Monday, January 19, 2015

Thai'd Not

I like to think I take you to the real, gritty side of travel.  Because it's not all gorgeous beaches, palm trees and coconut drinks.  Even if it seems like it is from the photos.  Not even in Thailand.  But, every destination is an anomaly unto itself.  And that's what intrigues me most about every destination.  What you're not expecting when you travel there.

Like when the entire city of Bangkok is wired like this.  How has it not burned down?  HOW I ASK?

I read somewhere right before we left on our trip that Subway is the top fast franchise in the world.  (McDonald's is number 4).  Shocking right?  Who would have thought?  I mean it's just a sandwich, what's so special?  The number one convenience store in the world?  Yup, 7 Eleven.  And it's everywhere in Thailand.  And I know what you're thinking, and yes,  they DO have Slurpee's!

They also have hot dogs.  This one's name is Nudi and he's one extremely lucky dog.  Cause there are stray dogs and cats all over Thailand and gets to live in the 7 Eleven.   And he looks like getting free frozen burritos anytime he wants is one of the perks.

The cheap efficient form of transportation is the tuk tuk, which unfortunately my large American family doesn't fit in it.    In fact, finding transportation for all of us in one vehicle was exceptionally challenging.  We even rented a car for part of the trip,  a sedan for lack of any other choice,  requiring a kid to sit on the floor.  Which is what we were driving back to the train station when we all had food poisoning.  And there was a sharting incident, further complicating the seating arrangement and causing the kids to cluster on one side of the backseat.

Funny, that there are lots of vw buses around that would fit our family, and thus solve our transportation dilemma, but they weren't for hire. 

So this seemed like a great solution to get to the bus stop.  Maybe not so much when we got on the highway.  (Oh and the other 4 of us and a driver are on a motorbike in front.)  When traveling, you do what you have to do to get where you're going.  So safety goes out the window.  Unless there aren't even any windows to begin with.

This is something you don't see everyday, unless you're in Thailand.  Pay phones.  Oh and monks.  

We walked for hours to find a "monk chat",  yes, it's a thing.  This is Siddhartha, one of a minority of Buddhists from India.  It was too damn loud to have a conversation over the New Year's Eve festivities going on around us at the temple, also called a "wat".  Oddly our conversation consisted mostly of "wwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttt did you say?"

After a crash course in elephant riding commands, I wrote a cheat sheet on my hand.  Cause who wants to be riding an elephant bareback and not know how to say "STTTOOOOOOOPPPPP" in Thai?

I'm pretty sure it wore off during the elephant trunk war we had, but by that time it didn't matter.  And I won!  And I also "won" a bacterial infection from a cut I got sliding off an elephant into an elephant poop filled river.  I mean who would've guessed?  And yes, totally worth it!

We wound up in an ice cream cafe where the server was deaf.  And knew American Sign Language.  And guess who takes American Sign Language and could communicate with her?  Sky.  And she told him only a couple people in her town can sign to her.

When the condo I booked in Krabi (pronounced "crabby") 15 minutes away from the beach was occupied, I was skeptical of the "free upgrade" to the beach house.  But this was late in the trip when we were driving a cramped rental car and the kids were extremely crabby after we hiked to and tried to make them appreciate every temple in Bangkok in the sweltering heat of winter.  (Sidenote:  This is where we were  when we got horrible food poisoning and clogged up the toilets and barfed in the yard.  Proving, you can upgrade us, but not our behavior.) 

Ok, this driftwood lying on the beach looks like an elephant right?

And this karst formation looks, um...well.....phallic, right?  

Then there's the free roaming beach goats.   When they drink the pool water with the chlorine in it it means their milk is already pasteurized. right?

And perhaps the most odd visual, Thai bulls do not seem to enjoy mandatory romantic walks on the beach. Who knew?


joeh said...

The first pic looks like behind the desk of my wife's computer room.

Yes, it definitely looks like an elephant.

Anonymous said...

Brings back great memories, great photo's and great post, I really enjoyed it, Mackenzie Glanvile xx

Sine said...

This made me laugh. And you're so right about safety going out he window when you travel and have to get where you need to get. You know how you'd always hear about some African airplane going down in Congo or something, or a Greek ferry capsizing, and you'd think, "well, thank god that won't happen to us because we won't ever take those airplanes and ferries...". Well, I used to say that, until we moved to Africa and flew on on several of just such planes, and we also took the Greek ferry which, frankly, was the most frightening experience of all of them. Or the one time when we were in Malaysia and had missed the ferry to take us to the remote island we had booked a place at for Easter weekend. So when we got to the dock, a guy was waiting with a tiny outboard motor boat, smiled, and said he'd take us to our island. There were no lifejackets to be seen and we had a two-year old with us. Did we refuse? Of course not. We wanted to GET THERE! So we plied the waves in that tiny craft and I held on to that 2-year old for dear life and tried not to think about sharks. Seems pretty stupid in hindsight...

Marie Loerzel said...

@Sine-You have hindsight because you lived to tell the tale, so success!

Muriel Jacques said...

I so wish I could travel right now. It is dark and great in London. can you please take me with you in London?

Joy Page Manuel said...

You have to be my favorite travel writer, Marie. I still don't know how you can find humor in the not-so-funny-bordering-on-scary (e.g. bacterial infection and food poisoning), but I really admire you for that and wish I had that gift! Anyway, thanks for sharing your journey. I want to see Thailand someday soon, I hope. :-D

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