As a girl who has hiked through African bush and spent many weekend mornings running through the toilet-less Duke Forest, this was hardly the first time I’d done without a knee-high bowl of glittering porcelain. And yet as each plywood door of a toilet stall creaked open last weekend on my way to Malaysia and back, I cringed as I squatted toward the floor and I suddenly wished I had a penis.
Morgan and I went for our ‘visa run’ last weekend – a common trip for those wishing to stay in Thailand for longer than a tourist visa will allow. The goal: being granted non-immigrant B visas so that both Kajonkietsuksa and Satree Phuket could apply for our work permits and we could legally work in Thailand. (Technically, we’re still working on extended tourist visas.)
Despite the work-relatedness of our trip and a nasty case of bronchitis, I was excited to be crossing the border and sampling some Malaysian cuisine. The one piece of advice I had been given by visa-run veterans/work colleagues was to visit Little India, a section of Penang made up completely of roadside roti, nan and curry vendors. By any other name, my food heaven.
We did find Little India… in addition to other street vendors selling samoosas, corn fritters and fried balls of dough. Morgan did some shopping in one of the tallest malls I have seen since we’ve been in Asia and we trekked around all of George Town, Penang on Monday.
And as these trips normally go, we crossed the border and returned to Thailand in a van full of ‘interesting’ people, also having obtained non-immigrant B visas. These included: a Scotsman with the Cuban flag tattooed across both arms and his chest, an Italian pasta chef, a 20-something Australian training in muay thai boxing and two girls from London who believe the Illuminati is the driving force behind each and every world leader.