Part 2 of the Mama’s Escape with Woog diary (Part 1 is here)
Not long after breakfast on my first day in Phuket on Mama’s get-me-the-fuck-away-from-my-life escape I found myself lying almost naked on one of three massage beds in a tiny room filled with tiger balm, religious offerings and bunch of tiny Thai women who each had the strength of an ox (as it turned out).
Lying next to me was my escape host and champion non-fuck-giver Kayte who swiftly whipped off her togs declaring she had no shame. It took me all of 30 seconds to follow suit and acknowledge that I too was down with that approach. I was in the bosom of the sistahood after all.
Relaxing is hard work. Particularly if you aren’t very good at it. And I’m not. I fill up my cup of expectations with visions of peace and tranquillity and then struggle to reach that place in my head to actually let the calm in. It’s something I have to work on. Much like the bike shorts and chafing cream I always pack for tropical holidays I really should learn to pack a little bit of chill-the-fuck-out too.
Having spent the better part of a day actually travelling to get here, two days in and I am still a little bit frayed around the edges. It is universally agreed that the worst part of holidays are without a doubt the getting to and from (unless you have that whole private jet thing and an army of staff going on of course). It always takes me a few days to fall into line with the local lay of the land. I spend a fair chunk of the start of every holiday going a few rounds with my inner critic, my princess-needs-a-different-room conversation with myself and generally trying to deep breath my way through things I whole heartedly acknowledge are white privilege issues.
It didn’t help that on the plane trip over I also chose to watch the ridiculously OTT Sex & The City 2 movie…the one where they Abu Dhabi all over their Manolos…because that’s the way normal people travel.
We arrived at our hotel well after dark reeking of eu-de-travel and were greeted with the standard-resort-issue fragrant cool towel, and the oh-so-gracious and welcoming Thai people. The check in after long travel is always something that rattles me. The reception staff want to bend over backwards to welcome you (because they are gorgeous humans) but they do this by dumping a tsunami of information on you when your brain is mush. I tend to thank them profusely and just stash all the maps, the paperwork, the vouchers, the tour guide information and any other bloody thing away until my brain has de-fragged. I am in no condition to deal with information.
Once we’d dealt with the paperwork we were led down stairs, up some stairs and to a lift that would take us to our room with a balcony overlooking the Andaman Sea and, in my case, the breakfast bar. Which was exactly where I met my escapee companions just 10 restless hours later. Despite being fatigued and most of us strangers to each other, it was easy welcoming conversations, hugs and coffee. Lots of coffee. Praise be.
It took all of 10 minutes for the chats to turn to tips on managing the heat when you aren’t Carrie Bradshaw. Hallelujah. Real women. Real sweat. Real chafing cream! The conversation continued in the same vane as we all waddled down to the pool in our new bathers (generously gifted by Sequins & Sand ). We marvelled at the rigging that sucked all the bits in and kept the girls contained, bobbing up and down as we forgot about life for a while. Bliss.
Which brings me to being naked next to our host, Woogie. The full day of airline travel coupled with the departing gift of a cold from my darling 4 year old meant my bones and muscles were all a little bit crap. Lucky for me there was a $10 massage place right across the street that specialised in dealing with that crap (Yes, there’s also a spa at the hotel we’re ensconced in but I wasn’t about to waste an actual spa treatment on a remedial rub…there’ll be time enough for that later.)
So there we were. Boobs down, bum up muffling into the massage table about creaky old bones when a Thai girl wearing a t-shirt that said “Bangkok City Bitch” in diamontes slapped my butt as she exclaimed ‘ooooh sexy bottom’. Only in Thailand right? I laughed until she started pounding into my shoulders and stretching my arms into places that they just don’t go to easily any more. Damn, Bangkok City Bitch knew her stuff! There’d be no happy ending for me in this massage, that was for damn sure.
Two days into this mama escape I’ve learned that it’s not just my arms that struggle to go to places they used to years ago. Getting to paradise city is much harder than I thought it would be this trip. The older I’ve gotten, the more life I’ve lived and the more stuff I have in my head and the harder I find it to just let it the fuck go (And with a 4-year-old who has just had a Frozen party you’d think I’d be all over that ‘let it go’ shit, right?).
So I’m not in paradise yet, but I can see it from here. And thankfully, being in the bosom of the sistahood is an excellent place to ask for directions should I struggle to find my way.