Asia Travel

I’m Gonna Take My Horse Down to Khao San Road

Tainted ice ruins an otherwise perfect day

I didn’t want to write another shit story since it’s not exactly compelling content. But honesty is key when you’re writing and this is reality when you subject your immune system to a foreign country’s bacteria. This story is about more than pooping, it’s about learning.

After drinking enough Red Bull to kill a horse on my first night, I woke up with a raging hangover. Not a “head pounding I can’t get up” hangover but a “heart palpitations and crippling anxiety” hangover. Red Bull/Vodka hangovers rank in the top 4 among worst hangovers you can experience. Right behind “40 oz. hangover” and right above “Burnett’s shots hangover”.

Its more the energy drinks than the alcohol that poison your body and put you on the brink of death. Day 2 was basically a wash except for an oil massage that I got which was barely enjoyable because I was still uncomfortably energetic from the night before.

I vowed to be more responsible. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Going out the first night to make friends was justifiable but this couldn’t be the norm. I’m proud to say that I stuck to it (for the most part), and that alcohol wasn’t my butthole’s ultimate undoing this time around.

Snakes and Muay Thai Brutality

Recovered and working on 12 hours of sleep, I was full of piss and vinegar on day 3. I got up early, went to the snake farm and watched a bunch of psychos antagonize a King Cobra, explored downtown for lunch, then took a taxi to go see the Muay Thai fights at Lumpinee Stadium. An action packed day that had me feeling exhausted but fulfilled. I was proud of myself for rebounding so quickly.

I could describe the snake farm but this video pretty much sums it up.

I wish I spoke Thai so I knew what the head trainer was telling his protege. “Yeah, keep your boot in his face, really piss him off, just keep provoking him and let’s see what happens.”

I took a taxi to Lumpinee stadium which took an extra hour because in Bangkok rush hour is every hour. I met a guy from New Zealand and we proceeded to destroy a 12 pack of Singha during the fights and ended up bonding over our shared love for comedy. I’m glad he was there because watching that fight alone would’ve been depressing.

I saw 9 fights ringside for 1,800 baht and literally heard a man get his ribs broken. There were no ring entrances, no pomp and circumstance, just men that were tough as coffin nails beating the living shit out of each other; and a local crowd screaming in joy after every blow.

I got back home drunk and talkative so I ended up befriending this group of young brits who somehow convinced me to go to Khao San Road. I wanted to say no, I had just regained my sanity, but I’m only here once. One drink and I’m out.

This Place is a Nightmare

I hated Khao San Road the second I got there. It’s a seedy, dirty, disgusting street filled to the brim with even seedier vendors shoving nitrous balloons in your face and aggressively selling you on ping pong shows where you see a victim of human trafficking shoot ping pong balls out of her cunt. I just don’t see the appeal.

I put on a smile and pretended not to be the lame older man who wanted desperately to go home. We wandered around these clubs filled with blackout drunk eurotrash tourists throwing money at overpriced garbage. I had my dick grabbed at least 2 times by the ladyboys on the street looking for sex. Flattering but not my thing.

The night was mostly uneventful despite our surroundings. I sucked down some nitrous balloons and stuck to the promise I made to myself, having only one drink at the bar. Unfortunately, that drink was a bucket filled with rum, sprite, and ice. The fucking ice. A rookie mistake. I didn’t take into account that the ice came from the same tap water that I had been avoiding because it’s basically like drinking diarrhea. I was warned by so many people, but Khao San Road caught me slippin.

I got home at a decent hour and got some sleep. As I laid peacefully watching Netflix, the bacteria from the ice started liquifying my bowels.

Shitter Me Timbers

I saw this on the way to my cooking class. You and me both buddy.

I wake up late but feeling…OK. There’s definitely something off but I’m late so I ignore it. I rush to get ready and get a cab to Chef Leez Cooking School that’s 45 minutes away (highly recommend it). I’m even later because I lost my keys to my padlock and couldn’t access my stuff. Luckily the front desk had bolt cutters so I got it off quickly, grabbed my stuff and ran out the door. Maybe luck is on my side today.

Luck

I didn’t account for traffic (again) so the ride takes twice the amount of time that I anticipated and I’m an hour late to class. I figured I would catch the latter half but was relieved when the rest of the class was as late as I was. And by rest of the class I mean a gay couple from New York. I thought this would be like 20+ people but nope, just me third wheeling with these dudes.

As I’m waiting for them to show up, the ice starts taking effect. I found it weird I hadn’t shit earlier that morning but finally got the urge so I decided to clear the tank before ingesting the 12 course meal. I went to the bathroom and shot pure liquid out of my anus like a firehose. I almost cracked the porcelain. It sounded like I was squeezing a water bottle into the bowl.

The class was my favorite thing I did in Bangkok and the food was the best I had in the city. But like clockwork, after every course I would go back to this poor woman’s bathroom and fill it to the brim with diarrhea. My asshole was basically a fountain soda dispenser. God damn ice, god damn you to hell.

It looked about the same coming out

I heard the gay couple and chef Leez laughing at me every time I sat on the toilet as my asshole did its best super soaker impression. She was legitimately concerned and gave me some charcoal pills to help calm my stomach. I ate about 5 of them. I figured it was like pouring sand onto an oil spill, hopefully it would thicken the mixture. It didn’t.

I was more annoyed than anything. Here I was enjoying a life-changing homemade thai meal in this woman’s kitchen and how do I repay her? By ruining her bathroom. She said it was fine but I’m almost positive she hated me. At least the food was absolute bliss, my diarrhea couldn’t ruin that.

As the class neared the end I shuddered at the thought of another traffic filled cab ride. Whoever was driving me was definitely getting poop on their seat. The predicament filled me with anxiety.

The Race Against Time

Chef Leez suggested that we take the ferry instead of a cab which would shave 45 minutes off the trip. It’s a water taxi but you cut straight through the city and it takes about 30 minutes. It was the best chance I had. OK asshole, you only have 30 minutes, keep your shit together. I put some guided meditation on my headphones and try to concentrate on anything other than the leaky dam that is my clenched anus trying to stop the flow diarrhea.

I’m sweating, a lot. So much so that a local man who was sitting next to me looked at me nervously and eventually moved seats. I’m focusing every ounce of mental and physical strength I have to my sphincter. I repeated positive affirmations over and over, “I will make it”, “I will not have poop in my pants today”.

We get to our stop and I almost fall into the river trying to get off the boat. My body tells me I have about 8 minutes until I turn my $90 Prana travel pants into some expensive toilet paper. The hostel is 9 minutes away, this is going to be a photo finish.

I have tunnel vision, my hearing is muffled, I’ve never been more focused on anything in my life. If I could translate that focus into anything I would be one of the most successful people on Earth.

I make it to the hostel bathroom and unleash hell. I wanted to cheer because I was so relieved but quickly realized that giving myself a pat on the back for not pooping my pants is an accolade usually reserved for 3 year olds. Still, it’s the little victories in life that you need to celebrate.

Skid Mark of a Champion

I remained shit free and spent the next 12 hours running out of things to read on my phone because I was stuck on the toilet. My pooper was a leaky faucet for about 24 hours and I ate antibiotics and immodium like M&Ms until I felt solid again.

There’s an important lesson in here about your gut biome and how disrupting it with foreign bacteria, no matter how careful you are, will cause issues. If it hadn’t been the ice, I’m sure it would have been something else. It’s best just to get it out of the way up front, take your lumps and move on a stronger person. I’m glad it happened this quickly instead of in a more rural area otherwise this would have been a much darker experience.

And I didn’t let this break me, or stop me from doing what I planned to do. I learned to roll with the punches on this trip almost immediately after I had to book a flight literally at the Air Asia counter in Honolulu. They wouldn’t let me leave without a ticket out of Thailand. I was stressed almost immediately but also stopped worrying because this was going to be the norm for the most part. Unpredictability whether it be with travel plans or bowel movements seems to be a central theme when traveling through Asia.

I’m solid once again and ready to get even riskier when it comes to food. But not ice, I think I’m done with ice for a while.

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