Thailand and the Belch Therapy Massage

On my second night in Bangkok I went to get one of the Thai massages my room mate kept raving about.

“They’re only like, 200 baht ($6 dollars or 600 yen),” she’d say, “and it’s an hour long and they do such a good job.”

You’d think she worked for the Thai Tourism commission with all that endorsement, but I was curious, and the price was right. So that night we walked the strip of massage parlours, nail salons and Indian restaurants that led up to our hotel. We stopped at one where a delightfully friendly and obviously gay man waved us in.

“Come massage, it’s good! What kind massage you want?”

There was a good selection: Head and shoulder massage, foot massage, leg massage, aromatherapy…all for under 10 dollars –  both Canadian and U.S. We both went with the full body “Thai” massage. We were led inside, told to take off our shoes and given questionable plastic flip flops. It took us like five minutes to climb the stairs to the massage room because my room mate was trying to make as little contact with the flip flops as possible, walking like a cat whose claws had grown too long or something.

When we did finally get upstairs we were taken to the massage beds, separated by curtains. We had to undress and put on some flowy pajamas, which were comfortable. Then I lied down to wait for the masseuse. By this time I was really getting into it. The atmosphere was relaxing: the lights were low, and there was some soothing Dido playing in the background. My masseuse came and told me to relax, and began expertly massaging my calves, really working out all the kinks with just the right amount of pressure. When she worked her way up to my back I started to drift off. How could I not? The massage was soothing, the music soft and calm…I was experiencing extreme chill factor. So my eyes drifted closed, and then I heard it.


My eyes snapped open. Was that…was that a belch? Everyone stated giggling. Apparently the back massage helps relieve gas, as someone on the other side of the room was demonstrating. We all had a good laugh and I got back to relaxing, but not long after my eyes closed again,


Um, OK, that’s kinda nasty and distracting. I’m trying to relax over here. But I guess it can’t be helped. I’ll try to ignore it.


What is wrong with this person? Did they drink a whole two litre bottle of coke before coming here? Or maybe they have some kind of horrible gastrointestinal problem.  Dammit!

Yeah. The loud belching ruined to mood to say the least. But it was OK, since I went back a few more times after that and thankfully Belchy MacBelcherson wasn’t there.





Thailand and the Worst Toilet in the World

Bangkok and Tokyo are about as different as two cities can get, and yet when I arrived I felt a distinct sense of Deja Vu. It was culture shock again, it was the sense of embarking on a whole new adventure.

As soon as I exited the train station delicious smells drifted to my nose. There are so many food stalls and street restaurants lining the roads of Bangkok it’s like the whole city is one big wonderful buffet with an endless selection. I really love Thai food, so when I got a whiff of that sweet/sour/spicy aroma I had to smile, imaging the pigging-out that was to come. And pig out I did, but the funny thing is eating a concentrated amount of chilli peppers in a short amount of time has consequences, dire consequences…

But I’ll tell you more about that another time. First, gather ’round and I shall tell you a tale, of the worst toilet in the world (probably). I encountered this masterpiece of waste management engineering after a great meal at a street restaurant on what my room mate called “the food street”.  I ordered beer with dinner and instead of the usual bottle they brought this huge bottle that I had to drink on my own, because my room mate doesn’t like beer. So I chugged it back and not long after I felt “the need”.  When I asked for the bathroom the waitress led me to a dingy little alcove where a man was washing dishes — that was when my misgivings began.

Thai Street Food

The food that led to the beer that led to...the toilet...

“Sorry, sorry,” he said as he scurried out  and I walked through the puddles of water on the floor to a door in the corner, opened it, and froze. In the middle of a soppy floor made of dingy blue tiles was a little hole. The room had that gas-station-piss scent and there was no flush in sight. God, this was going to be just horrible but I really, really had to go. So I prayed to the gods of sanitation, dropped my pants and got into squat formation. A little white lizard peeped at me from the wall while I went and I nervously eyed a big spider web. Finally, the longest pee in history was over and I got out of the as quick as possible, only stopping to furtively wash my hands.  And toilet paper? What do you think this is? No, that was one luxury I  had to do without. On the bright side, using the squat toilets in Tokyo is now a walk in the park.

Look out for more posts about my exciting and enlightening trip to Thailand.



Making My Move

It’s decided, I’m moving out. The guest house life has been far less traumatic than I expected, but I do have some gripes: mainly space. Maybe you already know this, but real estate in Tokyo is like a fraction of the size of it’s western big city counterparts. Exhibit A: my rabbit cage.

Rabbit Cage

If I lie down and stretch out I can touch both ends of the room.

I’ve got a pile of clothes that’s falling over because I have no closet or dresser to put them in. And it’s not because I’m too cheap to buy one either. There’s just nowhere to put it! In fact it’s blatantly obvious that the room I live in used to be one room, but the company split it in two to get more rent.

That’s why I live right next to the front door, and I can hear when everyone comes and goes — whether that’s at midnight or six in the morning. There’s also this…scooter guy who comes to our neighbor’s house every morning  at about four. Not only does his stupid noisy scooter wake me up, the security light above the door turns on, flooding my room with an abrasive orange glow. This light also turns on when a cat or a bird or roach or microscopic bacteria pass by it.

Yep, it’s definitely time to move on, and this time next week I should be in my very own apartment.


How I Survived Six Months in Tokyo

Bad Communication Interview

OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic. My six months here have actually been more fun than a trip to the circus…by elephant…surrounded by juggling clowns. Andrew and Hiroki of the Bad Communication podcast had me on the show for another interview, and I talked about what’s happened since my first interview. You know, before I had ever set foot on Japanese soil. Check it out, and see what I have to say after spending half a year in Tokyo.


My Second Interview on Bad Communication