leave your inhibitions at the door
Yes, going to Tulum with Boom Boom was one of the best vacations I’ve had in a long, long time. It’s a beautiful land with gorgeous beaches, lush jungles, and a mesmerizing archaeological site. And even though there’s a lot of money pumped into the area by foreigners, it’s still the ultimate place to relax and be at peace.
But not everything is cupcakes and rainbows there. There’s a dark evil lurking in this bucolic landscape. It’s an evil that targets unsuspecting tourists, unleashing its wrath and taking their money. It’s an evil that even local law enforcement is either unwilling or unable to do anything about.
Pshhh…. This villainous monstrosity would reduce them to tears.
I have seen the face of this wretched, sinister beast and its name is… Martha.
I knew that my surviving this encounter was nothing short of a miraculous intervention by some mysterious, cosmic power. I knew that it was my duty to warn others. I tried to take a picture of her –
…but like all vampires, the useless implements of us mere mortals can’t capture the visage of Beelzebub.
As much as I’d like to admit that there’s a little bit of exaggeration on my part, the events here are exactly as they happened. Here’s my story.
Before the trip
Boom Boom and I absolutely love massages and we learned a long time ago that it’s always good to reserve one as early as possible. As we were preparing for the trip, I did a little research and came across an American therapist’s name that everyone was raving about. Unfortunately, she was unavailable but gave some recommendations. I corresponded with one of them who offered massages with Martha for the insanely low price of 500 pesos per hour – or around $36. Score!! We signed up for 90 minutes each.
We had a choice between a standard deep tissue massage or a “Mayan massage” –
Mayan massage includes ancient techniques to of abdominal massage to heal and purify every tissue of the body, including the muscles, lymph glands, and organs. It also restores the “core vital energy force” behind the umbilicus. It is a must have experience for all visitors and residents of the region. Recommended for those who want to de-stress, purify, and open to higher states of consciousness.
This was great. We were in the heart of Mayan territory so it seemed appropriate. Sure it sounded a little hippie-ish with the “core vital energy force,” but I could get a deep tissue massage any time around here. Mayan it is!
Martha walked up to us and she seemed like a sweet little old lady – at least 60 years old, probably five feet tall in her little granny heels, and her hair up in a tight bun. She was nice, prim, and proper, but I knew this facade belied a smoldering wickedness beneath the surface.
It started off innocently enough – a bunch of incense, aromatic twigs spread on the floor, scented oils. Then the massage started. Almost immediately I knew something was wrong. She would put her two thumbs together and press down with all her might, channeling the strength of a chorus of a thousand demons from the gates of hell.
Me: Please, that’s a little hard.
Martha: Breathe, just breathe.
Then she pressed the same spot. Now I’m no wuss when it comes to massage. I usually say that harder and deeper is always better. Wait, I sound like a porno star….
On to the next muscle.
Me: Argh! Please, that’s a little a hard. Can you do it a little lighter?
Martha: Breeeeaaatthhhe. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
Then she pressed the same spot even harder. Just so you know – breathing doesn’t help.
This kept on repeating itself on just about every muscle she touched. Then she had me lie on my back for the abdominal treatment. For those of you who have never had a massage, the belly is not part of the standard treatment process. It can be a sensitive area to begin with, and I had a slight case of sunburn.
So you know what happened next, right?
Me: OWWWWW!!! That hurts! Please….
Martha: Breathe in and then say “ayyy.”
Right back to the same spot on my stomach…
Me: (Big sucking in of air sound), then AYYYYYYYY!!!!
Martha: Yes, that’s it. Ay- yi –yi.
Me, at the top of my lungs: AY-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI.
I really wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. And I wish I could say that was the worst of it. It’s not.
She then started pressing down on my right calf – so hard that it cramped up and locked in place.
Me: OWWW!! @#<(#@!!! That hurts! Don’t do that!
Martha: Breathe…. In through the…
Me: NO! Stop it!
Martha: Say, “Ay, Padre.”
Yes, she had me crying “Oh Daddy.” Again, I note – deep breaths and screaming at the top of my lungs didn’t impact the pain or uncramp my leg in the least bit. I was literally sobbing.
Of course, you know what happened next – the other calf, which cramped up worse than the first.
Boom Boom came into the room and she had to help me get dressed. She was all smiles, thinking that it was one of those “hurt so good” massages. I assured her that she DIDN’T want to stay for her session. When pressed, I said that I would rather have the thick end of a baseball bat shoved – unlubricated – up my…. Urethra.
We told Martha that Boom Boom ate some bad guacamole and was having gastrointestinal distress. She offered a “special massage” for that. Not knowing what else to do, I threw a large pile of twenty dollar bills at Martha to distract her. We then hightailed it out of there. Or at least I came as close to hightailing as one can get with two sets of cramped-up lower extremities.
I later emailed the person who arranged the massage to let her know about my experience. I explained to her how there were some portions where I “was in extreme discomfort” and how Martha kept telling me to breathe through it. I said that Martha wasn’t being responsive to my needs and that she should be cognizant of future clients’ feedback – a “learning opportunity” was how I described it.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I should’ve explained to you – it’s supposed to be like that. “
Now you know.
Do you like massages? Have you ever had a bad massage experience?