You Decide – Thailand, India or France?

Reader, I invite your participation in this debate.

So I’m holed up in a hotel room nursing a cold I got from sleeping outdoors in a tent during a thunderstorm. Low point on the trip, but a good time to reflect.

I meet many single-country enthusiasts out here on the road.  Some people “love” Thailand.  India “changed” other people’s “lives”.  And others still “adore” France.  But which country really does this whole life thing better?  I put this question to you, dear read, while I present you with only with the facts (and some pictures I’ve been meaning to post):

Guys & Gals

Thailand India France
men avoid eye contact with foreign women stare creepily at foreign women flirt outrageously with foreign women on any occasion
men’s looks strangely effeminate in highwater pants strangely effeminate in dark polyester pants strangely effeminate in speedos
size of women short and tiny through genetics short and tiny through poverty, until childbirth short and tiny before and after childbirth, due to grim determination
dress of women don’t show cleavage, okay to show ankles bling out, but show neither cleavage or ankles wear a lot of black, occasionally take off your top so we can see your boobs
raining men in panjim, goa

Family Life

Thailand India France
women’s roles you can get an education but you must become a nurse you can get an education but don’t be late with dinner you can get an education but don’t get fat
marriage young and fast young and arranged live together for ten years and have a child then maybe get married
children in uniform marching to school in work gangs on the side of the road breaking rocks in public parks after dark, loitering and tagging buildings
the bucolic french country side with its small family farms (50% owned by british pensioners)

Nationalism

Thailand India France
history long and storied reaaaaly long and storied fuck the brits and fuck the germans
attitude toward foreigners you’ll never be one of us, but we will be polite to you as you spend your money so, what part of India did you say you were from, again? it’s really annoying to us that you came here at all
civil society unifying non-existent always on the edge of rebellion
the state creepy, nearly fascist devotion to king and progress near chaos crushing bureaucracy, closed for 2 hours at lunch
the amber palace in jaipur, big pimping rajastani-prince-of-the-1400s style
hampi, india – 13th century 26sq km city nobody even remembers

Food

Thailand India France
breakfast rice porridge dosa cigarettes and coffee
lunch curry noodles chapati kebab
dinner one pot stew and rice 7 different veggie carbs  with tons of rice (in the south) or bread (in the north) at least three courses of very small portioned, fatty animal proteins on a bed of lettuce
condiments ground peanuts and hot sauce chutney and hot sauce mustard and hot sauce
butter on nothing all over everything, including your body all over your bread and meat
rajastani thali, the king of thalis
very cute montpellier, but where’s the rest of my food?

Daily Life

Thailand India France
water drink from the tap in some select cities drink from the tap at your fucking peril you can drink from the tap all the time, but we prefer to buy fancy water for $5 a bottle
weather africa hot africa hot sometimes surprisingly africa hot
service bowing scraping all but spitting in your food
garbage if no one is looking, throw it on the street throw it on the street, who cares who’s looking? throw it on the street, but we’ll have overpaid civil servants come pick it up in the morning
bathrooms squat or sometimes sit squat with your eyes closed, never ever sit sit, but use this bowl brush to clean up after yourself, what do you think this is, a hotel? (but it is a hotel . . .)
carcassone city residents “we just live in this old castle”
bangkok malls are big and scary

Religion

Thailand India France
faith quietly devout loudly devout and sometimes violently sectarian nominally observant
churches over the top over the top over the top
sacre coeur, paris

Fun and Games

Thailand India France
drinking no one does it men do it men, women and children do it, a bottle of wine a day
sex prim and proper, with pockets of extreme freakiness prim and proper, with pockets of naughty texting sex toys for sale in the supermarket, lingerie shops in the central square
wifi everywhere there would be wifi, except the power goes in and out all the time we’re too well bred to give you unlimited wifi access
giving directions “i’ll show you on the map” (in perfect english) “go straight” “go straight to hell”
pop music horrible techno horrible techno horrible techno
downtime in koh phangan
downtime south of france


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