Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ricky the welder

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Day five. Our last day in Bacong/Dumaguete. Doesn’t bear thinking about.

Another big walk? Probably excessive. So what? Lyndall had given me all sorts of tips on what to do here, based on her experiences on the last trip, and I hadn’t been enormously successful with them. So, maybe today… today I would do the massage. After yesterday’s exertions a nice massage would be just the ticket. And anyway, I had a yen to try the oriental version of what Caryl practices on my imprecisely moving and more-or-less movable parts back in New Zealand.
I’d seen a couple of places in town (150 pesos an hour), but they didn’t look too salubrious (and you know how salubrity conscious I am), and I couldn’t really see the sense of making a fourth trip into Dumaguete proper, so I decided for adventure. I’d go back to Dauin and try Mr Ricky. The masseur who seemed also to be a welder.

An hour and a bit’s sticky striding down the National Road and I came to the village. Ricky operates from rooms above a gloomy, shabby shop and, when he isn’t there, the staircase is closed off by an iron-grilled trapdoor. The trapdoor was down, and the shop thought he might be in at midday. Midday!
I set pensively off to do the grand tour of Dauin (market, Spanishy church, shops, public buildings with some bannered ceremony going on and the Grand March from Aida echoing from hidden loudspeakers), followed by an exhaustive tour of the suburbs of Dauwin. And it was still only 9.40. I gave up and turned homewards and, as I passed, I glanced up the staircase. The trapdoor was open!



Ricky is definitely not, and never will be, a welder. Ricky is a small, sliver-slight, very pretty, fourteen year-old (twenty-four, actually) Hispano-Filipino. And, yes, a boy. Though I have to admit that I had to suspend judgement briefly. We sized each other up. I thought, oy oy, is this Massage Parlour or an ummmm massage parlour, and Ricky sadly told me that he actually couldn’t help me because he didn’t keep any massage girls at Dauin, there being no call for them. It took me an instant to click. Of course, any large, sweaty, be-turbanned, wealthy white man (all white men are wealthy) who turns up eagerly at a massage parlour at 10am on a weekday morning must surely be after a massage with ‘extras’. I pantomimed my bad back and game leg and his face lit up. I wanted a therapy massage! I was on.



We proceeded from the tiny reception room into another barely larger room dominated by a large iron bed with a solid base. Ricky prepared his lotions and potions, I buffed off and …
Two hours later…
If that is an oriental massage, I want one every week. Every day would be sybaritic, not to say time-consuming. But, why not? Every day.
I think every square millimetre of my body (well, one or two .. no, make that just one .. excepted) went under his expert, flying hands. I could feel my hands and my feet coming to life, the kinks in my back and shoulders and neck and leg un-kinking, my painful groin un-paining, and after an hour or so I just lay there, as he ploughed into my extremities, gazing through the openwork ceiling, feeling the warm breezes (I think it was a fan) dancing over my vivified body, filled with the most extraordinary feeling of well-being and, indeed, sensuality. Sensuality! Me!! I’m sure this is what the lotus eaters did when they weren’t eating. Somehow, even, the loud pop music was passing me by. In fact, I think I liked it.

Two hours! And Ricky, whose body is so slight you wouldn’t think there was a smidgin of sweat in it, was dripping. While I was luxuriating, purring, floating.
Two hours? I’d counted on 30 minutes or at most an hour! I would miss lunch back at the ship and be subjected to ribald comment…

But the after-sales service chez Ricky was equal to the task. A quick coke, a quick exchange of e-mail addresses (you bet I’m coming back!), the commercial bit done (he’d put himself through a non-stop 2-hour physical workout for $30US), and out came the smart, black motor bike. I was pillioned back to the ship through the moving forest of trucks and tuk-tuks … an experience, I can tell you! Well, you try clinging like a spoon to someone whose hands have been climbing round your excesses and recesses for the last two hours! Impossible to be insensible…

Ricky, my lad, I’m bloody glad you aren’t a welder. You’re one hell of a masseur. Not to mention, one hell of a nice guy. See you next time round. If not before.

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