Archive for Just for fun
One of the highlights of SE Asia for Western women – cheap beauty treatments. Yesterday I stumbled into a beauty salon in Kanchanaburi a few hours west of Bangkok, and managed to wake the three salon girls napping on the sofas.
I had a manicure, a pedicure then had my hair washed, dyed and straightened for a grand total of 400 baht (about €8 or AUD12). Communication was limited, but smiles and hand gestures go a long way. After they’d just started on my hair, a young Canadian woman arrived, choosing the same mani/pedi combo that I had, and as us farang (foreigners) tend to do when pushed together,we started chatting.
The most interesting part of our chat, on top of the quite intimate topics we covered, seduced by either the gossipy beauty parlour atmosphere or the thought of never seeing each again, was to hear how her and her ‘husband’ mixed marriage with travel.
I used parentheses around the word husband, because it turned out they weren’t legally married and had no intentions to be so, but were common law husband and wife. This surprised me because she appeared at first glance to be the type of girly-girl who would insist on a white wedding – she had long peroxided hair, a tan, and wore lots of pink.
That said, she mentioned in fleeting that her husband was also in Thailand, but that she had no idea where. Intrigued, I used our pseudo-intimacy to ask a straight-out ‘Why?’.
The first point she made was that not only did they live together, but they also worked together – he as a golf instructor, and her as the buyer for the golf course. Her second point was that they had both travelled a lot when young and single, and had really enjoyed that style of travel. Both valid points.
So, the style they had compromised on was to either travel to different destinations, or to travel separately when at the same destination – as they are doing right now. After arriving in Bangkok and doing some island hopping with mutual friends, they went their separate ways, even going so far as to keep their next travel-stops in the country secret, so they wouldn’t be influenced by the other’s itinerary!
I asked if they had ever run into each other by accident – she said yes, when she travelled to Pai, in the north of Thailand, she walked into a restaurant only to find her husband seated at a table. After joining him, they realised they had also booked into the same guesthouse. She said they sheepishly returned to their accommodation and notified reception that they were shifting her things into his room.
It’s true what they say about travelling with someone – you do find out the limits of what you can stand when it comes to compromise and personal space. I’ve travelled with friends, partners and alone, and I have always felt a bit self-conscious admitting that I quite enjoy going solo. I find I tend to meet more people that way, since travelling pairs tend to be avoided by solo travellers looking to socialise.
I am aware that travelling separately is not that uncommon amongst mature couples, but it was very refreshing meeting a young couple who’d tailored their travel style to suit themselves, and weren’t worried about what other people would make of their unconventional style.