There are things that I wish I knew before I moved here. And yeah, I know, it is better to experience things on your own, but trust me, for some things you need a guide on how to survive in Asia.
1. “A little” spicy means “train the dragon within you”
If you are a non-spicy-eater like me and your waiter is telling you that your food it’s going to be a little spicy, you should order a gallon of water too. They categorize spiciness differently from us. I bet they can eat hot charcoal with no problem and say it is a little hot.
2. The drinks are too sweet
The gastronomy here is at its extremes; if the food is really spicy the drinks will be really sweet too. Just ask without any sugar, by default, when you order a drink. Don’t worry, it will still be sweet, but not as much as giving you diabetes, from the first glass.
3. Using only the fork and a spoon
You’ll get used to utilize only the fork and the spoon for everything that you eat, for example the soup, by pulling the noodles onto the spoon with the fork or to cut the fried chicken with the edge of the spoon. It’s an art. 😉
4. Use only the right hand
Here, people assigned different tasks to their hands, and the left one got the shitty ones, literally. They use only the right hand, when they eat the food directly with their hand and, also when they give something to somebody, as a sign of respect. The left hand is considered dirty because they use it when they go to the bathroom.
I have a question: do they know that hands do meet during the day?
5. No tissue for your issues, at the bathroom
Buut they have a little hose, on the floor, next to the toilet. And yes, you guessed right, here the left hand comes in, to do the job. They say is more hygienic than the paper. Ok?!?
6. You should always have a jacket on you
SE Asia is hot, like really hot so, the people here like cold, really cold. The AC is set to 16 degrees Celcius, at all times. It’s above my understanding why does it have to be this cold. First time I traveled with the metro I thought I’m going back in time, to ice age. I’ve learned my lesson, now I carry all the time a jacket or a sleeping bag if I have to sleep on a night bus.
My relationship with Asia is not a dull one. Every day it surprises me with something: weird traditions, bean candies or a romantic dinner on the highway, between cars. It’s a true love story.