Paddy’s Markets in Haymarket
On a rainy day I decided to pay Paddy’s a visit.
Wow, it was indeed massive. In an unattractive hall were hundreds of stalls lined up in lanes.
The majority of the vendors seemed to be of Asian descent. Not surprising, being located right next to Sydney’s Chinatown.
There were vendors selling colorful to crazy hair extensions and wigs. Uggs were omnipresent. Fake bags. Souvenirs. Party costumes. Cheap, imported dresses and tops. And much more.
Maybe this sounds un-promising, but don’t get me wrong; I love a market like this.
trashy quirky and kitsch-y are my middle-names.
the hall is ugly not a pretty place , the ambiance in the hall was lively and beheld the promise of finding yourself a bargain or a funny gift for someone.
“I guess it’s a European thing”, she said.
First I found me a cheap bag. Then I bought a cute top at one of the stalls.
To my surprise, handing over my buy in a plastic tote, the vendor, an asian lady in her thirties, complimented me with what I was wearing.
How had I found a necklace that matched my top so well, she asked me? And where had I learned to combine colors and patterns?
Before I could answer her questions, she revealed that she herself was useless at that.
“Look at what I am wearing now!”
She pointed to her dark blue jeans and grey T-shirt with a look of disappointment on her face.
“See? I always end up wearing something like this. Boring, right?! I wish you could teach me how to dress better. Look, I bought this yesterday.”
She picked a plastic bag from under her chair and showed me it’s content: pants and blouse, indeed again in
boring basic colors.
“So how would you spice this up? What’s your advice?”
I pointed to some of the shawls she was selling. “Wear this one with it. Or that one.”
She seemed happy with my answer and thanked me. “I guess it’s a European thing”, she added, “All of you seem to combine and dress so effortlessly!”. I just gave her my friendliest smile, not feeling the need to shatter her ideas about us Europeans;-).
Although I don’t think our small conversation shed much light on the art of combining colors and patterns, I enjoyed it. Especially since she started the conversation AFTER I did my buy. It felt friendly, instead of as a sales trick.
Tiny woman, strong grip
Ten minutes, five lanes, 326 boomerangs and 280 pairs of Uggs further, I saw two women undergoing chair massages in a tiny booth. I did not really pay attention, until I was suddenly grabbed by my arm by an asian lady. She started kneading my arm firmly straight away. I was locked in her iron grip, while her free hand
molested massaged my arm, crawling up to my neck. The woman pulled a difficult face and pursed her lips. “Ai, ai, so tight! No good! Problems. Need massage. Come. Sit.”
I tried to free myself, repeating: “No thanks, really, no.”
She did not loosen her grip one bit and was attacking my neck by now. “Only 15 minutes, ma’m, 15 dollars. Come. Sit.” When I kept refusing she quickly brought her lips to my ear, whispering:”Ok, just for you, ma’m, special price. Just 10 dollars.”
I stood my ground and she finally let go of my arm. Pfjew, that tiny lady was persistent!
I walked away, my
molested massaged arm feeling as if a small truck had just driven over it.
You know, she may very well have been a great masseur. I would even say: she probably was. But I don’t respond well to guerrilla-attack enforced massages. And also not to being massaged out in the open, in a full shopping hall. Not exactly my ideal circumstances for relaxation.
How thorough do you want your massage to be?
Talking about massages. I’m not very good at being massaged. I tend to feel self-conscious, which makes me even more tense.
The only time I went for massages-just-for-relaxing, so not for medical reasons, was here in Singapore.
A friend gave me a card on which still a handful of massage-sessions were left. I used up three of them and yes, the masseuse was good. Still, I had some uncomfortable moments.
The massages took place in a darkened space and the only thing you were supposed to keep on was your slip. So I thought I was ‘safe’, down there;-).
My first surprise was when the masseuse spent quite some time massaging my breasts. The shock was bigger when she arrived at what I thought was my ‘safe area’. In a jiffy she had rolled up and away the fabric of my slip and started kneading my naked buttocks quite extensively and thorough.
She came close. Real close. Hm, not sure what to think of that. It seemed a bit weird to me and I felt uncomfortable.
The second and third time I knew what to expect, so it felt less awkward. I also instructed her to literally respect my boundaries a bit more. Which she (kinda) did.
I do not consider myself a prude. After all, I’m Dutch, right?!!!;-)
My massaging experience got me doubting that assumption. Am I a prude after all?
What is a prude? Am I one? Are you? Does it matter?
In Holland we go to the sauna to enjoy a relaxing day out. Alone, with a girlfriend or with our spouse. Usually Dutch saunas are mixed (both male and female visitors) and everybody is naked.
(I’ve been to saunas in the UK and in Budapest where men and women were in different cabines and where everyone wore a bathing suit.)
I like the Dutch way and have no problems with that. People tend to keep to themselves in the sauna and behave in a decent and as-non-sexual-way-as-possible.
Many of my friends in Holland love going to the nude beach; there is one not far from where I live. I do NOT share their enthusiasm.
While in a sauna, everybody is quiet and sort of ignoring each other. But the beach is a social place. Before you know it, you are recognized as a regular and other regulars, men too, feel free to come over for a chat. Sitting in my lounge chair at the beach, with a guy -a stranger, okay, a regular, but still a stranger- chatting me up, while his privates dangle at eye-height – MY eyes – is NOT cool. I guess it crosses my boundaries of what’s private and what’s public.
Is that what defines being a prude? And is that then a bad thing?
Do you go for massages regularly? What type of massage do you like best? Have you ever had an experience like mine? Is that maybe normal/standard?