The sun is shining hard, it’s thirty degrees Celsius ( 86ºF) in the middle of the day and I hardly notice. I feel the soft wind on my skin. It tingles a bit. It must be because of the eucalyptus oil.
The masseuse is good, she has soft hands. The curtains flutter around me. I look at the ground. I want to take the moment in. This massage, in the wooden hut in the middle of nowhere. Soft hands rub my back, I absorb the systematic kneading. I asked for a firm massage. I regret this a little bit now. I remembered the Spanish words for “a little harder please”, but I didn’t remember the phrase for “a little softer”. Around me, I hear the crunching sound of the driven over gravel, the clucking of the chickens and the birds I’ve never heard before. My imagination drifts off to another universe. I blame the birds. Is this a Harry Potter movie or some outer space thing? Blip. Blip. I wonder what the birds look like.
I hear a snick-snick of a lighter. Curious, I try to listen closely. Some glass noises. I feel something warm on my back. This must be cupping. It feels a little bit strange. I think I know what cupping is; is it meant to loosen one’s skin? I don’t think it supposed to feel good, like the rest of the massage.
The cups move over my back. Good. My skin is sometimes a bit tight on my lower back. The process repeats a couple of times. The cups go up to my shoulders and are taken off there. That feels funny. I try not to giggle. I don’t know how to explain why I giggled.
After an hour on the massage bed, I slide myself off. My friends are next. They are already outside, waiting. In/next to a plastic chair under the tree in front of the cabin. Trying to avoid the sun. I look around: dust, sun, chickens, laundry and a small house. Or I think it’s a house. Such a contract with home, such a contrast with a massage at home. Not better, not any less either. Just different.
Making ends meet
If you ever make it to El Cuco in El Salvador do try to get a massage at this place. Yanira is very kind. I promise she will give you a wonderful massage. Besides that, she also weaves elaborately patterned hammocks at the friction of San Salvador market prices, runs a little store (tourist pay what locals do), cooks at the hotel and is a Mom to a little girl. She works very hard and makes ends meet … Just.