Back from vacation! Woo! Back from white sand beaches and blue-green water and beautiful – stroke – delicious fish! Wait a minute… blerg.
So I was lying in bed in a dorm room in the Philippines a few weeks ago, trying to sleep, when my roommate came in very respectfully and quietly. A few moments after he lay down, we heard two drunk guys coming down the street, talking loudly; they were stopped by someone with a feminine voice asking them if they wanted a massage. At three-thirty in the morning. “Six hundred pesos for one hour,” the masseuse said. “Ah, yes,” said the guys. “Maybe.” The masseuse continued: “Maybe you’d like a special massage? If you want a happy ending, of course, it costs more.”
At this point my dorm mate and I both bolted upright and stared at each other, mouths agape, not believing out ears. If we could hear this conversation, then no doubt everyone in our hostel and everyone in the guesthouse these guys were staying in across the street could also hear the entire conversation. My dorm mate looked out the window: “They’re ladyboys!” he exclaimed. He recognized them because they’d been hitting on him all night at the bar.
“Okay, okay… wait,” said the drunk guys. A couple of minutes of silence passed before they came back and gave money to the masseuse. “Two people,” they instructed. Then: “Room four.” And just in case the masseuse or the entire neighborhood didn’t hear them, they repeated: “ROOM FOUR.” As a friend of mine later put it, nothing was lost in translation. I wanted nothing more than to knock on their door the next morning to ask how the massage went, but my better judgment regarding manners told me that might have been a bit tacky (but SO MUCH FUN).
Mountains and beaches are beautiful and all, but moments like this are the reason I travel.