Sunday night, sitting with my three best BKK friends drinking coffee and eating stoner desserts, I'm asked, now that I've been here almost a month, what have been the biggest surprises?
One of them, I noted, happened just minutes before as we parked. The street spot was left short by the car parked ahead, so my driving friend simply got out and pushed it, then pushed his in behind it.
This wasn't some great strength feat--cars are left in neutral here for just that purpose. From what they said this is largely voluntary--an unwritten rule. And like many unwritten rules, violators--especially those who box another driver in and apply their parking brake--can end up with a nasty note on their windshield or key carvings in their paint (I guess mai pen rai has its limits).
And I'm sure most of my American readers are shaking their head, maybe with the same thoughts I had: "That's so smart--no way in hell would it work in the U.S." People in The States think they own not only their car, but feet in front and back.
Then I shared one I encountered soon upon arrival but didn't fully understand for weeks. My first room was lovely in ways (scary enough the next two beds were even harder), with en-suite bathroom and shower--tough to beat at a hostel. It was missing one thing: a sink.
Okay, no big deal, I decide. After all, in my old Kentucky home we had just one bathroom and, when we all had to get ready for church or whatnot I was sometimes relegated to brushing my teeth over the toilet. I could do the same here. And washing my hands, well, it did have a sprayer beside said bowl.
So I made it work because I'm not fancy. Though later I clogged said toilet when I put toilet paper in it, because I thought they were made for each other.
Not in these parts.
Long story short, the toilet-side sprayer is known as a bum gun. You use like a hand-operated bidet, and with soap, a good reach, and practice you get much cleaner than the American approach. I mean, seriously, think of it, we don't like walking around sweaty or with chicken grease on our hands, but...
okay, don't think of it. Just trust me, it's better. Of course, nobody tells you these things in advance, you just have to learn it the hard way and get a little embarrassed.
But not you, O my brothers. You learn from my embarrassment. What a bargain.
And here's a bonus lesson--test that bum gun first: