Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thai Day!

My Thai landlord and her daughter live on the same property as my roommates and I, so we've gotten to know them over the course of the ten months we've lived in Burbank, CA. The story of Thai Day - which isn't a real holiday at all (I just named it that moments ago) - is an example of why they are top notch!

Dim Sum, Everybody!
Last week, my friend and I joined our landlord and her daughter in celebrating our landlord's birthday. We went to Empress Pavilion in Chinatown and our landlord paid for it! She said we are like her children! Now I have two moms. That last sentence sounded like a quote from a "progressive" TV drama in the mid-nineties.

Anyway, the Empress Pavilion serves some of the most delectable "dim sum" that a pavilion can legally have. "Dim sum" does not refer to an uneducated answer to an addition problem on a math worksheet. It refers to snacks served during tea time, a Chinese tradition. My favorite was Shiu Mai (pictured above), which are pork dumplings with savory mushrooms and flavor that will make the angel babies cry with delight.

Once you get to the Empress Pavilion, you are seated in a huge ballroom of sorts (Picture a big ballroom in a nice hotel and then fill it with tables... and Asians). As soon as you sit down, you're given hot tea and women come around from table to table with carts of steaming food that they offer you. "You want spinach dumpling?" Sometimes, I didn't know what they were offering me, but my Thai friends would "translate" Chinese English to Thai English, which I seem to understand better.

Since our landlord wouldn't let us pay for lunch, we decided it would be best to make her a cake to show our gratitude. However, we were unable to do that because she invited us to get Thai massages that very night at Master Wong's Foot Clinic in nearby Alhambra, CA!

"Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on now touch me, babe."
For months, I'd wanted a professional massage, and I was so happy to get the inside scoop on a very affordable, very effective Thai massage. Before you make any jokes about a "happy ending", I'll tell you this is not that kind of place. The only clothes you remove are your shoes and socks.

For two hours, I was rubbed, pressed, stretched, caressed, oiled, smacked and utterly relaxed by a wonderful Thai woman. There were about twenty massage recliners in this medium-sized operation, and almost all of them were filled with relaxed souls like me. I had never been massaged - professionally or otherwise - that well for such a length of time. It was amazing. As I sat in the dim light, listening to relaxing music, I distinctly remember two thoughts:

1) "This music sounds like it belongs in a 1960's early color Western movie."
...and later...
2) "I feel like I can do anything."

As much as we tried, our landlord wouldn't let us pay for the massages. She did let us tip our masseuses, and for that we were grateful. I think we both kind of felt like mooches.

Pretzels and shirtless healing
I wonder how we could ever repay our landlord. Maybe we could treat her and her daughter to a "German Day", since I think all three of us roommates have some German blood in us. It would be like our version of Thai Day.

We could start by taking the two of them to Schmidt's Brahaus for pretzels, sausage and schnitzels... and beer. Once filled to capacity with food and drink, we can nap for four hours and then visit our old friend, Dieter, German energy and touch healer. Through massage, Dieter will shirtlessly relax our bodies and minds. Wow. I think that will work! They'll love it! Thanks, Dieter!

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