• Tara B. Vasi

Friday, January 17th: Goodbye Stitches, Hello Jorts, Goodbye Lab Earring, Hello CHEESE

Friday morning I woke up early to get to the hospital for my appointment to get my stitches out. It was weird having to be somewhere at a certain time…

I had a few cups of Nescafe in the hotel dining area before I decided to take a GRAB motorbike to the hospital instead of walking across a major highway. The time before, which I am not sure if I mentioned, I was nearly hit by a motorbike that ran a red light.

I entered the hospital and was greeted with a warm welcome and smiles all around as if I was some rich member of royalty, or a gangster entering a casino where I’d gamble millions.

The staff wore a light blue uniforms, pencil skirts to the knee and blouses with gold name tags. They donned white Ked like shoes and white rectangular nurses hats. The garb seemed very traditional 1970’s American nurse uniform, but light blue. So many of the nurses wore extremely vibrant blue contact lenses as well, and with their dyed white face and small features, they looked almost like a gang of porcelain dolls, or evil robots that could turn on you at any time.

I was anxious to get the sutures out and extra anxious to find out how much it would cost me, so I arrived unnecessarily early. Like, getting their earlier would mean it would be less painful and cost less too.

I read my book, the Path, while I waited. The book is about “what Chinese philosophers can teach us about the good life”. I was easily distracted by the intensity of the book. I noticed instrumental Disney music playing over the loudspeaker. Disney music is the best. I laughed to myself remembering the massage I had a few days prior that played Pocahontas on repeat. I officially loved this hospital and that Thailand loves Disney.

The Pocahontas song came on as I was escorted into the surgical room and I don’t know why, but everything felt right in the world. I’ll run the hidden pine trails of the forest with you, guuurl.

The doctor had me lay down. I crossed my ankles and stacked my hands on my chest, like Dracula when he sleeps.

She said, “You have two stitches, right?”

I said, “I mean, yeah, that’s what they said, do you see more??”

I feel a small jerking motion and hear a little snip. I feel no pain. She says, “One,” and then again that little snip sound, and she says, “Two.”

She pats my head with a little saline-soaked gauze, and tells me, “Ok.”


“Ok. Just don’t scratch your head too hard when you wash your hair.”


The robotic doll nurse handed me a pink payment slip and I take it to the payment area down the hallway. They charged me $35. Done and done. My head doesn’t hurt. The stitches are out. I leave the hospital and move on with my life.

I take a GRAB motorbike into town and enjoy the Friday afternoon markets. They are selling the usual dresses, pants, wooden spoons, handbags, and fresh fruit. I over negotiated for a wooden spoon and leave without one. I hunted for a few special gifts for friends and went to a local post office to send them off.

The crowded streets lined with restaurants and massage parlors are starting to look more and more familiar as I become better acquainted with Old Town Chiang Mai. I even pass foreigners that I recognize from the day before and smile as if saying, “I hope you’ve been having a good time in Thailand!”

I opt for a massage. I love me a good $5 Thai rub down and they were the cheapest I have seen in Chiang Mai. I’ve passed by this particular spot before but never could find it when I was actually looking for it. The massage area is open, ie, you are not put in a private room. There about ten beds on the floor in a row and other foreigners were getting a massage when I walked in.

The woman has me change out of my jeans and shirt and into loose-fitting clothing. It was a serious blessing because the jeans were getting so hot and uncomfortable as it was and I am pretty sure I was rocking a whales tale on the back of the motor bike.

I leave my belongings off to the side of the mattress pad and I tell her to avoid my headspace. She gets right to massaging me with her hands and feet and pulling me about.

One of the people in the room is an extremely vocal Italian man who winces and grunts with every motion from the masseuse. I couldn't contain my laughter. What a wuss. Hahaha. I wasnt sure if he was loving it or hating it.

When the massage is over, I go back to change into my street clothes and wince and grunt myself at the thought of putting those stupid jeans back on and continue walking around the city on this 90 day. I remember I have scissors in my backpack and just like that, my jeans turn into JORTS. Problem solved.

I research vegetarian cuisine in the area and find a nice quiet restaurant tucked away in an alley where I enjoy a plate of sauteed vegetables with white rice. The rice came in the shape of a teddy bear. When the plate arrived, I said, “Awww..” and then took a picture and then said, “OMG. I hate myself for that,” partially joking.

Down the road, I see a tourist info center. I have questions about Pai and want to see what kind of information I can collect about little laid back village in the mountains. I walk in to the center and for whatever reason feel for my left earlobe and realize that I am missing one of my labradorite earrings. I am in the middle of a sentence with the tourist info guy and completely lose my train of thought. Oh no, those were my favorite earrings! I have worn those earrings my entire trip. They were the first gift I bought for myself when I relocated to the east coast! I got so bummed, but tried to rationalize and tell myself, they are just earrings… You can find a new pair of favorite earrings…

The rationalization didnt exactly work because I knew I wanted to at least LOOK for it. I owed it to them. The earring could have fallen off anywhere, but I wanted to check the massage parlor.

At this point, I am on the other side of the city and its already dark, so, I tell myself I will check the massage parlor tomorrow.

I purchase fresh pineapple on a stick and a falafel wrap for my dinner later that night.

I walk the two miles back to my hotel, enjoy my falafel wrap, and call it an early night. The wrap had mozzarella cheese in it and I realize that is the first time I have had cheese in months. I didnt know I was capable of going that long without cheese. I guess I am pretty good at giving things up when I want to.

I had a dream that night that I found my earring.


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