Realizing flexibility and open-mindedness is the key to a successful overseas expat adventure, Diane and I began recalling some interesting albeit odd occurrences we experienced in Thailand. Having just learned about new rules on income verification for all MM2H applicants (the Malaysian Social Visit Pass), I recently posted about concerns for American applicants due to strict privacy rules prohibiting disclosure of certain financial information. Deciding to rehash Thailand as a real possibility should the Malaysian government reject our application, we reflected on some sights and sounds that proved interesting.
Although paltry compared to our adventures trekking to a Hill Tribe village or spending the day as an elephant owner, the fish massages scattered throughout the country stand out. Strolling through Bangkok searching for a Thai Massage, a local suggested we head down a side street but instead of a petite Thai masseuse we found several small studios with fish tanks, towels and shopkeepers poised outside waiting for the next tourist. Unfamiliar with this bizarre practice, we figured it couldn’t be any worse than eating bugs for the first time so we pulled out a few Thai Bhat and gave it a shot.
Underneath the warm blankets came the sound of squealing, grunting and farting. Residing underneath our bedding in the guest house built on stilts, the pigs roamed around all night oblivious to the difference between day and night. Needing to pee badly, I stumbled out the hut door, tripped over some clothes and meandered to the “bathroom”, a separate hut with no lighting, a pit toilet seat on the floor and a bucket and hose. Diane held it in all night.
Giant squealing pigs live under the house
Possibly the best part of our annual Expat Destination Research Vacation, our visit to a real village far away from the touristy main roads was fascinating from start to finish. Departing the main road, we embarked on a four-hour journey just to get there. Utilizing a long-boat to traverse the muddy river, a mahout to guide us up a narrow trail on an elephant, and a bushwhacking local to hike through the jungle back down, just reaching the Karen Hill People was an adventure. Continue reading →