At lunch today I was talking to my friend about how strange and/or different certain things are here in Thailand that we wouldn’t have really realized if we didn’t live here. So I thought I would share a list of the 10 strangest things I have noticed since moving to Thailand…
1. Cucumbers! Sliced cucumbers are served with EVERYTHING, like here’s your ice cream and a side of cucumbers, speaking of ice cream, an ice cream sandwich in Thailand is really just that, bread with ice cream in the middle. Anyways, cucumbers come with everything, I mean I’m not complaining, but it is a bit random.
2. This pretty much goes anywhere you live where English is not the first language, but seriously anytime I hear someone speaking English I immediately do a double take. To be fair though Thai people immediately do a double take when they hear me speaking Thai (granted my Thai is not very good, but I can get by).
3. Now I know the selfie stick is becoming hugely popular in the states, but it has already been popular in Thailand for far too long. My two-year-olds and three-year-olds know exactly what to do when someone pulls out their phone or camera; they throw up their peace sign and smile. In Thai culture they learn how to crawl, walk, take a selfie, drive a motorbike, and then run.
4. Whitening is probably the strangest thing I cannot wrap my head around. Being ghostly pale is what is seen as extremely beautiful, I get compliments on a regular basis for how fair my skin is, quite unlike the comments I get just about anywhere else like, “If you’re from Florida why are you so pale?” and “Hey Casper” Whitening serum is in just about everything, sunscreen, soap, lotion, make-up, and what I find the most odd, deodorant, I can sort of begin to understand that being super pale is attractive, but come on, your arm pits? I mean really?
5. Straws. Are. In. EVERY. Drink. Anytime you buy a drink from 7/11 (which is crazy popular here, there is a 7/11 on every corner and you can define how big your town/city is by how many 7/11’s you have) as I was saying, anytime you buy a drink from 7/11 you will always be given a straw with it, from milk, beer, soda, water, to wine, everything comes with straw and everyone drinks out of a straw. I’m personally not a huge fan of drinking through a straw with carbonated drinks, but I am learning to love and accept the straw.
6. No bathing suits, this goes back to wanting to be pale, Thai people do not wear bathing suits to the beach and that’s if they even go to the beach. Don’t get me wrong Thai people think the beach is pretty, but they don’t seem to go as often as most people who live by the beach, but that goes back to not wanting to get tan, so if they do go to the beach they go fully clothed and swim fully clothed: jeans, long sleeves, and a hat, seriously, no skin showing.
7. Sexuality is an interesting subject here in Thailand. As most people know Thailand is infamously known for their “Lady-boys,” who are recognized as normal members of society and are not ridiculed in the slightest. Children at school are allowed to be whoever they want to be and are not forced to sit with the sex they were born with, they are allow to sit with the sex they define themselves as. That being said, Thailand is not very open with sexuality in the media, most movies and TV shows that have risqué clothing and risqué scenes are edited out. I find this slightly odd when they are so open with different sexualities and many Thai women (lady-boys included) openly engage in prostitution, but you will rarely see cleavage, kissing scenes, or anything racy on television or in the movies. I’m not complaining, just saying, I would 1000x over always choose for their to sexual equality than to have anything be shown on TV and in the movies, but I just think it is interesting where Thailand draws the line.
8. Butter/milk are two of the most popular flavors for snacks. You will always find crackers or cakes that are butter or milk flavored. It is also very common to add condensed milk into just about anything, from coffee, to dressings, soup, etc. I do not understand the love and fascination with butter, but a very popular sandwich in Thailand is a hoagie filled with a stick of butter.
9. Sugar, most people I think would never see Thai food as sweet, but it is, proper Thai food will always at least have a little sugar in it. Thai people LOVE things sweet, especially ketchup, soup, and their desserts. One of the most popular desserts is bread with butter on it and sugar on top, as well as a bag of condensed milk filled with gummy worms that have been soaking in it for a few hours. Most times when I order food I have to ask for it without sugar because I don’t really fancy sweets. When I order coffee or smoothies I always have to say no sugar, because if not they add an obscene amount of sugar, it’s a wonder how more people don’t have cavities here.
10. Last but certainly not least, bum guns, not really sure what the proper term is for them, because that’s what I have always heard them called. In Thailand it is very rare that you will go into a bathroom and find toilet paper, it just doesn’t happen, they have “bum gums” sort of like the cheaper version of Baeda. So basically when you get done doing your business, you take the bum gun and spray yourself off and have a good shimmy and go on your way, or if you’re like me you carry toilet paper in your backpack with you when you travel or go to work. The other thing that is very common are what I call, squatty potty’s, which are basically what they sound like, holes in ground that one squats over to relieve themselves and then you scoop water out of a bucket to make sure everything goes down. Below I have included some pictures so it makes more sense (these are not my pictures, I got them off google.)