Hot Sauce + Tigers: Sriracha
Sriracha wasn’t much – an ordinary medium-to-small sized town – with one major feature: The Tiger Zoo. I must say, in general I’m not a huge zoo person. Staring at animals walking around in fake environments, often caged, for hours doesn’t exactly amuse me. But hey, it’s “a thing” here, so I figured I’d check it out.
We arrived at the zoo where we had to pay the “foreigner price,” 300B more than native Thais. Blatant racism is something I’ve grown accustomed to in Southeast Asia – my only option for explanation is SEAL (Confused? See my previous post about SEAL, though I can’t promise that will help).
At the Zoo we fed the baby tigers. They were in two smaller cages across the room from a bunch of larger cages for larger tigers. These tigers had some neighbors! Little pigs in tiger cages – still not sure what they’re doing there.
One of the nurses we were traveling with (as friends – I don’t have a personal detail) noticed my discomfort and got me a wheelchair! My desire for dignity was easily trumped by my pain, so I rocked it.
After the tiger-feeding we attended the tiger show. Although it started out as a harmless yet cool performance, the show instantly lost its glimmer when a tamer smacked a tiger on the nose for no reason. My companions and I exchanged dissaproving glances, mumbled about how that guy’s probably a real gem to talk to in real life (“I tame tigers for a living…I’m kind of a big deal”), and it really reminded me about the captivity and lack of nature of this place.
The show was watched by all sorts of tourists – mostly asian – which gave us both a sense of community (yay all foreign) and exclusion (yup we’re still white).
After the show, we walked (read: wheeled) over to a pig race. Supafun. Then we
escaped exited to a restaurant recommended by one of the nurse’s friends. Fantastic food, as usual: roasted cashews, gaeng som (a spicy red sweet-and-sour type soup with random veggies and stuff inside), various types of seafood, and of course, Sriracha hot sauce!
Blissfully full, we embarked on our trip back to Bangkok. There may have been a Bubble Tea stop on the way. Just sayin’.