Sunday, 29 April 2012

Yin Yoga & Mae Ngat Dam

The week just passed was spent partaking in Yin Yoga sessions with a couple of days spent on a huge reservoir called Mae Ngat Dam, 40 miles North of Chiang Mai.

Having completed the Thai Massage course, we decided to read the theory of 'Acupressure Points'. We did find that the 'Improving Technique', week three afternoons were very good, although the morning theory sessions could easily have been taught in about 30 minutes as opposed to almost two and half hours each day. This and other factors cemented our decision to learn the 'Acupressure Point' section through the reading literature. Much of week three was spent going over weeks one and two, with a handful of new positions thrown in, so it didn't really feel worth it's money. Having looked at the syllabus we decided that week four could easily be learnt over a couple of days, through the use of a good 'Acupressure' book. Now we both

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Thai Massage Week 3

Another hard week of Thai Massage passed by without event.
Theory, anatomy and constant practise were the orders of each day.
Friday, the assessment day came quickly. Each one of us received a half hour massage from the teachers. The areas they worked on were as follows, legs & hips, lower back, upper back and arms & head. This would also include elements of hand and foot massage.
We all drew pieces of paper which would inform us of which massage we'd be receiving. Amanda ended up with legs & hips and asked to swap with me (anyone that knows Amanda will know this swapping also happens at restaurants), I'd picked out lower back.
I swapped, then as she approached the whiteboard to write her name in the table, to record what massage she was receiving, she convinced Teemu to swap his Arms & Head with her..... She then decided that some sort of Karma might come into play, and that she should stop being so fussy (she has very tight hips, and was concerned about having them worked to hard), and take what she was given. I was happy with my Legs & Hips being worked, they are loose and flexible. Amanda told me she wanted to swap back, laughing as she playfully snatched Legs & Hips back, leaving me with Teemu's Arms & Head. Hmmmmmmm.

I'm not that into having my face touched a lot, so was now holding my least favourite option. Teemu offered to swap back. I wanted to bite his hand off, but I felt I should be more democratic, and offered 'Choose a Hand'. Teemu didn't mind the Arms & Head, so all worked out well!
The massage was an absolute treat, these guys are so good. The pressure of pneumatic press where required, and the touch of an overweight butterfly in more sensitive areas.

We lay, learned and enjoyed.

When the afternoon came around and the assessment was about to begin, Amanda decided, 'You're too heavy and your hips are too floppy'. It was was the first time

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Thai Massage Week II & The Thai New Year in Pai......

We worked through the week, without a break for the weekend, 12 hours a day, learning manoeuvres and techniques hour upon hour, practising until 10.30pm at night.

Assessment Day
We were paired up with new partners for the end of week two assessment. Amanda was with a tiny Japanese girl called Mari, whilst I was with Francesca, an Italian lady.
The assessment day fell on my birthday, which I'd forgotten about, until Amanda came to meet me at 7.15am for a massage practise and yoga session before breakfast. As she strolled into the 'Quiet Room' a little bag of gifts swung gently by her side. They contained my 'weaknesses'. A box of white chocolate and cranberry cookies, a bottle of Leffe (Belgium Beer) and a new bar of lovely soap. She'd also managed to find me a card, and then too the time to turn it into a birthday card, with a beautiful message. Thank you Amanda for such a lovely start to the assessment day.
Amanda Receives Certificate & Wrist Band
After performing my one and a half hour set, Francesca pointed out that I'd managed to omit a couple of little positions from my massage. The invigilator was also quick to highlight my misdemeanour's. Her sitting position was directly in front of me, no more than 2 metres away..... Bugger! I deftly demonstrated my prowess in both positions as she reassessed me. She complimented me on move '25' stating, “You do very good!”, and asked me to demonstrate this to a student that was struggling with this move. Nice to hear a positive I thought to myself.
Amanda, as I'd expected flew through the assessment as she had done in the previous assessment.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Thai Massage & Border Run.....

For the end of week one examination I was partnered up with a South Africa/Australian guy called Pan (who told me he was hoping he'd get me, which was great, because without sounding gay, I was hoping to get him too, easy going good hearted guy, both matching body sizes too. A Thai Massage partnership made in heaven! Ha ha!), he massaged me to bits, he was superb, didn't look at

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Thai Massage Course

With day two of the Thai Massage Course (TMC) completed, we have realised what a daunting task we've taken on, in trying to learn the art of TM. There are so many positions, it's like the Kama Sutra of 'Stretching' 'Body Manipulation' and 'Healing', whichever of the for mentioned that takes your fancy.
Pad Thai (yes that is the name the instructor goes under) is a funny, chirpy local Thai Massage Master from Chiang Mai. He seems to enjoy teaching as much as we enjoy learning from him. Though at times he forgets we are students, and tends to instruct a little faster than our immature Massage Minds can take in. Throw in verbal Thai English instruction and things can take a little longer than normal to understand. One thing is for sure, he exudes pure enthusiasm.

Today he had me up drawing a map of Britain on the white board to show him, and the other 16 folks on the course where the Isle of Man, or the 'Iron of Man', is located in relation to the lesser important countries in Great Britain. You know who you are!

By the end of this course we will have the fingers and thumbs of a Bangkok Street 'Masseuse'!!!

As I've already mentioned, Amanda and I are once again sleeping in separate quarters.... A mere 15 metres or so separates us on this occassion, and there are no problems with talking etc (the etc bit is still quite restricted though, no hanky panky, or even a build up to hanky panky, which I believe is known as foreplay! Ha ha!) and mingling. In fact Amanda and I have been partners during the course for the past two days, though I'm sure they'll mix it up as we go on. There is a Thai 'lady' on the course, we are not 100% sure as to her original sex, and that fact that she can't take her eyes off the men doesn't really clarify the situation..... She's a lot taller than most of the Thai women we have met on our travels, but most of the obvious old give aways, such as the Adam's Apple or the bollocks, have cleverly been shaved away by some rich cosmetic surgeon. I'm pretty sure if I have to partner with her/him I can work the groin area a little closer than need be.... Just to satisfy our curiosity.

Even the assistant (she-ish) looks like a forward for the New Zealand All Blacks.... But she does have nicely painted nails, and some glitter on her hands..... She's lovely too, very helpful and very considerate..... That's another reason why I'm convinced she must also have been a man at some point! Ha ha!

Amanda and I have just performed a full speed run through of all 'the moves' we've been taught the last couple of days. It's now 10pm We started at 7.30pm..... I was happy with the moves, but got frustrated due to my lack of memory.
Sounds like my younger days really - great moves, but very little recollection about how I managed to perform them, and what order they should be in.
Amanda was awesome, she almost remembered everything in the correct order..... She put me to shame. As she so often does.

I'll get there in the end.... and when I do it will be an awesome experience for anyone who has the pleasure of my palms, fingers, thumbs, soles, heels, forearms or elbows working their muscles..... Sounds painful I know, but it will be a beautiful pain I can assure you!

Bye for now!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Koh Phangan to Chiang Mai.....

The Songthaew arrived exactly on time, 7.45am. Maybe it was because the only lady Songthaew driver on all of Koh Phangnan, in fact the only one we've spotted on our entire travels was doing the run. She hurtled from See Tanu to Thong Sala Pier, arriving within 10 minutes, which let me tell you, is bloody quick. She then suggested Amanda and I have a coffee, or purchase something to eat ahead of the 3.5 hour ferry trip to Chumpong. Great idea we thought. Although we had risen at 5.30am to shower and prepare a massive fruit salad, yoghurt and muesli breakfast and weren't