Geckos in the Toaster and other Tropical Lessons

Our amphibious friend hangs out in the kitchen sink.

Our amphibious friend hangs out in the kitchen sink.

Today is the three month anniversary of my move to Thailand, and though the experience has been an amazing one, there are a few things I wish I had known before arrival.

Confession: Living on a tropical island has never been my dream. I’m a cool weather girl, and a home on the Irish coast or a bustling European city (Bonjour Paris! More on that news soon!) is much more to my taste. But Steve and I are taking turns living the dream, and Thailand is his. So, with trepidation that I would be too hot and there would be scary creatures lurking in the neon green jungles beyond my doorstep, I packed my bags and here I am.

It is gorgeous. It is warm and tropical. It is what most people would call “paradise.” I have truly loved the experience, but here are the things that are beginning to wear on even an open-minded traveler like myself.

1. Geckos in the toaster.

Making toast has never been such an ordeal. The first time I saw a gecko peek it’s little reptilian head out of the toaster, I nearly died. I don’t usually mind geckos, as they scurry across the ceiling in their little wriggly way, but when they pop out of a heating toaster unexpectedly and the thought of toasted gecko lingers in my mind as I eat my breakfast–it is a bit much. Needless to say, we learned very quickly to cover our toaster when not in use.

2.Malevolent, multiplying mold.

Oh the mold! This is my biggest bugaboo with the tropics. The feisty green fuzz seems to sprout overnight, and everything from my favorite leather handbag to my suitcase to my clothing has succumbed. I try to take it in stride, but it is something that I will never get used to. And should I ever live in the tropics again, leather goods will most certainly NOT be accompanying me!

3. A heart attack a day.

The most recent heart attack was this week when Steve reached into the sink to wash the dishes, and pulled out a slimy black frog as big as a fist. The poor creature was traumatized, but I think Steve may have been more so. This was the third of three frogs that have sneaked their way in the house, and they are in good company with the red eyed lizard, the scurrying geckos and the armies of cockroaches. I live in a traditional Thai-style house, I tell myself, this is normal. But I still feel the safest when tucked in bed under the relative security of my mosquito net. Should a creepy crawly critter ever breach that net, I will never feel safe in the tropics again.

This foot long, red eyed  lizard likes to chill in the bathroom.

This foot long, red eyed lizard likes to chill in the bathroom.

4. Darling, what’s for dinner? Rice…again.

I am a simple eater, and I generally don’t mind eating the same foods over and over, day after day–anyone who grew up eating Mexican food feels this way. But I have reached my limit with white rice, the ubiquitous Asian staple that haunts my culinary dreams. The monthly shopping trips to the big island of Phuket assuage my cravings for cheese, pesto pasta, and Goldfish Crackers, but once our supplies dwindle, we’re back on the rice train.

Now that I only have three more weeks here, I realize how much I will miss it. Despite these four stressors, I have loved the peaceful lifestyle we’ve had in Yao Noi, and someday, I hope to return (sans leather of course.)

Living the dream. Or is it?

Living the dream. Or is it?

4 responses to “Geckos in the Toaster and other Tropical Lessons

  1. Pingback: Thailand 3 Month Anniversary…So What’s Next? | Twenty First Century Nomad·

  2. Pingback: Thailand 3 Month Anniversary…So What’s Next? | Nusantara Daily·

  3. Leslie, I love your stories … and can relate on so many levels! When we lived in Khartoum, the geckos and other lizards ruled the roost. Fortunately they were great bug eaters so they got to stay. In addition to checking the toaster, my shoes were also a popular hiding place! 🙂 Can’t wait to see what you find in India. ~Terri

    • Thanks Terri! No matter how many times I see a gecko pop out at me, I’m always startled! Luckily, I always wear flip flops, so haven’t had any problems with creatures in my shoes. Thank goodness! We’ll see what India brings!

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