After the first 12 hours in Thailand I’m surprised by how quickly I learn. Having said that, most of the things I’ve learned I was already advised about by friends before I arrived here but, being a contrary type, I shrugged off the advice. I hereby concede they were right and pass on this wisdom for all, with the testimony of experience.
Here are the top five lessons learned in the first 12 hours:
- This place isn’t pedestrian friendly. Vehicles rule the streets, negotiating the footpaths is like doing a cross-country event and there are precious few pedestrian crossings. But agility comes quickly and within a few hours you find yourself dodging and weaving. Although there’s a lot of traffic, it’s calm and trusting. Horns sound rarely, vehicles slow down for others, and drivers read the road without antagonism.
- Food doesn’t have to be from a street vendor to cause you mischief. Even in shiny western style shopping mall food courts a simple vegetarian meal can give you a touch of jelly-belly – this leads nicely onto my last and probably most important lesson.
- There’s an infinity of cosmetics shops, beauty salons and massage places. The issue will be determining which are the dodgy ones, you know what I mean.
- Always carry tissues or wet ones on your person. Jelly belly hits hard and fast, mostly when you’re miles away from the comfort of a familiar facilities. Luckily the gods were smiling on me and I found a toilet, but not as you know it. It was on this occasion I had my first experience with a spray hose for the bottom. It wasn’t altogether unpleasant, but how do people dry afterwards?
- It’s hot, even in the so-called-dry season. A surprise is that electricity is not included in the price of rental apartments. Although it’s only 8 Baht per K/W Hour, if you’re running the A/C 24/7 it can add up quickly. A fan at a local department store for around $40, which could save a heap if you’re here for a long stay.
These are the lessons I’ve learned, but as Richard Branson says, “You don’t learn to walk by following the rules, you learn by doing and falling over.” Here’s to many more falls along the way.