Her stunning blue eyes capture my attention as she urges me to do business with her.
A beautiful Balinese woman is calling out to me – ‘Massage Madam’ in a questioning tone.
We can go together she says to Des and I:
“my friend here, she strong” as a tiny 5 foot nothing smiley girl who looks no older than 18, also urges us to follow.Off down the alleyway to their massage room. Just the right temperature, a fragrant air wafting from the amber incense coil and a soft chant in the background.
It’s a simple room with 4 massage tables and 2 large chairs for reflexology.
Off loading our backpacks, and settling in the comfortable chair, we get down to the feet first with an hour foot massage for around $5.00.
Smiles all over their faces, Emi and Kadek begin the massaging our weary feet. It is 4pm and we are their second clients for the day!
It’s not unusual for them to be there 14 hours and get only 2-3 clients.
As a child, Emi recounts how she sold bangles to tourists at age 7 and learned massage at age 13 to help her family. This is everywhere in Bali, the delightful girl below shyly approaches us to sell her pencils.
Emi never went to school. When asked how she learnt English – her reply “from a book” We chat and laugh and before too long the hour is gone. Emi looks at Des’s feet and rightly suggests a pedicure also $5.00 which he accepts. Then as Kadek inspect my hands and suggests a manicure $5.00 for me, I admire their way, not pushy, just politely suggestive. How can I say no.
We are full of admiration for Emi and Kadek, they work very hard and have made some extra money by their suggestions in a very nice way. They have spent 90 mins with us and we discover they earn 10% of total sale, which amounts to $1.00 each. They tell us they have ‘good boss’ ‘man boss’ – and that some massage girls only get 5%.
They deserved our extra tips well and truly.
We loved our special time with Emi and Kadek. We went back 3 times for massage, ear candle, body scrub – I think we pretty much went through the menu!
On the last day they each paint a little flower on my thumbnails and tell me as they giggle – “memory for you” – “I do for free”.
Bless them – the beautiful hardworking Balinese girls.