Massaging the wallet

I have been given legal counsel to issue the following disclaimer:


Having been ambling around Cusco for a few days now we have been offered on countless occasions massages. Indeed so fixed in the tourist agenda is a Cusco massage that it rates highly in WikiTravels top things to do in Cusco.

So, after a particularly uncomfortable night’s sleep and because of a high degree of bed swapping that has taken place over the past two months, we decided to splash out and dive in.

Being true to our traveller routes, we shopped around for the best price, settling on 15 Soles (about £3.75) for a 1 hour, full body massage.

We arrived at our allotted time and were shown into a fairly typical room. As is usual practice, we stripped down to our underwear, lay on the bed and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited.

After about 15 minutes, we heard a door open and looked up expectantly. A boy of about 5 ambled in. He casually walked around the tables chatting away in Spanish. I ventures a “¿dónde está la masseuse” to which he replied “Machu Pichu con la Incas”. This was unsettling. We decided that the boy would be no use as a masseuse and seemed to posses little relevant information so we dismissed him with a “vamos”. The child simply stared.

Some while later, a woman in her twenties walked in and proceeded to Mairead’s table. To my somewhat shock and alarm, she was followed by a girl of about 12. Another nuisance child a thought… alas no, this was to be my masseuse.

She started on my shoulders and back, but clearly lacked the strength to penetrate the several layers of knots that had built up. She heaved herself up onto the table in order to gain greater purchase whilst talking to her colleague in Spanish, I assume saying something along the lines of “Are you serious? Have you seen the size if this bugger? I’m only bloody 12! And also, his left shoulder is pretty hairy but his right has none… what’s that about?”

As she worked away, there was a large degree of clapping involved, so much so that I presumed she was also training as a croupier at the local casino, ably demonstrating that she was neither fixing the cards or my back.

In fairness to her she soldiered on. She moved from my back to my feet, which she simple tickled for 5 minutes. She then moved on to my legs, at which time her fellow masseuse got a phone call which she took. Evidently the news was exciting and as the information was relayed, my girl started rubbing up and down my leg faster, effectively plucking half the hairs out.

The whole amusing ordeal ended when she sat me up, took my head in one hand and my torso in the other and twisted in opposite directions. It was a move I can only guess she learnt from Sean Connery in the best escape from Alcatraz film made with Nicholas Cage, where Connery kills an enemy Marine with the same move. Sadly for my aching body (and no doubt you the reader) she failed in her attempted murder, announced “OK my massage friend, massage over” and took her S/ 15 and left.

I hobbled back to the hostel, swallowed some painkillers and took a hot shower.

Now, can anybody point me in the direction of the nearest Irish bar, I need a whiskey.

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