10th Nov 2019 / Thailand
Today was my Birthday. It was a day of relaxation & pain!
It started off great with some cornflakes for breakfast, my first proper breakfast for a week.
The rest of the morning was once again spent by the pool. Lunch was eaten in a local food market; food chosen by pointing to the pictures on the wall and at the meals the locals were eating. The results were very good, Gaby & I ate a fulfilling lunch for £2.50 between us.
After another stint by the pool, I put on my long trousers, despite the 30+ deg heat, as we were heating to the Wat Pho Temple. It's temple etiquette to wear full leg and shoulder cover.
Wat Pho Temple is home to the largest reclining Buddha in Bangkok (46m in length) and the countries largest collection of Buddha images.
To get there, we walked the short distance to the local river ferry, paid our Baht 15 fare (£0.39) and hopped on the boat for the short ride down the river. It was the same journey we had done the night before, but this time in daylight. The ferry didn't drop us off where we expected, so we ended up strolled through the huge flower market en route to the temple.
My birthday surprise was a Thai massage at the temple compound. Not having had one before but knowing that they are not the gentlest of massages in the world I convinced Gaby to have one with me... OK, she didn't need much convincing.
What followed was one of the most painfull experiences I have ever had. Whilst laid out alongside others, including Gaby, on large mattresses in an air conditioned pavillion; I had a Thai lady force her elbow onto every muscle in my legs, arms and back with what seemed like her full body weight as she twisted and pulled my legs in all directions. This continued for a full hour and finished with more pain to my neck and rest of my body as she stretched muscles I didn't even know I had. The only enjoyable part was the short few minutes she spend on my feet and hands. Gaby on the other hand had a lovely massage and almost fell asleep she was so relaxed.
The temple compound is also the
national headquarters for the teaching and preservation of traditional Thai medicine, including Thai massage, a mandate legislated by Rama III when the tradition was in danger of extinction
After recovering from the massages, we walked around the temple and grounds admired the huge Buddah and elaborate buildings; enjoyed the changing light as the sun set and artificial lights illuminated the tall towers.
A gentle stroll through the quiet city streets back to our hotel and more time in the pool to sooth my aching muscles.
Map: Where we ended up today