Since leaving the USA in September, I've kept a list of things I'd never done before. I thought that the beginning of 2010 would be a good time to share some of them.
To start, I hopped on a plane with no one to meet me on the other side. My first few days in Bangkok, I was a basket case. I couldn't sleep, I was lonely and confused. I got over it and kinda fell in love with Thailand.
I drink only bottled water. It is kind of weird to have to go buy water all the time or (now) go downstairs and refill my water bottle from the big drinking water dispenser. Potable tap water is something that's easy to take for granted.
I ate a mangosteen! I had wanted to try one when I first came to Thailand but they weren't in season. It was a chance stop at a fruit stand in Pai to get bananas when I saw the small, brownish-purple fruits. I asked the man what they were and jumped up and down and squealed for longer than necessary before tearing into one with my fingers. I was soon shown how to open them without making a mess (lace your fingers together holding the fruit between your palms and squeeze gently until the shell cracks open.)
I played darts. And won my first game. I played snooker, and lost completely and totally.
I rode on a motorbike, sorta drove a motorbike (ha!) rode sidesaddle on a motorbike, rode with 3 people on a motorbike, burned my leg on a tailpipe. Oh, motorbikes.
I sang with a live band!
I used a squat toilet, often, and occasionally managed not to wee on my feet.
On that note, I managed not to make a little post about squat toilets. This picture is one I encountered on the way to Pai, and it's pretty typical of the more rustic ones. You've got your toilet, your bucket and scoop for flushing, and no toilet paper. Many of these aren't designed to accommodate toilet paper and instead (if one has the forethought to bring some with them) one is supposed to dispose of used toilet paper in a waste bin. There are some stinky stalls in Thailand. Usually there is a muslim shower, fondly known by some as a "butt blaster." This one was not so well-equipped.
Hopefully 2010 will be equally abundant with firsts.