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Thread: Thailand - interesting/quirky things....

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Default Thailand - interesting/quirky things....

    Before I forget them, stuff I noticed based on being in Thailand for two weeks. I was in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, and places in between.

    1. Pepper shakers - at restaurants are filled with white pepper, not black. While I LOVE white pepper, I would have liked some black pepper occasionally.
    2. Table napkins - are the smallest, thinnest things you ever saw. You need a bout 7 of them to (maybe) equal one US table napkin
    3. Beef - non-existent in most menus. That being said, the food was delicious/amazing.
    4. Milk - also hard to find. I'm guessing there are not a lot of cows in Thailand in general. At the most expensive Starbucks, you have to specifically request milk or cream. It's not sitting out with the sugar.
    5. Sugar/sweetener - virtually ALL sweetener in Thailand is sugar or unrefined sugar. Equal or Splenda is pretty rare. Diet soda is VERY rare. My BIL said the reason, basically, is that there are very few fat Thailand people trying to reduce their calories. Anecdotally, he is right.
    6. Drinking fountains - nonexistent. The country is amazing in a lot of ways, but not in terms of drinking safe water from the tap.
    7. Religion - the country is Buddhist, and based on iconography alone, it is the most religious country or region I have been in in my entire life. Virtually every house has 1) a shrine, and 2) a spirit house. A spirit house is an outdoor shrine where people leave a beautiful miniature house for spirits to stay in so that they won't hang out and disturb your main house.
    8. No panhandlers - I never saw any people begging for money. Nobody asking for handouts.
    9. Crime - very low wherever I was.
    10. Police/military - presence in the street was VERY low. But everyone seems to behave themselves.
    11. Traffic - the worst I have ever seen in my entire life -- in Bangkok. Would take you an hour to drive 5 to 10 miles. And people on scooters and motorcycles constantly taking their lives in their hands by turning right in front of you at the last second.
    12. Exchange rate - terrific. 33 Thai Baht to the dollar. Food is cheap. Drinks are cheap. Merchandise is very cheap. A dollar goes a long way. My SIL booked round-trip Bangkok/Chiang-Mai flights for my family (four adults, essentially), three nights at a Chiang Mai hotel (with two bedroom suites), and two nights at a luxury beach resort in Hua Hin, for a total of $900 US.
    13. Language - lots of signage written in English because of travelers. Almost all prices are written in English characters. Very easy to pay for something without needing a translation.
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    Elite Member pinkbunnyslippers's Avatar
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    #6 is what gave me the runs from just brushing my teeth with the water.
    Some street vendors sell soda in a plastic bag with handles.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkbunnyslippers View Post
    #6 is what gave me the runs from just brushing my teeth with the water.
    Some street vendors sell soda in a plastic bag with handles.
    Before we went there, I told our daughter she was going to have to rinse her mouth with bottled water when she brushed her teeth, and her response was basically, "Where the hell are you taking me???"
    MsDark, mostroop, BITTER and 6 others like this.

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    A*O
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    Travel broadens the mind in all sorts of ways. Have you noticed the shady looking middle aged Anglo men with very young Thai “nieces”?
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    so jealous of your trip, mo! i'm dying to go to southeast asia, especially thailand, vietnam and cambodia. thai and vietnamese are basically my favourite food so i know i would go crazy.
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    Elite Member lindsaywhit's Avatar
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    Did you go to the night market in Patpong, Mo?


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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    Travel broadens the mind in all sorts of ways. Have you noticed the shady looking middle aged Anglo men with very young Thai “nieces”?
    I definitely agree that it broadens the mind. When I went to Honduras in 1992, it was a shock to the system. I had never experienced firsthand how some people lived. There were other amazing aspects to that experience - like the foods, the buildings, the artwork. And Copan.

    It's difficult to tell what my kids absorbed. They rolled with everything we did. We visited zillions of Buddhist temples. Fed and bathed elephants. White-water rafted. Tried foods that they didn't know existed (and me either). I know that when we went to Hawaii last summer, it took a whole month for it to kick in for our kids just what they had experienced. This was on a whole other level.

    Quote Originally Posted by lindsaywhit View Post
    Did you go to the night market in Patpong, Mo?
    Almost positive. We also went to a night market in Chiang Mai, so I have to look at my photos to keep them straight. Mrs Mo and our SIL and BIL went to a night market in Hua Hin, too, but the kids and I stayed back. I just didn't have the energy to walk for hours.

    There was a day market in Bangkok - not sure what it was called - but you could buy every animal you could think of. Examples: Huskies, Shar Peis, Pomeranians, Persian cats. Squirrels, Skunks, pygmie hedgehogs, snakes, huge tortoises, parrots, mini seat turtles, monkeys, MARMOSETS (!!!), all kinds of lizards. I didn't see any frogs for sale, which I thought was strange.

    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    so jealous of your trip, mo! i'm dying to go to southeast asia, especially thailand, vietnam and cambodia. thai and vietnamese are basically my favourite food so i know i would go crazy.
    My BIL and SIL buy cheap tickets and travel all over east/southeast Asia - Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, India. They mentioned a number of times how beautiful Vietnam was but how rude the people are. Sputnik, probably tomorrow I am going to create a thread just for Thai food I ate. Delicious and very colorful.
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ^^^^
    can't wait!
    did you have frog legs?
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    ^^^^
    can't wait!
    did you have frog legs?
    I would have if I had seen them anywhere. But I never saw them anywhere - market or menu. Meat in general, was pork or chicken - especially in the markets. I did see lot of squid -- and I mean it was the WHOLE squid. My daughter even had to pick the beak out of one of her squids before she ate it...
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    Elite Member SHELLEE's Avatar
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    You’re daughter sounds like Sputnik food wise, not afraid to try anything.
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    Elite Member emkat's Avatar
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    11. Really?! I know you live in the same area as I do. It was really worse than the DC metro area traffic?! Holy shit; that is some BAD traffic!
    I saw DEATH, an anorexic penguin, an overcooked Gollum, Mr. Burns in need of a haircut and a methed-up Riff Raff.--Michael K. on Phil Spector

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    Elite Member pinkbunnyslippers's Avatar
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    Did you eat insects and durian?

    I’m happy you got to spend time with the elephants.


    Edit: Nevermind about the bugs. I saw the thread about things you ate.
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    Elite Member CornFlakegrl's Avatar
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    I don't think I can handle the food thread. Just thinking about it makes my stomach flip flop. I'm sure Sput is all over it though.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkbunnyslippers View Post
    Did you eat insects and durian?
    I think I forgot to mention durian. It is VERY popular there. The first durian I had was not ripe, which means it tasted normal -- that is not typical. Most people let durians sit around until it undergoes some kind of weird catalytic process that turns it into the festering melange that people talk about.

    I was at an Iberry ice cream shop in Chiang Mai when I had durian ice cream. Holy smokes - it tasted like vanilla ice cream infused with garlic and sulfur. I tried several bites just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating, but I was not.

    After a while, you start recognizing the smell of durian in a lot of places. The worst though was in a restaurant bathroom. Somebody had gone number 2 and had eaten durian. It was indescribable, LOL.

    Quote Originally Posted by emkat View Post
    11. Really?! I know you live in the same area as I do. It was really worse than the DC metro area traffic?! Holy shit; that is some BAD traffic!
    Let's put it this way - driving home from Dulles airport around 6 pm (up Route 66, 495, and Route 29) was an absolutely breeze compared to driving through Bangkok. Traffic was a nightmare there.

    But my SIL had booked a van driver through every step of the trip, and always had some kind of wireless hot spot going, so we could kind of tune out when things got slow. I can't say enough things about my SIL. She has a master's in economics, has the patience of a Buddhist monk, and a ton of energy. I loved her the moment my BIL introduced her to me 12 years ago, and she has never changed. My BIL (Mrs Mo's brother) is amazing, too. Sputnik would love him. He has an adventurous, epicurean taste for everything. They are designing a hospital in Bangkok, and immediately after we flew out, they had a half-day meeting with authorities to review their architectural design plans. They are waiting for review and approval.
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    Elite Member pinkbunnyslippers's Avatar
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    I think durian smells like a dumpster on a hot and humid day, mixed with vomit. It is banned in some places.
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