September 11, 2008
After experiencing a swimming pool where people swim all over the place and bump into each other, I decided to venture out on my own and find a better pool. After class Tuesday morning, I grab lunch and hop on an bus to Ranskit, the other Thammasat campus, about 1 hour away (depending on traffic). That’s right, I spent almost 3 hours in a bus just to swim and workout.It was worth it; the pool was incredible. I dare say it was possibly even better than Gregory gym (the pools at UT campus, which are beautiful).
After swimming, I lifted some weights (for the 2nd time in almost 6 weeks now!), and walked around the Ranksit campus (which I will now refer to as Ratskin, as that is more fun) for a little while, trying to find food. After about 30 minutes, I find the canteen (cafeteria) and every single thing on the menu is written in Thai. All I know is how much everything costs (numbers are the same in every language!). I’m a bit nervous to randomly get something, for fear that I will get pork, or worse, chicken blood. I ask a student for help, and proceed to present myself as an annoying, hard to please American. This is how our conversation goes:
Me: Hi, I’m sorry to bother you, but do you know what that is (point at some container of food)?
Him: Can I help you? Oh, yes, that is pork.
Me: Oh, okay. Is there any chicken?
Him: Yes, that is chicken (points at a chicken leg).
Me: Oh, no, how about chicken breast?
Him: Oh yes, there is some fried chicken over there.
Me: Oh, no I don’t really do fried food.
Me: Hmm, maybe tofu?
Him: Yes, that is tofu (points at fried tofu).
Me: Oh, no, I dont really do fried tofu either. Um, is there maybe anything healthy?
Him: Noodles and soup?
Me: Yes, that could work! Can she put chicken in there?
Him: Yes (points at chicken leg).
Me: Oh, no, just the soup and noodles will be fine.
Him: Which soup do you want?
Me: (I point at the first one) How about this one?
Him: Okay, the spicy soup.
Me: Oh no! I don’t really do spicy.
Him: How about that one? It has mushrooms.
Me: Okay. Oh wait, right there is chicken breast!
Him: Oh ya. Do you want to try it?
Me: Yes. ( I put it in my mouth, and then make a gross face).
Him: Do you want to spit it out?
Me: Yes (and I do). Hey, what is that? Liver? (I point at something I always thought was liver, which I see at most canteens, and is put in most meals)
Him: No, that is chicken blood.
Him: Yes, it is really healthy.
Me: WHAT?!? You guys EAT chicken blood?!? Okay, I’ll have the soup and noodles. Thank you so much for your help.
Him: Yes, sure sure. I will leave now.
Me: Okay, thank you!! Bye.
That is certainly the most difficult I have ever been with food. I usually just eat whatever, but for some reason, I was not having it that day. Oh by the way, I ate my noodles and soup and it was not very good. 20 minutes later, I walk by a big sign that says “Main Canteen”, where there is about 30 different food stands to choose meals from, and I bet some of those signs were even in English. Sigh.
I next attempt to find a shuttle bus going back to Prachin campus (the Thammasat campus I attend, and live by). I walk around lost for a while, but it’s actually really nice because the Ratskin campus is beautiful, with trees, a stream flowing throughout the campus and a dualing dragon structure.I eventually find the bus and spend the next 2 hours of my life in Bangkok traffic, having to pee. Grrr, BKK traffic has to be some of the worst in the world.
2 hours later, we finally arrive at Prachin TU campus, and I run to the nearest bathroom to pee. I walk into the bathroom, which are only squatter toilets, and at this point, I don’t even care. I pee, and then realize there is of course no toilet paper, and I have too many things in my bag to bother looking for some tissue. The bathrooms also have bidet hoses, used to spray your booty after using the restroom, and then drip dry before putting pants back on (thereby eliminating the need for toilet paper). I decide to try this.
I pick up the bidet, pull the trigger, expecting a nice, small stream of water to flow out. Not the case. A powerful gush of water comes out, and I of course panic and fumble with the house, and the water sprays everything in the vicinity; all over myself, the toilet, the walls, the door, just everywhere. A couple seconds go by before I get everything under control, and by that time, the entire bathroom stall is absolutely dripping in water. Oops. I feel kind of bad. But not too bad, because they really should have just had toilet paper.