The Thailand Diaries: Mr. Parasite and the case of the missing toilet

After three years living in Thailand I decided it was time I wrote my memoirs… this one may be a little too much information for some but if you can’t tell your diary, who can you tell?


My tummy had been doing somersaults since I had woken up but I had put it down to whatever undoubtedly spicy-fried-stuff-with-rice that I had eaten for dinner the night before.  It’s not unusual to feel every single digestive movement within you when you are embracing the local food in Thailand.

Little did I know that there was a particularly pesky parasite harbouring within my body waiting to burst forth – quite literally – and make an appearance.  Only time would reveal this, and my what timing Mr. Parasite had.  I would soon find myself wishing I had listened to my gut’s grumbles with more attention but we all know that hindsight, and a rather memorable toilet (or lack thereof) experience, is a gift we cannot savour until it is already too late.

Perhaps someone reading this will learn something, and my experience will enable another to avoid what was unavoidably my fate.  Read on and take note, dear reader.

As I have already said, I was embracing the local cuisine of Thailand’s deep south, and so I found myself heading over to a little khao geang (literally rice curry) place at breakfast time.  It was owned by a lovely couple who would rise early to prepare an array of dishes to be laid out buffet-style for the customers to peruse and take their pick of.  As is usual in these set ups, the shop was in the front of their house, backing on to the living room which they shared with the patrons.  Unusual by Western standards but very much the norm here in Thailand.  Another rather un-Western thing – customer toilets are few and far between in these types of establishments; this fact would become all too apparent all too quickly.

Grumble.  Groan.  Squelch.  I looked at my breakfast of spicy-fried-stuff-with-rice and was unable to conjure up the slightest inkling of an appetite.  Strangely enough, being able to feel your internal organs in action tends to be quite the appetite killer.

Grumble.  Groan.  GRUMBLE.  GROAN.  Suddenly the urgency with which my insides operated reached a peak with only one message.  TOILET.  NOW.

Mee hongnam mai ka?  Possibly the single most important phrase to learn upon travelling to any foreign land – do you have a toilet?

The husband-wife curry shop duo looked at one another and then at me, in my white school shirt and pencil skirt.  They started to explain that it’s their toilet, it’s no good for customers, especially not farang customers in tight skirts… but I was already up and heading to the back of the house where their gazes lead me.  Tee nee ka?  Here?

I was  in there before they had time to answer but sure enough I found myself in what must be the family bathroom.  A damp concrete square of a room with a concrete floor and only sky where a ceiling would normally take residence.  Good for ventilation I suppose.

GRUMBLE.  GROAN.

I desperately cast my eyes around, looking for the bog, the loo, the porcelain throne… nothing.  There was a small container of water, adorned with wrung out flannels, an old bar of soap and a couple of toothbrushes.  Next to that, a larger bin also full of water with a Winnie the Pooh children’s cereal bowl floating in it.  A quick peek beyond and I found a hole in the ground.  A hole, albeit encircled with a porcelain frame, as if to confirm that yes, this is in fact the toilet.

Full disclosure: I should probably apologise for the misleading title of this post – there was a toilet, just not the type that I am used to.

My pencil skirt was too tight to be hoicked up and so I whipped it off and flung it over my shoulder.  I’ll save you the details of what happened next but let me tell you that Mr. Parasite put me through my paces.  Epic toilet times – a rite of passage when adjusting to a life abroad but something best enjoyed (wrong word) in the privacy of one’s own home.

Something you learn quickly when you are traveling through or living in an Asian country is that there is a distinct lack of toilet tissue, especially in those countires that favour a bidet hose, or bum gun as I like to call it.  In fact, you quickly learn that we have developed a whole load of unnecessary Westernised expectations when it comes to the toilet.  We don’t need toilet seats, automatic flushes or jet powered hand dryers, but at some point we decided that we do.   Had I had the time to think things through before my rush to the toilet I would have grabbed some paper towels from the table.  Again, hindsight.

Unfortunately for me it was a double whammy.  Not only was there no toilet but no bum gun either.

Panic started to set in.  Do I shout for someone to bring me some tissue?  There isn’t even a bin.  Not an option.  There I was, squatting askew a hole in the ground, half dressed with my skirt slung over my shoulder desperately looking for a post-toilet clean up solution.

There’s only so long one can stay in such a position without taking action.  I was time to go truly native, armed with gallons of water, a Winnie the Pooh children’s cereal bowl and…

… my hand.  Oh yes, native indeed.

Thank goodness there was an old bar of soap.

At the time I have to say that wasn’t one of my most pleasant mornings, but at least now I can look back and laugh, and I can face any toilet situation safe in the knowledge that it will never be that traumatic ever again.


I may look back and find this funny, but many people don’t even have a hole in the ground let alone clean water to wash with or even drink.  Check out the gifts you can buy over at Water Aid  to enable people to have access to clean water and village water systems. 

This isn’t a sponsored post, I just want to make up for laughing at what is a daily occurrence for so many people around the globe.

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Update: I am alive, pANUS and cat punches

Once again the pull of real, actual life distracted me from blogging about said real, actual life.

I’ve been a busy bee what can I say?

Busy doing what?  I hear you ask, clearly in desperation of knowing just what a relative stranger has been up to…

I’m afraid you will just have to wait and see. 

What I can tell you is that the business… (wait, busyness… busy-ness?) has been work/career based and has involved the purchase of not one but two, yes two, cat themed notebooks, a lever arch file and three highlighters.  You are on the edge of your seat, I can tell.

But seriously, new things are on the horizon, ideas have been set in motion, there’s plenty in the pipeline (I suck at idioms and sayings so I’m sure those aren’t quite right) but until things are official I shall remaim shtum.

For now, let me share something that has surely made all motorists on Thai roads snigger at some point or other;

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A friend of mine said that it was a portmanteau of penis and anus which I thought was quite profound (once I had looked up portmanteau in the dictionary).

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Also, here’s a nice shiner that Brian the cat who adopted us gave me.  I woke up the next morning with an actual black eye – my first, and I was quite proud of it.

I think his punishment was fitting…

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Cat wasn’t too happy about her wardrobe being raided though.

Enough mindless rambling for now.  I’m sure when certain things get confirmed I will have a whole lot of things to be writing about!

^..^<

Coffee for one, please

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Sometimes a solo visit to Starbucks is the best way to sort your head on a Sunday morning.

A combination of writer’s block and not knowing what I will be doing six months from now has resulted in a head that needs clearing.  If it was sunny I’d be on the beach (come on rainy season, time to go home) but the clouds led me to the familiar comforts of of the green mermaid and her caffeine charged offerings. 

Sometimes all it takes is a few home comforts.

On another note, my sources (AKA my facebook news feed) inform me that THE COCA COLA ADVERT HAS BEEN PLAYED ON TV and therefore the official countdown to Christmas has begun.  Ordinarily this would start of my own bah humbug countdown to having to work straight through the festive season and not really having much of a Christmas here in Thailand BUT my friends, this year is different.  Now I’ve abandoned the dark side (… the Thai education system) and have embraced something all the more familiar (… the British international curriculum) – I GET ACTUAL CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS!! 

So I will be jet setting it back around the globe for an extra special Cornish Christmas that quite simply I cannot wait for and I think will do me the world of good, especialy with settling my mind on the whole where I should be living and working and what I want to actually do with my life debate that currently spins around and around and around my head.  Or maybe that debate is just part and parcel of being an actual grown up now.

And, just like that, as if she knew that I was hankering for a festive taste from home, the Starbucks barista has just handed me a free taster of their Christmas flavoured latte.

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By the way, this post was not sponsored by Starbucks in any way!

OK, the caffeine has been administered, the cinnamon swirl has been enugulfed and this post has just about come to a close.  More updates coming soon, once this head is cleared out (amd the unavoidable Starbucks heart palpatations die down).

Over and out.  >^..^< <

A to Z of me: D is for…

diaries

After the past few scheduled posts (while I travelled across the globe using two planes, a rickety bus, two tube journeys, two over land train journeys and a short walk at the end just to top it off) I am now HOME!  I have managed to wake up at a normal morning hour, although I am super hungry (but my belly does think it’s lunch time already so all is forgiven).

So, keeping up with the Ultimate Blog Challenge (and my own personal alphabet challenge), I find myself at the letter D.  I toyed with writing about dancing (or, more accurately my distaste for dancing), drinking (and my appreciation of a good G&T) or the scabby dog that lives outside our house.

Then I realised that I am sitting on a goldmine of material while I am staying with my parents – THE DIARIES.

I started keeping a diary when I was ten or eleven years old until I was sixteen, when I was too cool to care about documenting the ins and outs of me.

So I dug them all out of the attic and had a good reminisce reading them – and a bit of a cringe!  There is so much to read but I have picked a few random entries (no promises that they won’t be boring); I’ve left out names (mostly of boys!) to keep confidentiality and to maintain some level of privacy…

So, here we go… a little sneak peak into the life of teenage me…

GOOD DAYS 1999 – This is my diary for the summer holidays and nice days.

28/07/99

Today me + Laura bought best friend necklaces.  Went down town with Claire + Laura + came back to my house.  Went out to play with .. (huge unnecessary list of names).

Extra stuff I must remember…

Not to take my necklace off ever + to pay Laura back 47p.

Diary 2000 PRIVATE Keep Out

Mon 14 February 2000

Valentines day.  xxx forgot my present – he’s utterly useless.

Wed 15 February 2000

xxx gave me a 99p bar of chocolate and a card!!

Mon 28 February 2000

Back at school.  I dumped xxx & he phoned me up once asking why then (his friend) phoned & asked me out for xxx – I prefer being single – I think.  Carla moved house.

Tues 29th February 2000

xxx gave me a letter asking me out again – I said no but I’m not really sure – mybe we could have a secret relationship?!  My stars say I should go for it – I really don’t know.

Wed 1 March 2000

I don’t know if I should go out with xxx.

Tue 7 March 2000

xxx is going out with yyy.  I’m happy for her and told her just to watch him and she’ll be okay.

Wed 8 March 2000

I am invited to the party of the year!  zzzz’s birthday at the MILLENIUM CLUB

Thurs 9March 2000

I fancy no-one & it’s really weird.

Fri 10 March 2000

##### and ****** asked me out!  I said “NO”.  The party was a hit – we didn’t get home til 11.00pm.

Winnie the Pooh Diary 2001

13th April 2001

Went 2 Flambards with Helen & her Gran and Grandad.

LUSH BOY.  Didn’t talk 2 him.

Damn.

1st May 2001

I need a boyfriend.  To get a boyfriend I need to fancy someone – I don’t.  Slight problem there.  There are some people who I LIKE, but not enough.  POO.

10th June 2001

Soz I aven’t writ nuffin as appened.

MY DIARY 2002

Saturday 25th May 2002

2day we went in2 town + it pissed down so we all bought brollies + ran through town.  The rynners saw us!  An army of umbrellas running + screaming!  SHAME!  I’m still grounded (4 tryin 2 camp out) so 2nite I’m doin bugger all.  Actually, its been pretty good bein grounded this week cos the weather was 2 bad 2 go out most nights anyway.

I had 2 wear sunglasses 2day (in the rain, I might add) bcos my eye swelled up.  This morning it was stuck 2getha with all this rock hard green bogey stuff – it was well rank.

The council filled in the pool +demolished all the walls + benches in the park so we now have no where 2 go.  Oh well, we’ll find sumwhere better,

2day I bought a lush coca-cola top (11 quid its v. nice).

Umm… nothing else 2 write apart from I need a b/f at the moment.

I’ll write later or 2moz

luv

Kylie Millar

xxx

30th May 2002

I had 2 go doctors 2 get eye drops cos I’ve got conjunctivitis.  Yesterday @ last break I snogged xxxx.  I dunno how, we just pulled.  I dunno.

I haven’t got ne make-up on.  AAA.

Helen’s got really short hair.  Its like a fliky bob it looks really nice.

I haven’t been out 4 nearly 2 weeks + I was only supposed 2 b grounded 4 1.  So I am definitely going out 2moz nite 2moro’s the last day then we get 1 week off.  I’m gonna b drinking that week I think!  (Just a bit…)

I can’t find my EMINEM lyrics I think I put them in the wash.  FUCK.

So, what can we gather from this?  I was most definately BOY OBSESSED and very fickle!  Managing to somehow snog a boy in school – did he just fall and land on my face?  My grammar and spelling left a lot to be desired.  Alcohol was starting to play a part near the end and EMINEM lyrics were very, very important.

Now to re-hide them before my Mum gets her hands on them – there are some entries that I most definately don’t want to share quite yet!

A day in the life of me. Home time!

14.20-15.00pm:  Writing class with 2/16 (International Porgramme) – looking at making predictions which mostly involved writing about Guiness World Records and watching some attempts on the internet.  There are only 3 students in this class – Thursdays are my most varied with classes from 3 to 50 students!

15.00-15.50pm:  Final class of the day with 1/14 (Computer English Programme) doing the same as what I did this morning with 1/15.  Last semester I spent most of my time repeating the same lesson with different classes and although it cuts down on preparation time, it an get a bit boring.

15.50pm:  The final bell goes!

15.50-16.30pm:  More spelling bee training with another student who it turns out isn’t even in the competition but needs to be trained for I’m not sure what reason.  She’s only 12 years old bless her, so I don’t mind helping out, even if she can’t spell that well.

16.30pm:  The school day has finished, and we make our way back home.  Sometimes I have private lessons after school and can carry on until 19.30pm but today I am done already and am free as a bird to do what I please (which will probably be sweet nothing).

Home time!  Bye!

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