Tag Archives: bangkok

Ratatouille – the Thai Version

I hate rats. I know, shocking right? I had never seen one before coming to Thailand so when it finally happened I was nauseous for about 3 hours.

This rat was huge. I have seen chihuahuas that are smaller. But, there he was just scurrying along the street as if we actually wanted to walk with the thing. Thankfully that was my only sighting for about 3 weeks…that was until the “why the shit is this happening to me!!” night happened.

BC and I were walking home from dinner when it all began. First, let me say, that there are plenty of dark places for these rodents from hell to live in:

Flowers

 

Gutter 1

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The first one popped out from a gutter and I freaked out. My macho “rats aren’t gross” BC told me to chill. I stared back at him coldly.

The second one was scurrying along the side of the sidewalk. Just like the demon rat in Bangkok, this one thought we wanted to merrily stroll along with it.

The third creepy creature of the night peeked his head out of a hole in the sidewalk but he was at least smart enough to go back in to the dark abyss from which he came.

The fourth (yes, fourth) was the sickest. He had himself submerged in a trash bag. What made it worse was that his gross little tail was sticking out of the bag like this:

Tail

 

That is a total of four rats in the course of about 10 minutes.

Now everywhere I walk I can’t not look for those damn things. However, one thing is for certain: the stars of something must have been aligned that night because it was by far the sickest, most disturbing night of my life…ever.

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What is a Wat?

Hold any map of any city in Thailand and it will become apparent right away that there are a lot of things called Wats…

Wats

They are everywhere. Heck I am even writing this post right across the street from one. See there it is:

Across the street Wat

I am kind of embarrassed to admit how long it took BC and I to figure out what they were so I will just say that (hooray!) we figured it out.

In short a Wat is a Buddhist temple housing monks and large idols of Buddha. It’s also where believers pray and where tourists make it hard for said believers to pray.

Tourist

Wats are also incredibly ornate and breathtaking; an impressive feat considering how many there are.

Ornate 3

Ornate 2

Ornate

Thailand’s Buddhist tradition truly is remarkable. We learned that all Thai men must spend at least a week living as a monk. We even saw a young monk who couldn’t have been older than 10.

Unfortunately we don’t have pictures of the monks; you’re not supposed to photograph them. We were told that if we did we would get on Buddha’s bad side and you don’t want to mess with the 62’ tall Buddha…

Big ass Buddha

But we did get a picture of a monk in a box…

Monk in a Box

A Lot of Feed for Very Little Scratch

When living in another country it’s amazing how quickly your attitude changes about money. When in Europe, things tend to be a bit more expensive. When you get back to the U.S. you are just relieved to be spending $8 on a hamburger again.

In Thailand, this effect is the opposite.

For our very first Thai dinner we bought noodle soup (insanely abundant in Thailand) off the street.

Noodle Soup

When our delicious meal cost only 60 baht ($2 USD) for the both of us, we were shocked. After we didn’t get the stomach bug we thought was inevitable, we just kept coming back for more.

A few more days in we bought BC a pair of flip-flops

Flip Flops

When we were told they were 150 baht ($5 USD) we didn’t even negotiate.

“What a great price…that was such a bargain! Why would I even negotiate?”

On the second week we rented a scooter.

Our Scooter

For 250 baht ($8.50 USD) it was ours for 36 hours.

“Can you believe this? What a steal!”

By the third week things started to…change.

Get some noodles: “60 baht each! Are these people crazy? I am not paying $4 for this incredibly delicious, made-with-grandma-love food. Psh.”

Buy a handmade, 100% cotton shirt: “250 baht ($8.25)! No way. We aren’t paying more than 200 baht ($6.50) for that wonderfully good looking shirt. We can use that extra money for dinner!”

Rent a scooter: “You want to charge us what?! 200 baht ($6.50)? I thought it was 150 ($5). You are just totally ripping us off. There is no way we are paying $6.50 to use your very efficient, easily accessible mode of transportation for that much.”

I fear for our mental health when we get back to America…

Thai Commuting – Part 1

I must say that riding on the streets of Thailand for the first time is quite the experience. Ours was the cab ride from the airport into Bangkok. We quickly realized that traffic law in this country is…kinda lax. The rule of thumb seems to be that if you can fit you can go. It’s like watching a thousand people running into a concert all at once but somehow nobody touches anybody else.

Image

It’s not surprising that when BC told me he wanted to rent a scooter so we could cruise around the town, I was a bit skeptical.

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But I agreed to it…even though it seemed insane to go riding around in this madness; especially since they drive on the side of the road we are not used to. But you learn quickly that a honk doesn’t mean “get out of my way” it means “no, go ahead, you’re good” or if you’re walking it means “I’m a tuk tuk and you should ride me!” Same with turn signals. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the car is trying to get over. Sometimes they are telling the scooter or tuk-tuk behind them that they are safe to veer into oncoming traffic and pass as many people as possible until a car or bus forces you back on to your side of the road. Fun? Frightening? Either way it’s an F-word.

There were about a dozen times I thought for sure we were going to get into an accident. But then it dawned on me: Thais are waaaay better drivers than any of us. Road rage? Non existent. Texting while driving? Only if you want to surely die. It’s kind of amazing to watch.

We now have our own scooter and BC is driving it like he thinks he’s from Thailand. He got a semi-automatic so I might be able to drive it one day but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

Our Scooter

And this is what BC looks like driving it:

BC on Scooter

Can we say CHiP?