• this is india sixteen

This is India! (sixteen)

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal about my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Werkenntwen.

What I was up to other than here:

  • Thanks to Joella from This Bejing Life for mentioning me as one of her favorite expat travel blogs as well as Cosmos & Pearls for listing us in her Virtual Wanderlust of top travel blogs
  • My post about my upcoming collaboration with goMowgli got liked and shared on FB over 300 times! I am so happy that you guys are stoked about this trip because you’re going to be hearing a lot about it in the next month.

Now your story,

Ahh my first Indian massage… such a strange, long, hour it was.

I was in gorgeous Udaipur and everyone said I could find a good Ayurvedic massage for 500 rupees. I walked only a few minutes before a women offered me one at exactly that price.

I followed her to her home, only a minute away, and we went inside a tiny room that combined kitchen bed and bathroom to one. She asked the four people inside to leave so we could do the massage.

First thing to learn: Indian massages are not modest in any way, which is a little weird considering how modest the country is, or tries to be. There’s no leaving the room while you undress, or putting a sheet over the parts not being massaged. She just stood there staring while I got ready. Awkward then, normal now.

Second, when doing massage outside a spa, you might want to bring your own oil. This lady got the oil from her kitchen and poured it on me.

I knew it was happening, but I just felt too bad to stop her. Big mistake, as it was near impossible to wash off with the cold water at my hotel!

Now for the funny part, when I flipped over and she was giving my belly a rub down, she saw my belly button ring. It really confused her, but she was delighted! She asked why it was there, how did it get there, could she touch it? Did it hurt? Then all the sudden she disaappeared.

I’m laying there, and she walks back in with three women who all want to see my belly button ring. I could have died. They shook my hand, smiled and then stayed in the room.

When things are just culturally different, I try not to make a scene, and they were women so I just kept my mouth shut. Obviously, had It been men I would have freaked out- but hey,

This is India!


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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Justine September 19, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Ha, that’s pretty funny! I don’t really get massages abroad. But when I’m traveling in Southeast Asia I’m super hesitant about getting cheap massages, especially when they’re from young and inexperienced employees because I feel uncomfortable about their training. Have you ever felt this way? How do you deal with this when finding masseuses abroad?

    • Rachel Jones September 20, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      I usually just go for whats cheapest. I love massages so much that even a bad one feels good!

  2. Ashley September 19, 2014 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Haha, loved that she used oil from her kitchen! It doesn’t exactly sound like it was the most relaxing massage!

    • Rachel Jones September 20, 2014 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      No, it was so bad! I mean the parts on my back and feet were good because you could basically just rub circles and I’d like it, but the rest was not.

  3. Kate September 20, 2014 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Lol oh my goodness! I can’t believe the other 3 women came in and stayed! I would have died.

    • Rachel Jones September 21, 2014 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      Looking back it’s funny, but it wasn’t at the time! lol

  4. khyati September 21, 2014 at 1:02 am - Reply

    I have a tattoo on my ankle and the aid who was helping me in the labour room…while I was in full labour called a couple others to see my tattoo !!!

  5. Shaun September 22, 2014 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Ha! Nothing like getting rubbed down with some canola oil! Massage tips noted for when I head to India next year.

    Thanks for sharing


  6. Bren September 22, 2014 at 10:35 am - Reply

    That’s hilarious. Was it actually cooking oil? You would’ve smelled like french fries afterwards.

    • Rachel Jones September 22, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      I’m not entirely sure.. I think it was sunflower oil… I have had about 100 ayurveda massages with all kinds of oil and this was not right lol!

  7. Laura September 23, 2014 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    eek! The idea of all of those women coming into the room makes me cringe! I would have been super uncomfortable, but as with most awkward things, it makes for a great story!

    • Rachel Jones September 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      ha ha yes a good story is the only thing that came from it.

  8. Priyanka September 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Mostly I would say that you are an explorer and are pretty brave to have all these experiences in India. India is a diverse country and with so many cultures you will find differences from state to state. Good Ayurvedic massage for 500 rupees- That’s freaking cheap even for me. I think you got a body rub from a lady who had no experience in ayurvedic massages. Traditional Indian Ayurvedic massage techniques are based on the ayurvedic doshas and marmas (pressure points like in reflexology) and uses herbal oils and herbal powders as medicine.
    If you are looking for cheap deals in spa and body massages while in India please visit- http://search.groupon.co.in/?q=spa (you can select the city where you are based to get the deal near you  )

    • Rachel Jones September 27, 2014 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      Yes I love massage! luckily in Goa I have a really well-trained girl who comes to my house. I’ve gotten nice ones at fancy spas and such, but do go for the cheaper ones even knowing they might not be that great because I’m not SUPER picky and love massage so much that even a bad one can be okay for me … but this was so bad lol and you’re right she had no experience at all!

  9. Omar Perez October 25, 2014 at 2:03 am - Reply

    That was good! Thanx for sharing

  10. Omar Perez October 25, 2014 at 2:15 am - Reply

    India will always bring you smashing suprises…

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