A Retiring Attitude

 |  July 29, 2010

When one of my friends from back home asked me what the biggest difference living in a tropical climate was, I answered that in the tropics every living organism is either doing one of two things. They are looking for stuff to eat or they are trying to avoid being eaten. I sometimes feel like I am losing that second battle.

One of the things that newcomers to the tropics will have to deal with, things that most of the guidebooks neglect to tell you, is the fact that there are creatures here trying to eat you. No, not sharks, or crocodiles, or tigers, but creatures lots smaller.

Now I love eating mushrooms, especially the Thai straw mushrooms, some of the best in the world. But mushrooms are fungi and as it turns out, there are lots of mushrooms that are looking to eat us. A friend (Note: I say a ‘friend’ but you know who I’m really talking about, right?) went to a skin specialist with a serious itching problem in the groin area. He thought that maybe it was one of those Dr. House TV diseases. He wondered if he would need an MRI or a biopsy. The doctor took one look and said, “You can pull up your pants now. You have ringworm. Here take this.”

A diagnosis of ringworm back home and you’d have to hide in shame like Tiger Woods. Here, it’s more common than the sniffles. Besides the ringworms, there are other itchy fungi trying to eat us. These include the ever pleasant jock itch and the amusing athlete’s foot, and those nameless white skin splotches.

Then there are the things with legs. There are three creatures which will become extinct right after people are gone from the Earth, body, head, and genital lice. I’d put scabies, and those mites that live on the base of our eye lashes in that same category. But all are still flourishing right here in the Land of Smiles. When I first came to Thailand, the Peace Corps gave us a medical kit and in it was a can of DDT (really). A ‘friend’ later used it on some little many-legged nasties that had taken up residence on his body.
These are just the things living on us. Let’s not forget the ones who eat us from the inside out, the internal parasites. But those are bedtime stories for another day.

For further information about retiring to Thailand check out Hugh’s site www.retire2thailand.com.

Hugh’s advice for the month: Nizoral Tablets and Cream is the recommended treatment for ringworm and fungus but you probably shouldn’t keep the fungus tube anywhere near your toothpaste tube, like my ‘friend’ once did.