Friday, 16 May 2008

Time to Leave Thailand...

We’re back in Australia now. It was fun to go and play for a while in Thailand...we also found some aspects of being there a little challenging though – primarily the pollution factor...from car fumes to pesticides to litter, it felt a bit full-on for us... Here are some of my recent observations about life in Thailand:

1. In general, Thai people seem to me to be happy, relaxed, smiley, kind, generous and content. Indeed, enjoyment seems very embedded in the national psyche. One of the guiding principles of Thai culture is ‘sanook’ or ‘fun’ – if smthg is not ‘sanook’, there’s not really any point doing it ;) LOL – love it ;) People ensure to enjoy themselves together wherever they are – even at ‘work’ ;) – this is a nation who seems at some level to really get the idea of enjoying our time here...they could be thought of as a very heart-centred people in this regard...

2. ‘Tis a country where the bathrooms are generally very...wet ;) LOL...they seem to take the term ‘water closet’ literally and the whole bathrooms are usually like ‘wet rooms’, tiled throughout and quite often with no shower curtain or anything to separate off a bathing area – everything just kind of merges into one big sloshy fun room ;) I like it. Having grown up in England, where even the bathrooms obscurely tend to be carpeted, this is a refreshing alternative to me. ‘Tis also a country where I tend to shower a lot – at least once a day and sometimes up to 3 times a day. It’s very hot and humid and while I love sweating, I don’t like feeling sweaty for extended periods – I think that’s a throw-back from my obese days, when being hot and sweaty felt very uncomfortable to me...

on May the 14th I had:

1 quart water
2 cups INTENSE veggie juice (cabbage, celery, cucumber, cilantro, carrot)
water of 3 young coconuts with another quart of intense veggie juice
big bag of rambutan
3 dragon fruit
1 quart water
½ a fresh pineapple
½ a fresh durian
1 quart water

3. People tend to travel by motorbikes/scooters. They seem VERY skilled at riding them and very few people seem to wear helmets. It’s not uncommon to see people riding along on a motorbike while sending a text message (SMS) on their phone, carrying cardboard boxes, holding their babies and so on ;) Very young children routinely travel on the bikes and many speed past with 2 or 3 tots on board... It’s pretty remarkable to observe, for us. They seem to start learning to ride them very young too – a few days ago we saw an absolutely classic sight. A Thai girl who looked literally about 9 years old rode past us on a big black motorbike, pulled up at the side of the playground, then excitedly ran with her arms flailing towards the playground toys, where she sat and played. LOL...nobody batted an eyelid, while we mused on the fact that if a similar scene were played out in the US/UK, the parents would most likely end up arrested or smthg ;)

4. While we’re on the subject of children, I’d love to mention the distinct lack of strollers/pushchairs/prams in Thailand. I literally didn’t see a single one there, or any of the assorted baby-related paraphernalia that tend to go with them (except the packaged milk powders ;). Thai people carry their babies and when they’re old enough, they walk. I appreciate this simplicity. It also seems like it would be very challenging to even try to use a stroller/push-chair there if you wanted to – the kerbs are often VERY high off the road – up to a foot or more off the road – not very conducive to pushing baby strollers around... (BTW, there is a WONDERFUL book on the benefits of carrying babies, called ‘The Continuum Concept’.)

on May the 15th I had:

1 quart water
plate of fresh fruit: papaya, pineapple, rambutan, mangosteen, banana
water of 2 young coconuts with wheatgrass powder
amazing raw food restaurant feast at Rasayana in Bangkok – platter of taco cups, raw lasagne, raw pizza, pesto pasta, followed by banana ice cream with amazing macadamia/carob wafers
1 quart water
water of 2 young coconuts and 8oz carrot juice
2 divine mangoes
1 quart water

on May the 16th I had:

2 quarts water
1 cherimoya, 1 persimmon
2 cups water
romaine wraps stuffed with avocado, alfalfa sprouts & karengo seaweed, with some gorgeous macadamia/flax crackers on the side
1 quart water
3 little persimmons
1 pint water

5. One thing I find very challenging about life in Thailand is the pollution. It is shocking to me. As I mentioned before, the Thai culture seems mid-way somehow between ‘tradition’/old ways and haphazardly embracing aspects of a more ‘western’ lifestyle, with an apparent emphasis on...plastic and pesticides (see below for more on pesticides). Litter is abundant in most places, streams and rivers bubble with untold chemical concoctions and the streets are hazy with petrol fumes (so much so that we actually bought face masks to walk around in and Mr Monarch is of the opinion that the last 3 weeks in Thailand have aged him a couple of years ;O ). In many ways, this country is like a potential paradise (beaches, warmth, exotic fruit, coconuts, elephants, friendly people, inexpensive, etc), then not far underneath that surface, there is a much murkier reality. It’s like they’ve taken on different aspects from the ‘west’, yet managing those things doesn’t quite seem to flow well...or maybe they’re just not as adept at hiding it as other countries ;) People in western countries often speak of ‘throwing things away’, raising the question of ‘where is ‘away’?’, while in Thailand one almost gets the impression they don’t even bother to make landfills/other solutions to manage all the rubbish that’s generated from the packaged foods – people just drop it where they are – ‘away’ is...well, right here actually...imagine how abundant the soil everywhere would be if all those dropped items were fresh food scraps instead ;)

6. On the subject of fresh foods, pesticides and other poisons are a major issue in the Thai food chain. Some of you have been writing in asking why we’ve not been eating any veggies lately. Well, that’s’s VERY challenging to find anything organic, so anything we’ve been eating tends to be smthg with a thick skin, so that we’re at least hopefully limiting our exposure to toxins. We were very blessed to have access to amazing organic veggies at the health spa where we stayed on Koh Chang – hence we were drinking veggie juices daily and eating veg-meals there. However, most of the time it seems wiser to focus on thick-skinned fruits and coconuts, though having said that, we hear that many people inject durians in Thailand with all kinds of toxins, as well as picking them before they’re ripe and dunking them in Sodium Dioxide to get them to ripen quicker – eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek... Fortunately a friend who used to live in Thailand advised us to ask vendors in Thai for ‘durian ban’ – smthg like ‘wild durian’. These are smaller, rounder fruits that usually haven’t been meddled with as much. We hear that organic farming is starting to be more common in the north of Thailand now, in the Chiang Mai area, which is encouraging... ;)

I’m definitely gonna miss the coconuts – love, love, LOVE having fresh coconuts every day, they feel soooooooo good to me...and all the fruit was fun...and the elephants... ;) We’ll have another video ready sometime soon hopefully concluding our adventures there...for now, bye-bye Thailand and thank you :)

One love,
Angela. xxx


  1. WOW! What an amazing journey! Thank you for sharing your adventures. Since I've only just 'discovered' raw reform, I'll have to go back and read your past blogs.

    Gypsy Queen

  2. I remember traveling from the airport my first day in Bangkok and seeing a motorbike with a dad and his daughter who was probably around eight. She had clearly just gotten out of school, as it was that time of day and she was in her uniform. She had her arms around him and she was ASLEEP. Asleep, going 60+ mph, on a motorbike in the crazy crazy Bangkok traffic. I'll never forget that.

  3. Interesting observation about the lack of baby stuff! I read the Continuum Concept and am very much opposed to the American way of raising our children, or should I say micro-managing their lives and simultaneously neglecting their basic needs? :) So you are into this natural parenting stuff... does that mean you want to get pregnant soon?? :) I am pregnant with my second, doing UP and UC, and eating mostly raw vegan! See my blog on the link.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's very informative. I love to read it and do hope to read your next story.