Thursday, May 24, 2012

A massage for Mama or a MASSAGE for Papa?

One of the most confusing things about living in Amsterdam for me is which massage salon is a place for Mama to get a massage and which one is for Papa to get a "MASSAGE"? Of course, Mama could go to the same salon as a Papa, but why would a Mama pay for a MASSAGE if she could just get one from Papa for free?

This may sound like a silly thing to wonder about and maybe I'm naive, but it really does bother me. Maybe because I think my 'hood is one way and really it's not. Just in two blocks of my family packed 'hood, there are 3 massage salons. So are there more stressed Mamas in my 'hood or more stressed Papas? I decided to analyze the salons for myself:

Massage Salon # 1:

Windows: Completely blacked-out. And check out the middle above window. I have never seen a window so blacked-out. Maybe that's where a Papa goes when he is bad!
Door: Also blacked out, no flashing welcome sign to draw attention. You could walk by without taking notice. A Papa would have to be "invited" to such a place.
Sign: Either Lanna Thai really likes her name or Lanna Thai is code name for something that requires no peeking, thus blacked out windows and doors.We know its not Lanna Thai food or there would be spicy smells filling the street. Instead it normally smells like trash since the trash spot is just in front. And there is no "Open" sign so how would a Mama or a Papa know when Lana was home?
Misc: Well  I live close-by so I have seen from time-to-time Lanna and her "sister" sitting in front painting their toenails. "Daddy" probably doesn't like the smell of the polish so they have to go outside.
Conclusion Mama or Papa: Definitely a place for a Papa, but not just any Papa. Maybe a place for really naughty Papas who need to go to Time-out. This Mama would never go into a place totally blacked-out unless its the closet and she is trying to get away from the kids.

Massage Salon # 2:

Windows: The windows are a bit friendlier than Salon 1, even though you can't see what's going on inside. There are legit massage posters in the windows, too. However, I'm not sure how safe I would feel in a place with brown paper bag covered windows.And the windows/doors above are open and inviting if they even belong to the salon.
Door: The door is also covered in this brown paper stuff, so I couldn't even get a little peeky-poo inside. There is actually a door on the other side that looks the same. So I think you have to really be a regular to know which door to-go-a-knockin on. I would hate to disturb someone in the middle of their MASSAGE.
Sign: Either the owner is Arabic or inside you get to massage someone who has just gained Thai citizenship. It really makes me wonder what happened to the old Thai massage. Then again you know some Papas really like their Thai new. And there is an OPEN sign and it was flashing red...hmmmm...but no opening hours posted outside. Which leads this me to the conclusion: when the red lights a burnin'...
Misc: Even though this salon looks a bit friendlier, I have never seen a Mama or a Papa or a New Thai, for that matter coming, going, or hanging around outside. But we know someone is inside to turn the sign on...hmmm
Conclusion Mama or Papa: Again a place for a Papa to go, and I think this salon is actually more Papa friendly. Even though the massage posters look relaxing, I'm not sure a Mama would get too much relaxation locked up in a brown paper bag.

Massage Salon # 3:

Windows: Mama likey! Nice poster in the corner of the window, yummy! I know he won't be massaging Mama  but it gives a Mama something to dream about. And look, open windows! There is life inside! And sweet little plants and flowers! There is actually air in this salon!
Door: You can't see the door from this side, but on the opposite side there is a non-blacked out door. Its all glass and it has a big "Welcome" sign on the front with actual opening hours. LEGIT! LEGIT!
Sign: The sign says it all! There is no cryptic meaning, no special secret massage code. Xini-lai has a massage salon! If you walk in,  Xini-lai will give you a massage. Or maybe you will get a Xini-lai massage. No matter, I saw two very friendly girls smoking outside and one inside sitting looking all professional (and not in a Debbie Does Dallas kind-of-way) sitting at a reception desk
Misc: This place is legit for the simple fact that Luca's pre-school teacher was standing just outside of the salon when I took this photo (you can see half of her around the pole). She must think I'm a looney tuney because I quickly illegally parked my car, jumped out and started snapping photos. I tried not to make eye contact, and if I was lucky she didn't notice me (as I almost mowed over her shopping bag in the process). A pre-school teacher would never hang-out in front salons like the previous two.
Conclusion Mama or Papa: Mama, Mama, Mama! Finally a place in the 'hood for a Mama to go for some relaxation! You can see through the windows, there are living creatures inside, Juff Mary is standing just outside, hot naked man on window...all good reasons for a Mama to get a massage! So at least 1/3 of the salons in the 'hood are for Mama...that's not fair!


  1. Glad to know that Amsterdam is fully accommodating in terms of massage services. We need those more than ever, what with the normalization of constant stress on our lives. In any case, I'm glad you are well enjoying and relaxing on your trip. Thanks for sharing that! All the best!

    Ervin Willis @ Main Street Massage Therapy

  2. Sure fooled you didn't they. The middle one is legit, the other two are 'bad', but in a good way. Latter one very good actually. Says a return customer.


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