Again I’ll try to be short, but I wanted to mention some basic differences noticed in my short time here.  Firstly, bananas are peeled from the non-stem end down.  They’re chubby and short and taste totally different (because they’re picked when ripe and not when they’d bruise less during shipping?  Because they’re a different kind of banana?  Both, I expect), and they are amazingly yummy.  Secondly, the houses here, at least the older ones, don’t have walls that go all the way up to the ceiling and hold up the roof, the floors have huge cracks (and we’re on stilts, remember), and the windows shut but don’t close air-tight.  This is to say that mosquitoes just float around like we’re sitting outdoors at campfire!  It makes sense, from a too-hot-to-insulate standpoint, but it really is like being outdoors  while watching one’s soap opera.  Thirdly, the wildlife that comes into the house, spiders, geckos who watch you shower, bugs, whatever, are just a part of life and not a big deal.  Back home it’s so different, but maybe that’s a country/city thing and not so much a Thailand/America thing.  Fourthly, I had to ask today if Thai people’s internal gyroscopes are just better than Americans’, because though the bathroom and wash house have tile floors that we continually bucket clean (so they’re wet), there aren’t any non-slip mats or stickers or anything on the floor.  Clearly it’s not a problem over here, but it looks like an opportunity for a personal injury lawsuit to a Californian!  Just as the different sidewalks in front of stores that are inches different from the walkway leading up to them look like a health hazard and something our city planners would never allow (or would bill then rip up), that’s another basic difference I’ve seen (thinking about it…we say America’s all individualistic and Thailand is more communal, yet it’s in Thailand that a shopkeeper can express themselves or choose how to display their shop with more freedom.  In America it’s more homogenized).  Really hard beds/thin mattresses, that’s another difference, but that’s one I can get behind and shove; I’m sleeping really well on them.  Smile, also, there’s a lot of corrugated iron used in the construction of this house.  When a meo (cat) gets on the roof, you can really hear it, as there isn’t really another layer of anything between their paws and your hearing!  Oh, 7th or 8th-ly, toilet paper isn’t provided in bathrooms for wiping, but napkins for eating are the consistency of bathroom tissue, and often when eating at home there will be a roll that’s used for wiping the face.  Paper towels I’ve seen at the Tesco/Lotus, but aren’t in widespread use, not in bathrooms for drying hands, not in houses for mopping up messes (not a lot of counters here anyways, there’s a water cistern, a propane tank for the flame under the wok, and a small, low stove top that fits a kettle and one other pot, but that’s it.  Chopping is done on a board on the floor, and most mixing is done in the wok, I think.  Not a lot of bread dishes or things that would require batter at home on a regular basis, but probably that’d be done in a small bowl on the floor, like everything else), and while that’s very environmental, it’s not what I’m used to (yet).
I'm having a great time and hope to figure out how to put up pictures soon...but that requires me to actually take photos first!  ...I'll also want to ask my family if it's okay for me to put up pictures of them online, I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable, and I know how I am about pictures online.

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    These are the personal opinions of Spook, and do not reflect those of the Peace Corps.


    January 2014