<Sydney, New South Wales>
Sydney Day 3: After eating breakfast, it was time to get my hair done. The last time I dyed my hair, I was in Aberdeen, Scotland. I’m trying to make this a “thing” that happens whenever I travel. It’s a blast! I found a little Salon and an empty chair. A boy named Ollie who is an immigrant from Poland gave me a haircut and did the color. I told him afterward that since I was on vacation, he needed to pose for a picture with me. He came from Poland last year and is living with his girlfriend, who is originally from Lithuania. Very nice boy. Feel free to ignore my facial hair because when I got back to the hostel that night, I shaved it all off. I now look blonde… and younger…. ish… but I still have the same amount of wrinkles.
I was looking at the map, deciding where I wanted to go on day 4, and what jumped out at me was a place called Watsons Bay (why on earth would that catch my eye?). Not sure the history of Watsons Bay, but I knew this was going to be my goal for the day. Rather than wait for a bus, I opted to walk… and walk… and walk… and walk. I put in the miles! It was 7.1 miles one way, to be exact!
The walk was incredibly beautiful and when I got to Watsons Bay, I needed some rest and relaxation. I thought I would walk around the park where I was told there was a historic lighthouse. The area was so great- looking to the left, you could see the mouth of the Sydney Bay. Looking to the right, you could see the Tasman Sea. It was incredible!
Now for the fun part: I never thought I’d have the guts to do what I did next. First of all, I knew that if I thought about it for too long then I’d “wuss-out”. After doing it, I sort of struggled with the decision of whether or not I should share this part of my journey. My first thought is that my friends and family don’t need to know EVERYTHING that happens on this vacation.
This is, however, something that I feel is such a milestone in someone’s life that I just needed to share. Before you throw your unrighteous judgment in my direction- understand that I had just walked over 7.1 miles and needed to relax. Nude beach time! I figure that “haters gonna hate”.
The beach was occupied by me and two others. No big deal, right? This goes against my American squeamishness, but it’s not like they’re ever going to see me again. So screw it! Let’s get naked and wet!
I decided that I was going to walk all the way home, rather than try to find public transportation. With all this walking around, I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I walked about 17 miles by the time I got back to the hostel. I needed to get off my feet bad! I felt a massage was in order.
Near my hostel, I remembered seeing a building that said they offered Thai Massages. Up to this point, I’d only ever had a Swedish massages so I figured this would be a new experience. The massage parlor was located upstairs so when I walked through the glass doors, there was a long narrow stairway leading up to the next level.
I made my way up top and this lady was sitting at a desk. I asked her if any of the therapists were available. She said they were and I wanted a remedial massage- she said this was the closest thing to a Swedish massage. I paid her the money and she called one of the therapists over. The girl smiles and bows her head. Now, do you remember the scene from Big Trouble in Little China where the guy goes in to find a Chinese prostitute with green eyes? This is the vibe I’m getting by this point.
The therapist tells me her name but I’m kind of freaking out so I don’t remember it. She says, “Follow me, please.” Only she says it in a very thick Asian accent and I have to ask her to repeat herself so that I can understand. She bows and motions with her hand for me to follower her down a dark hallway to a room.
We enter the room and she tells me to take off all my clothes but leave on my underwear. I’m laughing to myself wondering what the hell I’m getting myself into. I always leave my underwear on when I’m getting a massage because if something happens (fire drill or whatever) and I have to exit the building fast, at least I have underwear on. So she motions to the table and tells me she’ll be right back.
Ok here’s one key difference with a massage in the states (at least with the massages I’ve had up to this point): They always ask you to cover up under the top sheet and wait (usually on your stomach). Then the therapist comes in and starts. Here’s the problem I’m faced with. There is no top sheet. So I strip down to my underwear and am laying there on my stomach, stressing out that I might be doing this wrong.
She comes back into the room and asks me if I’m relaxed. I tell her I am, even though I’m just trying to convince myself that I am. She then proceeds to pull down the back of my underwear and I’m thinking “ok it’s just my butt crack- everyone has a butt crack. No big deal.” She slathered this oil all over my back (and upper-hiney) and starts the massage.
Ok, this feels amazing and in no time I’m feeling relaxed. I was hurting so bad that I really needed this work done. The slight uneasiness I had when I first got here has now melted away.
Next, she climbs up onto the table (I’m not even kidding) and I’m wondering what’s about to happen. I am also wondering how many steps it will take me to be out of the door if needed. She kneels on my feet and is moving up the back of my legs slowly. The back of my calves are killing me, but she’s working them deeply! It was horribly painful, and when I told her to back off a bit, she laughed and kept working them.
She gets to my gluteus maximus. I can feel her feet on the back of my knees now. This sounds weird but it felt really incredible. She kept working up my back until her knees are on my shoulder blades. She hops off and re-oils my back and goes to work on my neck and shoulders, more of Swedish style.
I just reread this entire story and I am laughing at myself. Some of the other people in the hostel are wondering what’s so funny. I just read them the story. I’m pretty sure they think I’m a moron. They laughed though- so at least I’m a funny moron.