Rebecca’s cousin recently informed me that the water we had been drinking throughout our travels in Thailand, the cheapest we could find, was distilled water. Distilled water, he informed us, leeches minerals out of your body, disrupting your electrolyte balance. So to counteract this, I decided to go with my tried-and-true method of rehydration: Gatorade. It has valuable electrolytes, and it’s something I’m familiar with; I’ll just water it down with my distilled water to counteract the sugar. Luckily, with Gatorade’s excellent branding, I was able to find a bottle even though I don’t speak Thai. So here’s to Gatorade, one of America’s most recognizable brands, for saving me from passing out on those hot Thai days.
One of the most popular tourist activities in Asia is shopping. Goods are very inexpensive, and the prospect of a $10 silk scarf, or a $2 pair of shoes, is simply too good to pass up for many. As I wrote a few weeks ago, there are some great bargains to be found here. But while you will find lots of inexpensive goods of relatively poor quality everywhere, what you will not find is a wide variety.
It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the dentist, and it will be awhile yet before I can go. So for this trip, I have been very religious about brushing and flossing my teeth. We took a lot of dental floss with us when we left California, but the little plastic dispensers never give you much to work with, so we had to buy it as soon as New Zealand. We purchased 25 meters of dental floss at a big box store, thinking that it was such a large quantity because we were in the Costco of NZ. Then we got to Thailand and were able to purchase the same amount at a normal convenience store. What gives? Why can we only buy like 10 feet at a time in the US? Am I wrong, or is the rest of the world hoarding all the reasonably-packaged dental floss? How much dental floss do you typically buy? Please let me know in the comments.
We have noticed that if there an opportunity to avoid physical exercise, most humans, Asian and white alike, will seize it. Rebecca and I typically take the other road, rather enjoying opportunities to stretch our legs, particularly while in transit. This usually surprises people. Here’s our adorable exchange from today’s visit to Bangkok airport as we approached the stairs next to the escalator:
Airline employee: *Audible gasp.* “Are you walking??”
Us, laughing: “…Yes…”
Airline employee, smiling: “Ex-er-cise!!!” *moves hands to simulate walking*
There have been many phrases that we have heard over the past few months that have made us giggle as non-English speakers try to communicate with us. Naturally, their English is better than our (insert language here), so I don’t judge, but sometimes, you just have to laugh. The best one from today was the following:
Flight Attendant: “Passengers with lots of baggage can claim it at baggage claim 4.”
Oh, idioms. Lots of baggage? Talk to a therapist about it, and frankly, just leave it behind. No need to pick it back up.
Traveling as a couple can be somewhat isolating. You aren’t single, so you don’t make the extra effort to go out at night and meet lots of other people, mostly content to just share the experience with your partner. Instead of finding a companion to travel with for awhile, you meet people here and there, and when the brief activity or trip is over, you go your separate ways, solo travelers preferring not to travel with couples for a number of reasons.
Rebecca and I were struggling with this reality until we realized that to find our tribe, we needed to go a little more into the wild.
For those of you that don’t know me that well, here’s a little bit about my background. I grew up on the mean suburban streets of central New Jersey. Though I was vaguely aware that farms existed, I bought my food at a grocery store or supermarket. Occasionally, we would drive west to Delicious Orchards, where I bought giant sized produce and learned that fruit grew on trees.
When I was a pre-adolescent, I attended a middle/grammar school called Frank Antonides School. FAS had all the things a school should have, except a good music program. A violinist, I played the flute and oboe parts in everything, usually as the only “flute” or “oboe” in a sea of boys blasting brass trumpets and emptying spit valves on the floor. One song that I was particularly fond of was a little ditty called the “Baby Elephant Walk.” It consisted of a dainty melody for flute that conjured images of tiny pink elephants parading in a neat line, trunks linked for safety’s sake. It’s either that, or the image of elephants running in herds in the Serengeti, that I have in my head when I think of elephants. Now that I have ridden an elephant, I can safely cast those images away. Continue reading
After a little over two months of traveling, I think we have hit our stride. Things seem to be getting easier. We are more courageous about street food, we confidently order local dishes in restaurants, and we are more decisive about activities and sightseeing. Plus packing and unpacking seems less onerous than before. Maybe I’ll make it six months after all! Continue reading