My top two concerns when moving to Thailand were only having access to cold showers and the spice level of the food.
I love hot showers. Even in Africa when I lived in a tent and had a composting toilet and an outdoor hot shower often occupied by frogs, I have always had access to a hot shower. It feels so great! It wakes me up in the morning and can help out me to sleep and feel clean for going to bed. A cold shower on the other hand, has a reputation of being only for one reason…. And so unpleasant.
And the spicy curries and chilli-filled food of Thailand was the other major concern. I am a picky eater to begin with, and can’t handle much in terms of spiciness. Have often avoided hot Thai and Indian and even Mexican food at home out of fear of the spice. I can’t handle it.
So… It’s been a week. Maybe not very long, but have definitely been eating Thai food and having cold showers. And I have to say it’s all good!
In terms of food, we are lucky here that we have lunch from either leftovers from dinner before, or go to the most amazing restaurants which are about a three minute walk away. A lovely Thai woman named Mimi comes in weeknights and dinner is cooked for us! The Thai food is out of this world. I do tend to try dishes I am told aren’t as spicy, but am definitely enjoying the savoury combos of basil, coconut, cumin, garlic, limes, chillis, pepper and curries. Lots of fresh herbs and all sauces except soy sauce and oyster sauce seem to homemade! So far everything has been amazing.
The cold showers are a little brisk, but I would call it more refreshing and cleansing than cold. I did practice in Japan before I came. In Osaka, it was hot and humid, so ending with a cold shower helped reduce some of the sweatiness post-shower. Here, it just feels good to be clean. We don’t wear shoes much, so my feet are disgusting daily and I sweat a lot due to the humidity and heat. The shower feels good and being clean really and truly feels like heaven. So…. I have no complaints so far about cold showers or Thai cuisine.
Two things that are not my favourite after a week are:
- Rainy season means daily, unpredictable and deluges of rain. It can rain any time and when it does it usually is a downpour like nothing on the wet West Coast of Canada. South East Asian rain is intense. I really don’t mind it as much as at home in that it’s still really warm, but it’s frequency means my shorts or skirts and usually my bag all get soaked. And laundry takes a long time to dry. I have a dry bag and have been keeping my electronics in it, for fear of flooding, but perhaps it’s time to break it out like my friends here and use it for walking between sites. Plus I just need some waterproof pants I think. So while it’s not horrible, I need to do a few things to adjust to the rainy season here.
- The other thing I miss is a sink in my bathroom. I miss brushing my teeth over a sink instead of spitting into a toilet or on the shower/toilet floor, and I miss a proper sink to wash my hands in. It is probably important to note that the septic system here is crap and sensitive, so you can’t flush toilet paper down it, so you put it in a bin. Some toilets don’t flush, you have to use a bucket full of water to force a flush. And the shower and toilet are in the same room, beside each other with no separation, so sometimes the toilet seat gets wet. At my home, I have shower shoes but not at the volunteer house so that grosses me out a bit but I am sucking it up and trying not to be a princess. (And washing my feet before bed. Hahha)
Otherwise, things are pretty splendid here. Enthusiastic, passionate and inspiring group of people, beautiful setting, and thoughtful accommodations and amazing food.