Observations

Trip Start May 28, 2008
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Trip End Aug 26, 2008


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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Friday, June 27, 2008

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been very observant. I notice things. I like to people watch, I like to make comparisons, and I think a lot about what I've seen. So I thought I would share some of my observations that I have collected over the last month and a half.

Animals

It really does no good to yell at a dog to get down off of your daughter in English, when the dog lives in Thailand. Clearly, he doesn't understand, he lives in Thailand, he understands Thai commands only.

There are a large number of cows in Asia, so where is all the cheese?

There are very large ground snails in Phuket, Thailand- approximately the size of my hand. Walk shoe less at your own risk.

The chickens in Vietnam are really tall.

There are several types of insects that don't care what strength of DEET you use; it is going to bite you anyways.

Touching an elephant is like stroking a Brillo pad. A really big Brillo pad.

Keep your eyes open after any big rainstorms in Hanoi, the cockroaches, the really big cockroaches, come out after the rains. Don't put your hands on the sides of buildings and wear sandals at your own risk.

Movies

When you see an I-MAX movie in Thailand, you are asked where you would like to sit and then you are assigned a seat on your ticket. Don't know if the same goes for a regular movie.

The popcorn comes either sweet or salty.

The cup for your drink is a hard plastic cup (we didn't know if you are supposed to leave the cup, or take it- we took it.)

You take your trash out of the theatre and dispose of it yourself.

When the King's photographic musical montage was shown before the movie, you are supposed to stand up in silent reverence.

Social

Anyone can make some extra Baht, Ringitt, Kip, or Riel, just sit outside any restroom with a table, a sign, and a money jar and charge every time somebody needs to use the bathroom, even if you don't actually own it or are employed by the company who owns it.

Gailen apparently looks like Harry Potter to many Thai people.

Queues are not set in stone, stand your ground or all of Thailand will cut in front of you.

Buddhist monks sometimes carry cell phones and get to cut in line.

It is hard to fill out Visa forms at the Laos border crossing in intense heat, Taxi drivers standing over you, waiting for you to finish so that they can try to overcharge you and the smell of durian assaulting your sinus cavities.

When you are traveling on the Bangkok sky train or subway, always surrender your seat to children, the elderly, the handicapped, pregnant women, and Buddhist monks.

Women queue up in front of the bathroom stall that they specifically want to use, instead of creating one big queue that just waits for the next available stall.

Turkish or squat toilets are usually what are available in the public toilets, use with caution if you are wearing a long skirt.

All Turkish toilets have a water sprayer attached to the nearby wall- use this however way you feel is necessary. Rinse the stall, spray the toilet seat or bowl, spray the ceiling, wash your feet, or use like a bidet.

Apparently, to be a 'hippie' in Thailand is very much a bad thing and they might not allow you to enter the country. The official criteria listed at the Thailand/Malaysian border include:

1. A person who wears just a singlet or waistcoat without underwear.

2. A person who wears shorts which are not respectable.

3. A person who wears any type of slipper or wooden sandals, except when these are a part of national costume.

4. A person who wears silk pants that do not look respectable.

5. A person who has long hair that appears untidy and dirty.

6. A person who is dressed in impolite and dirty looking manner.

So keep that in mind, hippies! Personally I think they should be more concerned with the pedophiles visiting Thailand for the sex tourism.

Food

You cannot easily walk down the sidewalk of any Bangkok street without stepping around the food carts. That will add at least 20 minutes to any travel time alone.

Waffles are a snack/dessert item.

Coke and Pepsi are made with real sugar here in Asia, not high fructose corn syrup- much better tasting. Yogurts are gelatin free.

Pineapple bought off of a small fruit stand in Laos was the best that I have ever eaten. Pineapple in Thailand was pretty much tasteless. Do pineapples have a season?

Pancakes that have lime juice squirted on them and then sprinkled with sugar are really good.

Nescafe has millions of people in several Asian countries convinced that they make a descent cup of coffee. Except in Vietnam, where I had one of the best cups of coffee in my entire life!

The A/C will only be switched on when members of the Malaysian embassy come for dinner at the Indian/Malaysian restaurant in Vientiane, Laos- the others diners get an osculating fan.

Roasted and salted broad beans make a nice snack.

Black sticky rice cooked in coconut milk is food sent down from the gods.

Lays manufactured in Thailand makes basil and sweet chili flavored chips that are simply awesome and American flavored is an actual potato chip flavor.

Transportation

Tuk tuk drivers do not understand why anyone would actually want to walk.

There are clearly marked road dividers all over Bangkok. Feel free to ignore if you are a Tuk- tuk driver, and while you are at it, pay no intention to the oncoming traffic, while you attempt to get ahead of the millions of other cars trying to do the same.

Cambodian taxi drivers will honk at everything to move out of their way, even a massive construction back-ho.

One scooter can transport a family of four, regardless of the age of the children.
Women in skirts frequently ride on the back of motorcycles and scooters side saddle.

Medical/ Healthcare

If you don't heed the travel clinic's advice to avoid the ice made from the municipal water supply and then don't bother with the Immodium and then sweat gallons and never quite get around to replacing any of those electrolytes- you will get really bad muscle cramps and heart palpitations. Yup, that's right sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc. are all very important for the muscular system. Any first year nursing student knows that!

If you need it, insulin is available at an outside market stall in Vientiane, Laos. I did not see any syringes for sale.

If you need to go somewhere important but you are still connected to an IV drip, that is really no problem in Siem Reap, Cambodia. You just hop on a motorbike with two other people: one to drive and the other to hold up the IV pole.

Great signs I've seen:

Beware of wiley strangers!

Don't sexy. (Translation: Put on this scarf to cover your shoulders when entering this temple.)

Don't dangle doll. (Printed on the admission ticket for Wat Arun in Bangkok. A tall Wat with a very steep staircase.)

Fuckin good beer! (A sign on the side of a drink cart in Bangkok)

Don't throw strange substances in the toilet bin. (Overnight train in Thailand.)

So this is what I've seen so far, more later, I'm sure.

~Laura
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Comments

prakaash
prakaash on

Neat observations
Laura,
Nice observations and good to pen them down lest you forget them later.
'Don't Sexy'? Can't stop laughing.
Thanks
Prakash

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