Whilst hanging out my washing the other day I was greeted with a sweet reminder of my time in Thailand, a little orange thread still tied to the label of my top that was used to identify my clothing by the lady at the laundrette. This got me thinking of the other reminders of Thailand I possess, those that have faded and those that will last a lifetime.
For most of us our memories of Thailand are filled with flash-backs of neon lights, white sandy beaches, glorious sunsets, crazy tuk-tuk drivers, jungles treks, elephants, tigers and bottles of Chang! But what about the physical memories, those little reminders you can take with you? Here’s a few of the funny little ‘things’ that I think most travellers to Thailand will have collected somewhere along the way.
At approximately 3 quid for a pair of Ray-Ban(gkok’s) you would be silly not to stock up. After a year in Thailand and a subsequent 6 week trip to Asia a year later, I had a pair of sunnies in almost every colour and four years later I still own a couple of pairs!
Just like the sunglasses it’s just too tempting not to fill your backpacks and suitcases with fake havaianas in every colour going! Until just last year I still owned a cute little pair of the comfiest rubber flip-flops that I totally lived in. They had a little strawberry on them that cost me 30THB – less than a pound!
Whether it’s a two colour thread bracelet hand-made by a little girl on the beach, a single white (or red) thread tied by a monk on a temple visit or a thick strap bracelet from Khao San road with some pretty crude words woven into it, chances are you had an arm full of them – topped up by a trip down the Vang Vieng River in Laos no doubt 😉 (or at least that was the case a few years ago!). These often need cutting off and it can take some time, maybe a couple of years, to part with them and except you’re not a beach bum anymore and that they look pretty dreadful and dirty now!
Perhaps one for the men but you can’t walk down the popular tourist streets of Thailand without being offered tailoring services. Some of the suits I saw were pretty good and if you wear a suit everyday to work, it’s probably worth the quality risk.
It’s pretty hard to resist the temptation of a tattoo in Thailand when they are so damn cheap, especially when you have to manoeuvre your drunken self around the tattoo parlours that stay open well into the early hours on your way home from a heavy night. A bamboo tattoo sounds pretty kool too, doesn’t it!? Even better if done by a monk or written in Thai script that you can’t understand! Somehow, I avoided the tattoo’s but my partner acquired some pretty shameful ones!
Exhaust burn scars
This is one type of tattoo I didn’t avoid. A permanent reminder on the back of my leg of how bloody hot the moped exhaust is! It’s not hard to spot Asia’s moped virgins.
A drinking straw ring
This little trick was just a cheesy way for bar men to impress the women, creating a flower ring out of a plastic straw and melting it together with a lighter. What can I say… I was impressed, so much so I kept it.
If there is one reminder of Thailand I will always cherish and one that will never fade, it’s the smile on my face when I think back to those crazy, happy times!