When navigating language barriers, different cultures and foreign environments as you travel, there are bound to be a few slip ups, right?
Photos: myself and Ryan Ammon
I am slowly but surely getting through all of my Cambodia content!
Last week it was a story on our accommodation in Siem Reap, and before that, a bit of a sneak peek at what we got up to while we were there. Before I get stuck in to sharing some of my favourite spots to dine in Siem Reap, I thought I would share a more lighthearted anecdote from our time in the city; along with a little photo diary of our first few days there.
I am going to preface this rather embarrassing story by letting you know that I have no issues with nudity and the human form (I think this earlier piece was proof of that!). As someone who constantly feels pressure to be dressed well, I just so happen to love the freedom of being unclothed. The freedom of being unclothed in an appropriate setting, that is.
So, you may have gathered that nudity is the crux of my embarrassing travel story…
Here goes nothing (quite literally)!
On our last night in Cambodia, Ryan and I decided to take one last trip in to the heart of Siem Reap. Being the last night, I was on underwear rations. I had 3 clean pairs of underwear left – one pair to wear to bed, one pair for the first leg of the flight, and another for the second leg. Writing this out, it now sounds a bit over the top. Never the less, I had plans and I was sure as hell going to stick to them.
Not wanting to mess up my underwear plan, I decided that I would go in to town wearing a vintage pair of swim shorts that I had with me, equipped with built in underwear. I was a genius. Somehow I had managed to solve the great underwear issue of 2017. Looking back on it now, I am at a loss as to why I didn’t just wear bather bottoms. I am going to go with the ‘they were still damp’ excuse.
After a night strolling the markets, then indulging in some of the best Khmer cuisine we had had yet, Ryan and I had a random ‘treat yo self’ moment.
At 10.30pm, we decided we were going to go and get a massage and pedicures. It really was a last minute decision! Now, I know my massages, so – with my built in underwear situation in the back of my mind – I was very careful to book myself in for a back and shoulder massage only.
Done. I was booked in for a back and shoulder massage, Ryan was booked in for a full body massage, and we both had a pedicure to follow.
At this point, I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to a nice, relaxing massage. What a shame it wasn’t to be…
The masseuse timidly showed me from the counter to my room and massage table, and after a few failed attempts at us conversing, she left me alone to prepare. We did manage to communicate that I needed to undress, so up I jumped on the table, braless and ready for my back and shoulder massage.
As we got started, the masseuse quickly came to realise that I still had my shorts on. In her broken english, she told me to ‘please undress’. In denial about what she actually wanted – I was booked in for a back and shoulder massage after all – I asked her to clarify. She gestured at my pants, and told me I had to take them off, then left the room.
Sweet baby Jesus. She needed me to take my shorts, with the inbuilt underwear I had been so genius to utilise, OFF.
I had 5000 things running through my head at this point. Perhaps I should just leave them on and pretend I was confused by what she was asking? Or, maybe I could outright refuse to take them off? Better still, I could run. In my panic, I didn’t once stop to think to ask her ‘why do I have to take them off?’. Instead I convinced myself that she needed me to take them off so the band wouldn’t get in the way of the back massage. Oh how wrong I was.
I very reluctantly undressed and jumped back up on the table, under the towel, completely nude. Naturally, when she returned I was as far from relaxed. I was hiding a big secret under that towel. She continued to work on my back for a bit, replacing the towel about 5 minutes in. Then came utter humiliation.
She whipped the towel up ready to massage my legs, revealing my bare bum to (what I can only assume) was an incredibly shocked masseuse. I could feel my face go bright red. I just lay there like nothing had happened, trying to think of how I could fix the situation I had just got myself into. Bless her cotton socks, she just kept on going with her job. And I just kept laying there, tense and humiliated.
This was not good, nor was it in any way the relaxing massage I had hoped for.
Unfortunately, it just got worse from there. I can’t even blame how terrible the massage was on the fact she was trying to do her job whilst navigating around a very naked me.
Maybe the shock was so severe she got amnesia and had no idea how to massage anymore? After completely forgetting to work on one shoulder, she then spent twice the amount of time on one leg as she did the other. With about 30 minutes to go, she began pressing my arms. Yes, ‘pressing’. You know what your cats do when they are settling in and getting comfy?
That is what my ‘massage’ had become. It was now a half-assed human contact experience at best. I kid you not, she even stopped to check her phone a few times. Each time she realised she hadn’t yet used up the full hour, she just went back to pressing my arm. I almost laughed at how terrible the situation was. Instead, I lay there just willing this whole experience to be over.
Now, I know I couldn’t expect rainbows and sunshines from a massage that cost us $15.00, but I would have at least expected something a little more massage-y. Then again, my masseuse was probably expecting something a little less nudey.
Finally, after what felt like eons, the hour was up.
Oh sweet relief! This horrendous situation had drawn to a close. Finally I could get up, redress, and run away to never see this poor woman again. Ah, the joys of international travel!
Then I remembered I had to sit there for another hour while she did my pedicure, with her and all of her colleagues.
I can only imagine what they were all talking about while I sat there…
So there you have it, my most embarrassing travel story to date.
What was evidently a miscommunication due to language barrier, resulted in me getting the worst, most naked, full body massage of my life!
What embarrassing things have happened to you on your travels? Indulge me in your most embarrassing travel story!