In my short 20-some-odd years of life I have seen and done some pretty remarkable things. I’ve jumped out of a plane at 14,000 feet, gliding dreamily through the clouds over Cairns, Australia. I’ve stood at the altar of St. Paul’s Cathedral where King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon were wed. I’ve compared hand size with Marilyn Monroe at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, eaten a meal cooked at the base of an active volcano on the Azorean islands; and even played in a sun shower in the clear waters of Bermuda.
Yes, I would call myself a globe trotter. Twenty-hour flights, boat rides to secluded islands, strange food titled “local delicacy,” – I’ve been there, I’ve done that, I’ve settled my stomach after eating it. Yet, about a year ago, I came face to face with one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen: squid flavored chips.
I had always wanted to visit Thailand -- mostly to experience one of the world’s biggest parties held on the island of Koh Phangan simply titled “The Full Moon Party.” I managed to convince a friend to accompany me on the adventure, which included two and a half weeks of spicy Thai food, crazy tuk tuk rides and the best party of our lives to wrap it all up. An offer she couldn’t possibly refuse.
A few months of Facebook countdowns followed by a measly 15 hour stint over the Pacific and we land in Bangkok. If I could pick one place that would be the total polar opposite of Toronto it would be Thailand’s capital city. My first thought: “No one drives in lanes over here?”
We arrive at our hotel – the size of my cramped studio apartment and complete with one of those annoyingly tiny showers where the water spills out and drenches the rest of the bathroom. No time to worry about my feet getting wet, it’s time to test out some of this crazy Bangkok nightlife I hear so much about.
After downing some weird Thai moonshine from a kiosk at the side of the road we find ourselves on Soi Cowboy playing pool and drinking Singha beer. Then it happened. Between downing an M150 energy drink and someone throwing a stray cat into my lap, my travel companion proudly presents her latest discovery – squid flavored chips.
I carefully studied the bag. “No,” I looked at her in disbelief, “That’s not a picture of a squid on that bag.” She handed me the package, watching wide eyed as neon lights flashed across her face. I took a chip, the red powder staining my fingers, and crunched into the crispy potato-ish material.
I had many more firsts on that trip: Feeding an elephant, cheering on fighters at a Muay Thai event, and even the Full Moon Party lived up to it’s reputation. With all these experiences scratched from my bucket list I can safely say eating Squid Chips was one added and crossed all at once.
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Janine AshleyJanine is helplessly addicted to worldly wondering. Since her childhood, when she spent summers with her family in Portugal, she has been a slave to the travel gods, taking her first solo trip to Cancun, Mexico in 2004. She has globe trotted to hot spots including England, Scotland, Cuba, Australia and Thailand, and hopes for more adventures to come. Janine plans to hit the backpackers’ jackpot by embarking on a month long Euro trip where she will gladly give up clean sheets and three square meals for dingy hostels and confusing public transit. The joys of the open globe will never grow old for this hopeless travel junkie.
Located: Toronto Canada
Likes: Creating memories, accomplishing goals, absorbing culture, gaining priceless knowledge, meeting interesting people, embarking on one-in-a-lifetime adventures