Bangkok and Tokyo are about as different as two cities can get, and yet when I arrived I felt a distinct sense of Deja Vu. It was culture shock again, it was the sense of embarking on a whole new adventure.
As soon as I exited the train station delicious smells drifted to my nose. There are so many food stalls and street restaurants lining the roads of Bangkok it’s like the whole city is one big wonderful buffet with an endless selection. I really love Thai food, so when I got a whiff of that sweet/sour/spicy aroma I had to smile, imaging the pigging-out that was to come. And pig out I did, but the funny thing is eating a concentrated amount of chilli peppers in a short amount of time has consequences, dire consequences…
But I’ll tell you more about that another time. First, gather ’round and I shall tell you a tale, of the worst toilet in the world (probably). I encountered this masterpiece of waste management engineering after a great meal at a street restaurant on what my room mate called “the food street”. I ordered beer with dinner and instead of the usual bottle they brought this huge bottle that I had to drink on my own, because my room mate doesn’t like beer. So I chugged it back and not long after I felt “the need”. When I asked for the bathroom the waitress led me to a dingy little alcove where a man was washing dishes — that was when my misgivings began.
“Sorry, sorry,” he said as he scurried out and I walked through the puddles of water on the floor to a door in the corner, opened it, and froze. In the middle of a soppy floor made of dingy blue tiles was a little hole. The room had that gas-station-piss scent and there was no flush in sight. God, this was going to be just horrible but I really, really had to go. So I prayed to the gods of sanitation, dropped my pants and got into squat formation. A little white lizard peeped at me from the wall while I went and I nervously eyed a big spider web. Finally, the longest pee in history was over and I got out of the as quick as possible, only stopping to furtively wash my hands. And toilet paper? What do you think this is? No, that was one luxury I had to do without. On the bright side, using the squat toilets in Tokyo is now a walk in the park.
Look out for more posts about my exciting and enlightening trip to Thailand.