Khao Sok – A Rumble in the Jungle
A stomach rumble, that is.
Before leaving to travel, Dmitry and I both read the indispensable “How to Shit Around the World.” The author (who is a world-traveling doctor) spends a good portion of the book describing every possible malady you can get from eating (did you know that armadillos carry leprosy? Or that some freshwater fish/ frogs can give you brain worms?), and the rest discussing how to avoid those maladies. There is more to it than just this, but the primary advice is: whatever you eat, make sure it (a) has been cooked well and (b) is served piping hot. One of our final mornings in Bangkok, we decided to branch out from our usual breakfast of street omelet and sit down try a traditional Thai breakfast of rice soup with many different toppings that could be added. We picked almost at random and ended up with two kinds of fish, some greens, and what I think were sea snails.
The rice soup itself was piping hot, but the toppings were not. As we ate, we looked at each other and discussed whether this would be “THE meal.” It was not.
Instead, the meal came on a bus to Khao Sok National Park – a giant swath of jungle surrounding a man-made lake in southern Thailand. After our rainy pre-dawn ride to catch a train in Chumphon, Dmitry was grabbing a mango (peeled fruit, okayed by The Book) for a snack and made the fatal decision to also get a piece of fried chicken. The chicken was distinctly not piping hot, and it was also the only food item that we didn’t share that day. A few hours later, Dmitry was feeling very grateful for an en suite bathroom and even more convinced of the wisdom of The Book. [Dmitry: The chicken was delicious! I regret nothing! Except for the past 7-8 days. Follow. The. Book.]
We didn’t let it ruin our jungle time though – we went canoeing, hung out on the verandah of our jungle bungalow, and took a daylong tour/ hike into a water-filled cave.
Nor was Dmitry the only one who did something stupid/ injured himself: I took a massive spill inside the cave and sliced open my entire right palm on a rock. I told Dmitry that I just wanted to learn “hand-carving.” Get it?
And, in case you are worried, both of us are now fully healed – thank goodness (and our first aid kit)!