Somerset Maugham & Sophistication(?)

Sometimes life just doesn’t work out the way you hope. But sometimes, it really, really does.

When my husband and I first visited Thailand in 2015, I was jumping-up-and-down excited to drop in at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok. Famous for its Author’s Lounge–a posh tea room set alongside the Chao Phraya river–this now-five-star hotel was a haven for literary greats like Joseph Conrad and W. Somerset Maugham in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In fact, playwright and composer Noël Coward once wrote about The Oriental:

“There is a terrace overlooking the swift river where we have drinks every evening watching the liver-coloured water swirling by and tiny steam tugs hauling rows of barges up river against the tide. It is a lovely place and I am fonder of it than ever.”

Contrary to what my husband will tell you, I don’t have superstitious notions about sipping tea where literary geniuses once sipped, no expectation that this will imbue me with their brilliance. But I am a huge literary fan-girl (i.e., nerd). And so nothing was going to keep me from visiting such a place when it was a mere cab-ride away. Continue reading “Somerset Maugham & Sophistication(?)”

Thai Massage: Benevolent Torture

Here’s my confession: My trip to Thailand last week actually marked my second visit to the country. And the first time I went, I didn’t get a Thai massage.

Not even one.

(Insert gasp here.)

Inexpensive, ubiquitous, and uniquely invigorating, Thai massages are probably the thing to do in Thailand… at least for those not looking to indulge in the shadier side of tourism. But my husband and my first trip to Thailand was short and last minute, leaving me without time to research where in Bangkok one should go for the ideal massage experience. And as Thailand is (tragically) rife with sex tourism, my paranoia about inadvertently entering a “massage” parlor kept me from wandering into any of the many spas I saw lining the streets of Bangkok. Continue reading “Thai Massage: Benevolent Torture”