Subject: Re: Thailand
Hi Rosemary,

I was there as a guest of a family for 3 weeks in 1992. I did not stay at hotels or spend time with Americans. Be prepared to carry toilet paper. Drink only bottled water. You will probably be bathing in cool water. Most places do not have water heaters. Those little bottles of waterless handsoap would be a help.

Yes, it is very hot and humid all year round. Remember that it is a third world country if you are away from hotels and especially the city. You will learn a lot about other cultures. If you have ever been in Japan, you will undoubtedly know about Eastern toilets. They are porcelain fixtures set into the floor or ground and you stand on what we would consider the rim. Actually, I grew quite fond of them in 3 weeks and chose them over western style on the return trip where there was a choice. Usually they don't flush. There may be a large open vat next to them where you use a dipper, like a saucepan, to dip out water for a manual flush.

If you want to see the temple in Bangkok, you need a skirt, but there is usually someone selling them for about $2. All in all, it is a very different culture, but look at it as a great adventure. The people are absolutely wonderful and will try to communicate with you. Learn a few words. It truly is the land of smiling faces. The people are the best.

Oh yes, gays are accepted and you will see men walking hand-in-hand with no notice from others. Of course, there is a high incidence of AIDS. They have to be tested before they can enter the USA, or at least go to school here. I don't think it is required, but I got hepatitus shots and malaria pills for my trip, just as a safeguard. The 3 top diseases there are Hep A, Hep B, and Malaria. I realize that this sounds negative, but these are things that will not surprise you now. I am about ready to return, but this time I will go as a tourist and see the other side of the street.

Regards, Diana