Wednesday, February 18, 2009

So you wanna go to Thailand: #3 Dogs, Farang and Bathrooms

Tips about three of my least favorite things in Thailand.

Dogs in Thailand are generally not leashed, and not neutered. This was a shock on many levels. You should just assume that any dog you see on the street has rabies. Not like you need to go out and shoot it... but generally avoid them.

Farangs (foreigners)
This was one of the weirder things for me to adjust to; just because someone is white, doesn't mean they come from an English speaking country. Yes, yes, yes - apparently I'm a racist. But you grow up seeing that people who look more or less like you can speak and understand your language. Then you go to a country where everyone looks different and speaks a different language; when see people who look more or less like you it’s easy to assume that they must be from your country. This has almost never been the case for me. Fortunately, as English is a global language, many of these people will actually speak some English.

Thailand draws an eclectic mix of foreigners. There are plenty of vacationers...lots of retired folks. But there are also people who come for the religious aspect - meditation retreats and all, and of course the sex tourists. It's still difficult for me to deal with the idea that most of the farang men I meet here came to Thailand specifically to get find a Thai wife, girlfriend, or just to enjoy the entertainment. It's neither a simple nor a straight-forward situation, and not at all one I can do justice here... but it is an issue here, and something you should at least be aware of before coming. Stickman Bangkok is a good resources for this subject.


There is just a huge range of what I've seen as far as bathrooms go. In nicer restaurants & the mall, the facilities are on par with what you find in the US: western toilets, TP, sinks with soap and an electric hand dryer. Hand towels are rare though, and more often than not there is just another roll of TP on the wall near the sink. In more ‘traditional’ locations, squat toilets are the norm and you get no TP at all, just a bucket & a basin of water to splash around with to the best of your abilities. I've seen some frightfully disgusting toilets near the beach. In any case you should never assume that there will be TP, and get used to carrying a pack of tissues or try using the hose. In fact you should make no assumptions at all & just hope for the best.

Next up:

So you wanna go to Thailand: #4 Clothing, the Language and Common Sense

1 comment:

Michael5000 said...

Imagining you blazing away at every stray dog in town -- assuming it must have rabies -- cracks me up. Of course, I'm disturbed.