After 4 months in Thailand, I like to think that I have taught my students a thing or two, but the reality is that I have learnt a lot more than I have taught.
Here are a few things I have learnt in Thailand (so far):
A fart isn’t always just a fart
Kemodene and Immodium are your friends.
Be a traveler, not a tourist
Try to connect with people, not monuments. Capture memories not pictures. Turn off the main road. It will be worth it.
A little respect goes a long way…
You’re in Thailand, if they don’t speak English and you don’t speak Thai, it’s not their fault. Be patient, be kind, be friendly.
Wai everyone, except children. Take your shoes off before going into peoples homes or businesses. Don’t touch a monk, especially if you are a woman, and don’t litter even if Thai people themselves do it with reckless abandon.
…So does a little Thai.
People respect the effort, though they may be amuse/baffled by the execution.
You get used to everything. Except the smell of durian.
Squat toilets, check. Mystery meat, check. Curries that take the skin off your palate, check. Cold showers, yup. Lao Kao, Thai music and eating frog? Still working on those.
Condensed milk is a food group.
It’s not a substitute for sugar or milk, its a core ingredient of nearly any iced drink. Entire supermarket shelves are dedicated to it. The “little goes a long way” idea hasn’t cottoned on here.
Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely
In fact, a few weeks of solo traveling may be the best thing that ever happened to you.
I’d rather jump into a snake pit than use public transport
But it can’t be avoided. The deadliest thing in Thailand is, without a doubt, the roads. A trip on a bus or minivan or even a scooter, is a series of near death experiences strung together by bits of fitful sleep. But it gets you to paradise.
Many a male tourist have discovered to their horror or chagrin, that the most beautiful ladies in Thailand often aren’t ladies at all. To quote one of our orientation trainers: if it looks too dudes to be true, it probably is!
Hopefully it doesn’t take another 3 months for the next post, I hope to share some tales of my travels and everyday life soon!