Hazzards of the Hongnam

I love rural Thailand and all it has to offer, from the laid back atmosphere to the kind smiles of  it’s friendly people, everything seems to mesh. That being said there are a few aspects of rural Thailand that scare the hell out of me.

For the most part you won’t be seeing too many western toilets while in rural Thailand, sure the better hotels will have them but if you are visiting the family farm , well, you better be in a squatting frame of mind.

I’ve gotten used  to the morning manual showers which consist of a bucket and a big pot of cold water. I’ve even gotten used to using the squat toilet, although if any Thai ever saw me using it they would wonder just what the hell I’m doing, after they finished laughing.

Rural Thai bathroomThe hongnam itself is an upgrade to the basic outhouse. Four concrete walls with a slanted metal roof that is more of an open air design. A pump brings running water into a tap used to fill the various pots and trashcans. One big clay jar to shower from, a smaller clay jar to flush from and various other jars and cans for washing of clothes and other secrets I have yet to uncover.

Going to the bathroom in the village is a little more involved than waking up and stumbling in. It becomes a ritual of sorts. A process where you begin with one action and move on to the next. it’s all very easy to get used to even if the morning shower is just a wee bit colder than I normally like.

Lizzard hanging out in Thai bathroomWhat I haven’t gotten used to is the morning audience that attends these rituals. It’s nothing to look around and find a large lizard or 3 hanging about on the walls or a large hairy spider hanging out on the ceiling. At least they make themselves known. It’s the unknown that I fear, and for good reason.

After a little thought, not like there is anything else to do while squatting,  you realize that if they can get in then it’s not to much of a stretch to get a snake in the loo too. Of course that is not the proper mindset to have and not something you want to be thinking about with your ass end hanging over the porcelain pit.

Last week I realized just why I should fear the unknown. I called my girl as I usually do and when she answered we had the following conversation:

Me: Hi teelac how are you?

Teelac: Not good teelac I have problem again.

Me:  What wrong Teelac?

Teelac: I live in hospital again.

Me: Why?!?!? What happened?

Teelac: I go hongnam teelac and saanake bite me.

Me: Teelac you ok? What doctor say: Big snake? Little snake? Poisonous?

Teelac: Doctor say I have to stay tonight so they can look me. Have big where snake bite me but it get small now.

Me: Where did you get bite?

Teelac: I not know how to say in englit.

Me: Your ass?

Teelac:  No! not in doot.

Teelac: I get bite on hand but not hand.

Me: Ah you got bit on finger?

Teelac: Yes teelac finnnger…I think next time have bite on top ( breasts )  I need big there

She spent the night in the hospital. Not knowing what kind of snake bit her they didn’t want to take any chances and wanted to keep an eye on her. Fortunately she is fine. As for me, I think the person that came up with ” when in Rome” should be shot. From now on I’ll be well armed before using the hongnam…or I’ll be buying diapers.

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    6 thoughts on “Living Like a Thai Day 4: Pee Baa Falang

    1. Talen, I love your mini-{social and budgetary} experiment ! Keep it up as long as it suits YOU.

      Heck with the nay-sayers. 555

    2. Talen I think your series title is perfect. Absolutely spot on.

      Cheap cigarettes washed down with rum and coke, living like a Thai doesn’t sound too bad at all.

      Great series.

    3. I think what you are doing is a great thought experiment. The exact numbers aren’t really that important since salaries and expenses vary anyway.

      Rice cookers are an awesome addition to ones kitchen if you are making Asian food a lot. Not sure you could afford one this month though

    4. Don’t forget one important aspect of living like a Thai – mooching. When my now Thai wife was between jobs she’d live with relatives who couldn’t really boot her out. She did honest work, cleaning and cooking for everyone, but had little money to help with food or pay rent.

      If your running short in the challenge don’t be afraid to go to your friends looking for a handout, it’s not cheating, it’s ‘living like a Thai’.

    5. When you mentioned getting coke at 7-11 for your rum it reminded me of the (probably) 1000, or more, times I’ve had to run down to 7-11 to get more ice, soda, coke(for me), and “Piper big size” (100 Pipers Whiskey) while my wife and her friends cooked and chatted in the room.

      They can drink and chat for hours but, even though I am drinking caffeine laden coke, the constant droning of Thai women’s voices always lulls me to sleep.

    6. The only problem is I don’t drink Alcohol. It’s just the combination of the heat of the room, breeze from the ceiling fan, and the constant background noise that put me to sleep.

      Soon enough, though, I will receive my wake-up call – “Honey, wake up, we go X-zyte, Karaoke, Walking, etc…”

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