If you’re squeamish, or prudish, or both, please skip this post, since I’ll be talking some about bodily functions.
Friends will know that I’ve been fastidious to the point of pathology about diet. It’s all part of an attempt to slow down, and maybe even wind back a little, the march of time. Not to mention repairing some damage from the, er, Prodigal Years.
It started with a stint of ( fish- and shellfish-eating ) Veganism, but then I re-discovered running as a sport, and found the two didn’t mix. It took a long time to get even close to right, but the last coupla few months I’ve been on something like a ‘primal’ diet. Things were improving.
Then I came to Thailand. The second day here, I started spraying the toilet bowl. Along with that, my Resting Heart Rate ( RHR ), shot up to the 70s from the usual 54 – 59. Clearly something was awry.
Three possible causes;
- The stress of travel
- The spicy food
- Unclean water
I think it was probably a combination of mostly the last and the first. Although once the rot had set in, no doubt the middle one didn’t help.
The spraying continued from May 9 until about two days ago ( May 24 ) , when I finally passed something solid.
I told a co-teacher, an impossibly charming Italian named Edoardo, who teaches French. He smiled and gave me the Gallic Shrug – “Welcome to Thailand”. Seems it’s pretty standard.
These Thais are to blame. They regale visitors with roadside food stalls, maybe a half-dozen and more within a 100m stretch at busy times, all with delicious ( spicey ) fare. A keen gourmand ( ok, pig ) just can’t help himself. Like a cat in a sardine factory, I was probably eating too much.
When I reverted to high fat, moderate protein, low carbs, things started to come right. Lots of eggs, and very minimal spice helped. I mimed my situation to stall owners by rubbing my belly with a pained expression and saying ‘no spice’. I found stalls, and hotels, which will brew up ten or a dozen hard-boiled eggs at once for 10 baht ( ~= 45 cents ) each. Again, that took a bit of miming and a bit of Google Translate. I found a stall ( which also has a covered eating area, maybe 10 tables ), where I could hear roosters crowing out back.
I also found that – probably because of a pretty good diet before arriving – I could easily, and with good results, fast between around 7 pm, and 10 – 11 am the next day.
Then yesterday I visited Makro market .
This is a huge bulk barn, with such delectables as brie and goat feta cheese, which are impossible to find elsewhere in Rayong. I didn’t get much past the door before succumbing to a dish of battered ( spicy ) home-made fish-cakes. Delicious ( I quaffed the entire half-dozen ), but no doubt cooked with crap oil, and definitely spicy. Two hours later, back spraying.
On that subject, other favourites that are hard to find and / or expensive in Thailand – nuts, especially macadamias, brazils, and almonds. Good cocoa. Most cheese / dairy. Broccoli , brussels sprouts. Mussels. Favourites which are cheap / everywhere here – eggs, fish, mustard greens, mushrooms.
So it’s a balancing act between enjoying what Thailand has to offer ( occasional three-roadside stall dinners ), and taking good care of the gut. Why come to Thailand, and eat the same as home? But why be ill?
I’m starting to get it right.