fake smile that only I can see. My mother and sister look up and smile at me with a graceful smile. I feel like I just woke up from a bad dream. I return their smile, happy it all ended well.