As with most everywhere in the world, water plays an integral part of life in Thailand. Water is used during religious ceremonies in temples and in celebration of Songkran, Thailand’s New Year Festival. The amount of rainfall throughout the growing season determines the success of rice harvests for farming families. And of course, there’s the Maekong River (translation: mother river) wrapping it’s way along the northern and eastern borders of Thailand. The Maekong River is the 12th-longest in the world and the 7th longest in Asia. Here fishing plays a vital role in the nutritional and economic well-being of its surrounding populations. Lastly, personal hygiene practices also emphasize the importance of water in Thai culture, as Thais typically take (at least) two bucket showers a day.
It took me several months to adjust to the practice of showering several times during the day, as I was accustomed to taking a daily shower in the morning. Before any social event in the evenings, I used to be thrown off when my Thai co-workers would insist I “take a bath,” as if they were hinting about something! Then confusion would set in on both sides as I replied, “I already did, this morning.” To me, taking more than one shower a day felt completely unnecessary and borderline wasteful. After all, I just took one! After several months here, however, it has become the norm to take my morning shower as well as an evening rinse. I’ve even come to prefer the bucket shower at times over the use of our shower head. A quick shower is the perfect solution to cooling off in the hot, humid weather, and relaxing after a long day of work.