Singapore Adventure

Monday, June 12, 2006

Another Massage
by venitha

"I may not need another massage," says Sue as we loll poolside, soaking up the decadent beach portion of our Bali tour. We're stretched languidly on lounge chairs with books, with journals, with postcards. My wrist is adorned with an iridescent pearly black bracelet, a recent purchase from a beach-combing tout, and my sarong is tied loosely round my waist. Even without the requisite foofy drink - Oh, barboy! - it is very tempting to stay put.

Jim, I can't help but think, would love this.

"I mean, what can compare?" Sue brings me back to the glorious present, bereft though it is of Jim, with this reminder that she has luxuriated in three massages in four days, following two heavenly massages with Wayan, the guru's assistant, at Ubud's BodyWorks with a "healing" massage in our room in Munduk. The tension has languorously melted and lazily oozed from her shoulders down her arms. Teardrops of stress quivered reluctantly on her fingertips before falling, falling, falling... and landing with a viscous splat on the ground, where they were trampled insouciantly by prettily pedicured feet.

As for me, I enjoyed Fabio in Ubud, but too-fast-too-furious Helga in Munduk left me bruised and feeling more than a bit abused. "I can't go out on this low note. I definitely need one more."


Less than an hour later, I'm lying in a flower-strewn room and wearing hilariously large shorts while a lovely young woman stretches my legs in ways I didn't know they went. She dribbles me with fragrant rose oil, then patiently teases the knots from my shoulders and calves, interlaces her fingers with mine and caresses my palms with her thumbs. Low and hollow, bamboo flute melodies waft through the tropical air, accented Bali-style by crowing roosters in the yard, the occasional bark of a distant dog, the intermittent soft patter of rain on the roof.

Ohhh, Jim would love this.

Abruptly, my masseuse jars me from my contented trance, brashly thwacking me - what is she doing? - and making such an impressive percussive clatter that I forgive the discordant transition and strain to watch. I've almost figured out how she does it - palms together, fingers splayed, and is it a roll or a twist or a jerk or a ? - when she suddenly disappears, leaving me to wonder if that was the finale, and if so, where my clothes are.

Before I do anything rash, however, she returns bearing a peace offering: a bowl filled with a thick milky soup. "Body scrub," she announces. "Roll over."

Yes, ma'am, I think, then, Wow! as she drizzles the cool liquid up one leg and down the other, gently rubs its softly abrasive grit into my body, scratching the mosquito bites, invigorating every inch of me from shoulders to stomach right down to little toes.

Ah, bliss. Jim would so love this.


Reunited with my clothing and radiantly aglow, I pay the beautiful receptionist the equivalent of US$10 for the last 90 minutes, extravagant tip and transportation included, and tell her that I may well be back tomorrow.

Sue nods in happy agreement. "I could definitely do another massage."

I returned for a massage and body scrub the next day; Sue did not. I personally gave Jim a body scrub shortly after returning to Singapore; he loved it.