Thursday, 10 November 2011

Moving to a new country? Get to know the dangers… big and small!


I’m happy to say that we are getting nicely settled into our lives in Thailand.   We miss our friends in Dubai but it’s on to another adventure, right?  I’m still happily writing away – copy writing for clients, getting ready to launch my first book, @Home in Dubai… Getting Connected Online and on the Ground, AND participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time (yes, I’m a little crazy but happy – I’m writing! And that’s what counts).

So, back to the topic of this post… we had visited Thailand several times while we were living in Dubai and fell in love with it on the first landing.  It was decided early on that it would be where Doug would like to retire.  Our comfort level with the place was truly at a 10 out of 10. Any of the small irritants of settling into a new place were easily overcome because of the huge number of positives – like the food, the amazing people, the gorgeous beach, lush greenery, cheap cost of living and so on.  BUT, I forgot to also pay attention to the possible dangers of living here (no, I’m not talking floods, but that would be a good guess considering what’s been going on in northern Thailand and parts of Bankok)… I’m talking about creatures, big and small, that you have to look out for.

Creatures BIG
The other day, I was sitting in my office, working away, minding my own business, when I caught Zorro, my cat, out of the corner of my eye.  He was the perfect depiction of a Halloween cat and he was fuzzed out so much, he looked twice his large, 15-pound kitty frame.  Alarmed, I went out to investigate.  He was looking over the back wall and was obviously petrified.  I tried to coax him down but he was frozen in place.  I went out the front door, around to the back of the villa to investigate what was freaking him out.  I know, I know.  You’re thinking, what the hell was I doing? It’s like in those horror movies when the stupid moron goes into the house that’s oozing blood from the windows, right?  Well, I rounded the corner and just about stepped on a very large (I’d say he was about a four-footer), shiny, black snake.  Holy Crap!  The good thing is that, it seems that what they say is true, they’re more scared of you than you are of them.  He immediately slithered away up a banana tree and over the neighbor’s wall.  My heart was in my throat but both Zorro and I were untouched.  Phew!
Photo kindly provided by www.thailandsnakes.com

Creatures Small
A smaller beast that I forgot to beware of and that had a much more uncomfortable impact on me than the snake encounter, was the very nasty, intestinal parasite.  Microscopic, yet deadly.  Again, my comfort was my downfall.  I puff out my chest and say confidently, “I live here now. I can eat anything and everything, just like the locals.”  Well, my somewhat virgin intestines had a different take on the new situation.  The locals have had their whole lives to develop a tolerance to these little beasts.  Me… not so much.  I always claim to be an adventurous eater and the first few weeks we were here, we ate from every little hole in the wall and sidewalk vendor we happened upon when we were hungry.  My reward… five days of fever and chills, headache, cramps and… well, you know what comes with that.

Lessons learned:
  1. No walking around barefoot (especially at night) and make lots of noise as you’re coming around corners.
  2. Ease yourself into the local food, carry anti-bacterial hand wash at all times, and don’t put fingers in mouth until thoroughly sanitized.
  3. Always have a back-up supply of anti-biotics.  You can get them over the counter here!
 

1 comment:

Anne said...

My friend Becky, who's lived all over the world added these:

Always shake out your shoes before putting them on (scorpions love shoes)

Always check your sheets before climbing into bed (my daughter was stung in her sleep)

Don't blindly turn on a wall switch in the middle of the night (tarantulas and other spiders might be lurking)."

Thanks Becky!