Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ridin' dirty

I didn't suffer a lot of culture shock in Thailand, which is strange because everything is very different here from what I was used to in the States. I think that the odor that offended me so much when I got off the plane was the smell of "mai pen rai," and it quickly absorbed into my skin and made me incredibly laid-back. My American friends would be surprised at how laid back I am here, and my Thailand friends would probably be surprised about the things that bothered me back home. If you come to visit, you'll quickly get used to these things.

There are flies on your food. It's okay, there were probably flies on your food in the kitchen too. All of the restaurants in Ban Phe and most of the ones in other parts of Thailand are open-air, and big juicy flies will land on your food. The food is so delicious, you can't blame them. They won't eat much.

Your feet are disgustingly dirty. I only wear flip-flops nowadays, as I have to take my shoes off where I live and work. The dust and the sand and the pollution take their toll and every morning it takes about 30 minutes for my feet to become disgusting mudballs as the dirt mingles with sweat.

On that note, when you go outside you sweat. You can forget wearing makeup unless you spend your day inside. After just standing outside for a few minutes, drops of sweat start gliding down my forehead and my legs.

There are mangy dogs everywhere. In Bangkok, there's at least one every block. In Ban Phe, there are probably four on each block. Many of them have skin diseases, some have really pathetic disabilities, and some chase you at night. I'm always ready to use my purse as a weapon.

There is no evidence of traffic laws. It's fine to cram four or more people including infants on a motorbike with no helmets. Those lines on the road? I think they're there for decoration. And I've never seen a speed limit sign. People drive on the left side of the road, usually.

People laugh at you. Thai people will have conversations in front of you where you only recognize the word "falang" before they erupt in laughter. Sometimes a Thai person will ask you to repeat what you just said and then laugh at you. Sometimes they'll volunteer to tell you that you're fat or you have big feet, or they'll poke your love handles... and then laugh at you.

None of these things bother me, which is surprising considering how antsy I got about cleanliness and stuff in the States.

And as much as they don't bother me, I don't think you'd like to see a picture of a mangy dog or my dirty feet, so here is the largest garden snail I have ever seen in my life, next to a size 42 (women's 10 US) flip flop.


1 comment:

  1. That snail is even more disgusting than any stories about dirty feet or mangy dogs. Barf.