So you guys remember that time I was in Germany and I ate a tomato?
Well, I’m about to top it. Are you ready?
I KNOW, THIS SHIT IS CRAZY, RIGHT?
It was stuck in the middle of this awesome eggs benedict I got for breakfast, and (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) it looked a little tasty.
…or at least it looked not-disgusting enough to eat without immediately throwing it back up. So I figured, since I’m doing all these other scary things (i.e., going on this trip without freezing my eggs first), might as well jump off the cliff and tackle the thing that scares me most.
And I since I paid a full $5 for this breakfast (that’s like a million dollars in Thailand), I thought I should probably at least maybe give it a try. Cuz who knows, right? Last time I tried something I thought was disgusting, I basically had an orgasm*. And – ya know – it’s been a while…. sooooooo…
*I’m referring to the tomato post, in case you didn’t click the link before. CLICK MY LINKS**, Y’ALL.
**That is not*** a euphemism.
***Although I wish it was.
Sadly, this story ends a little differently than the last one. I definitely did NOT have an orgasm. And while I didn’t throw up either, I do totally regret it. There are still about 6 tiny pimples floating around in my mouth, a week later.
This continuous horror might be why, when my new friend Vini shoved a fried cricket in my face a couple days ago and demanded I eat it, I went all Linda Blair on him.
He’s of the philosophy that people should do all the things they’re afraid of, and that if I just closed my eyes and pretended the cricket was a BBQ Frito, I wouldn’t even realize that I’m eating the thing that I’ve been literally running away from for my entire life. What I think he doesn’t understand is that a BBQ Frito is maybe the greatest food on the planet, and a cricket is a bug.
A bug has a head, and that head resembles a corn, and I don’t eat corn.
THIS IS BASIC LOGIC, PEOPLE.
Before you point out that Fritos are made from corn, I AM AWARE, SMARTASS. But it’s totally not the same, because the corn in a Frito has been ground up and made into a cute curly shape and then deep fried and coated with delicious BBQ-flavored carcinogens. If that’s how they served bugs, I might consider eating them, too.
They don’t serve bugs like that, though. They serve them like this:
Sometimes they try to make bugs look cute and tasty. I think these are marketed for kids:
Maybe they add some seasoning, and they’re probably deep-fried or freeze-dried or chocolate-coated or something, I don’t know. But in the end, it’s still a bag full of bugs with little heads and faces, and there is no question of what you’re eating.
Bugs, bro. You’re eating bugs.
Noooo, thank you. There are many things I will put in my mouth* in the name of adventure, but this is a hard line for me.
*That was for you, Dad**.
**Just re-read this before publishing and realized how incesty that sounded. I don’t have some weird thing going on with my Dad. He’s just sorta pervy (in a sweet, non-threatening, sit-on-my-lap*** kind of way) and he gets really proud when I make dirty jokes on my blog.
***I used ”sit-on-my-lap” as a descriptor for my Dad because his name is Santa Claus, not because he randomly tells people to sit on his lap****.
****I think I might be digging a hole here. Back to bugs.
Anyways, that night when Vini shoved the cricket in my face, he took my violently adamant refusal to eat it as politeness of the “No, no, I couldn’t” variety, and he kept on and kept on and eventually threatened, playfully, to hold me down and mouth-rape me with a handful of bugs, so I screamed in his face, “TRY IT, AND YOU MAY END UP WITH A CRUCIFIX IN YOUR VAGINA.”
Not really, I didn’t say that (although I wish I had – that would’ve been awesome). What I did say was much, much worse. I said this:
“VINI.” (I said this really slow and deliberate-like.) “VINI. IF YOU TOUCH ME WITH THAT CRICKET, I WILL NEVER SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN. EVER.”
…Which is apparently one of the very worst things you can say to an Indian*.
*He’s Indian – did I mention that? It’s about to be important.
He was SUPER upset about it and there was more screaming and I think some crying, and we had to have a big talk about it the next day, I’m not even joking.
It was in that conversation that I learned that this kind of interaction – the one with the bug – is actually an unspoken mandatory courtesy where he’s from. It usually goes something like this:
Indian Person 1: “Do you want this thing I’m offering you?”
Indian Person 2: “No, thank you.”
Indian Person 1: “I insist, accept the thing.”
Indian Person 2: “No, really, I don’t want it.”
Indian Person 1: “Take it.”
Indian Person 2: “Seriously, no.”
Indian Person 1: “Fucking take this thing I’m trying to give you or I’ll mouth-rape you with a whole handful of these things, take it, take it, take it, take it, take it, take it.”
Indian Person 2: “Wow, thanks so much! I’m really gonna enjoy this thing you gave me, mmmm, so good!”
According to Vini, you must say no at least 3 times before you can say yes, and you eventually have to say yes or you’re an asshole. I grew up in Texas, so I’m familiar with the concept, but down there, this usually happens with pie, which is okay with me, cuz who doesn’t always want pie?
Unless it’s the kind with that big blob of merengue on top. Shit is nasty, sorry Gramma.
We sorted things out and now everything’s fine. Vini agreed to honor my “very American ‘No Means No’ rudeness” and I agreed not to say I would never speak to him again unless I really, really* meant it.
*For the record, I really, really meant it that night, but I’m not gonna belabor the point.
I also learned that hyperbole and sarcasm pretty much only work with other Americans. Which totally sucks for me, because hyperbole and sarcasm constitute about 90% of the things I say, and Americans only make up about .5% of the people I interact with. So basically I’ve been trotting around the globe insulting people for the past 5 months and had no idea. Preeeetty awesome.
These are the kinds of cultural differences I’m constantly navigating over here – it’s totally confusing.
Is it rude to say “Hold the grubs” when I order at a restaurant? I don’t know.
…Not that I know how to say that anyways. When you don’t know a lick of Thai, and the person making your food doesn’t know a lick of English, it’s basically impossible to communicate your Very Specific and Important Dietary Preferences. I’ve been here a month and can barely say “Thank you.” No surprise that “PLEASE NO ANTS IN MY OMELETTE” is a phrase that has also eluded me.
Luckily, Thai people – while weird eaters – are also very nice, and they know whities like me aren’t super fond of testicles or crickets or fully-in-tact chicken entrails mixed in with their lunch. I walk up to a cart and they pretty much immediately whip up the blandest food they know how to cook and toss it on a plate.
I was a little miffed about this at first because I wanted this super authentic experience everyone imagines they’ll have when they go to a foreign country. But then I realized a) their snap judgment about me has probably allowed for successful avoidance of eyeball consumption, and b) even the blandest food these people cook is FRRRREEEAKING DELICIOUS.
OH, AND DID I MENTION IT’S LIKE $1 A MEAL?
Yeah. It is. A dollar. For a whole a meal, y’all.
So even if you end up with a bowl full of tiny sea roaches (this is the garnish of choice here, wtf), you can just ask for a doggie bag, and then head down the block and get something else.
And honestly, the thing you should really be worrying about is the way they wash dishes.
Aaaaaand that dog-sized cockroach you’re sharing a table with.
(I decided to put a picture of my Dad in his Santa suit here instead of a dog-sized cockroach because there are already too many gross pictures in this post. Also the world just needs to see this.)
Baby corn and sea-roaches (and dog-roaches) aside, I haven’t had a single meal here that didn’t give me some seriously dirty thoughts. For example, this yellow curry elicited a way bigger orgasm than that tomato I ate in Dresden.
It was GOOD, y’all.
But here’s another thing I’ve learned: You gotta keep your orgasms under wraps when you’re in public, cuz Thai people aren’t big on PDA. I know this because there was a sign about it posted directly above my table in the restaurant where I ate that yellow curry.
The irony is, I was totally having an orgasm when I noticed the sign telling me not to have an orgasm.
Too late, sorry Thai people.
Also it’s your fault anyways. Stop making your food so good and I’ll stop having orgasms in your restaurants. Can we make that deal? You and me will be like me and Vini, agreeing to stop doing things that are deeply embedded in us. (Look at me, breaking down cultural barriers left and right, BAM, BLAM, ZOWIE!)
I just realized that if you stop making your food so good, all I’ll be left with is bugs and baby corn. And this sacrilege:
So that would me no good food and no orgasms…
THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA.
Okay, I take it back, Thailand. Please continue making good food. I will keep my orgasms to a minimum, especially at restaurants. You can keep serving bugs, as long as they’re clearly distinguishable from other (real) foods and not anywhere near my plate or my body. You can even keep your baby corn, because that’s easy to pick out and hide under a napkin.
But listen. Even though I got all brave a couple times with eating new stuff, don’t get any crazy ideas about offering me your other weirdness, especially in that Indian way, AND MOST ESPECIALLY THOSE FUCKING CORN CUPS, GROSS.
I mean, unless, of course, you want a crucifix in your vagina. Then by all means, go for it.