I’m here, I’m finally doin it. And god just how spectacular it is.
After an afternoon of self induced trauma, and pure exhaustion, I just willed myself to go to bed. It seemed safer that way. The core of me longed to explore and wander throughout my surroundings, but I knew there was no way I could operate on my two days solid sleepless state.
So, at four p.m. just after being dropped off at V.I.P. Condo housing by the student ambassador after one and a half hours of sheer confusion trying to find each other at the airport, they showed me my room and then went on their ways.
Soaking in sweat, I went on a voyage seeking shampoo, a task proving to be far more difficult than initially intended. Turns out I don’t speak Thai. Big shocker. Well apparently Thai’s don’t speak English either, and shampoo manufacturers are no exception.
I wandered about the aisles of the little convenience store in the lobby of the condo, being stared at all the while by the man working the cashier, who was no doubt wondering just how a human being got to be so incredibly white as I was.
I finally made my way through the labyrinth of shampoo looking bottles and excess body wash, until I found those three blessed words, thank the Lord, “Smooth and Silky.”
I was certain I’d found it, what other body parts could one possibly desire to be smooth and silky? None that I could think of, or particularly wanted to know about in that case.
Twenty two baht (less than a dollar) and one awkward encounter later, I took the bottle back to my room and gave it an exhausted attempt in the shower. It appeared to do the trick. Well, at the very least it bubbled deceptively and that’s all I need to win me over.
Discovering that the condo had only provided me with the bare necessities, and skimping on even that, I came to the awareness at the worst possible time that I had no toilet paper at all.
An immediate flashback to an excerpt I’d read in a travel guide about why Thai’s always shake hands using their right, something to the effect of, the left hand was considered dirty because that one was used for wiping the buttocks. Unfortunately the travel guide really did use the words buttocks, and this was even less reassuring to me than the fact that I was stranded on the bowl until I was endowed with some brilliant spark of creativity.
Now I place an immense amount of respect and understanding into learning about foreign cultures, and often try to adapt to their behaviors, adopting them into my own oddly jumbled habits. But this one, I was gonna have to abandon on the wayside, I’ve heard there’s limits to everything and I guess I’d found mine.
Fishing out some old napkins that the airline hostess had generally granted me in addition to what appeared to be a rather mushy attempt at chicken and mushrooms, I managed to fix my situation.
And decided to leave buying toilet paper till the next morning, the fifteen flights of stairs between me and entrance to the rest of the world assists me in putting off a lot of unnecessary trips outside. In hindsight, I’ll probably appreciate those staircases as a mandatory workout, but at the moment all I see them as is a way to kick off my sweat glands first thing in the morning. I don’t even make it outside before slipping around in a coating of sweat.
And alas, I collapsed into bed with the screen door open listening to the sound of the waves rock against the gritty shore, realizing that I was actually here, in glorious Thailand, sunburn, mosquitoes, humidity and all. And I couldn’t think of a single place I would rather be, nor a single moment I would rather be having.