I know that I may have made it seem like I’m roughing it here. The train bathroom really was a hole onto the tracks. I really have used my share of squat toilets. I also hosed myself down with cold water in a rather dusty bathroom when we visited the hill tribes. I’ll be honest though; I haven’t gone a single day without running water, electricity, or a western toilet. I’ve barely gone a day without air conditioning and hot water. Our room at the “hostel” in Chiang Mai was bigger than my dorm room last year, and it had its own bathroom, and wireless internet. The hotel before that in Bangkok was nicer than most of the hotels I’ve stayed at with my family (not that we’re exactly five star travelers). The point is, if you were picturing me sleeping under a mosquito net in a hut with dirt floors, that would be a misconception.
But now we’re in Nong Khai. And my bathroom has no sink. Technically there is running water, from the shower that hangs on the wall, but the squat toilet is flushed with a bucket. There is a mosquito net that serves a very important purpose. For the first time, I’m using my 98% DEET bug repellent. I chose this. I could’ve had air conditioning, and a sink, and internet access. But that would mean I wouldn’t be right on the Maekong River. I wouldn’t get to lounge under tiki-like huts in the tropical courtyard. I wouldn’t get to feel so impressed with myself for brushing my teeth using the shower head and spitting in the “toilet.”
I’m still not sleeping on the floor. I’m still able to shower every day. There is still internet access just down the road. It’s harder than you’d think to get to the middle of nowhere. A big part of me is glad I haven’t found it.
Update: I wrote this last night, and today we were upgraded to the second nicest room in the guest house. Oh well, I guess I’m just meant to live comfortably a bit longer.