Closer to Nature: Emny’s Survival Guide to Petting the Animals in South East Asia 


  (More pictures to come)

This one is for you my hippy, animal-loving twin sister, to who I am more similar than I would like to admit.

And, mother, father, as you are well aware, I cannot afford the de-stress therapy you may require upon reading this, and for your information, the postage for sending such bills to Thailand would be outrageous.
To everyone else:

I am 100% not responsible if you are insane enough to utilize anything in this blog- except for the respect and rationality with which I believe every living thing should be treated.

I give you:

Emny’s Survival Guide to Petting the Animals in South East Asia

Would you pet a con man? Would you talk in a baby voice to a throng of pick pockets? Of course not, so

 1. Don’t touch the monkeys.

They’re rude. I watched one leap on a woman’s back and attempt to bite her through her shirt. They are the #1 reason I got my rabies shots before coming here, and everything you hear is true. Every time I’ve walked by one, he/she has sized me up and looked to see what I was holding and how tightly; therefore I interact with them as though they are humans. I glare when confronted, secure my valuables, and occasionally point and say “I see you”. And they know. They know I see them. Don’t coo, don’t beckon. They are not your friends, they are your rivals, and they have betrayed me with their lack of cuddly-ness.

 The cats are hardly better, I am sad to say. They are teeny and cute, but have apparently not been made aware that even whilst playing you cannot scratch at a tourist with your vicious little paws.

 I have pet 7 cats, 4 of which were tiny kittens who thought I was either going to feed them or ruin their lives (they froze with fear). Another mildly successful interaction was that of an immensely pudgy flat-faced adult cat in Chiang Mai who was carried to us as he saw little reason for our attention. He seemed too large to adequately struggle or scratch, which leads me to my next rule.
 3. Only truly trust the fat puppies who seem lazy and appear physically unable to exercise agility- this will be evident in a lack of flexibility to their furry quarters and belly. There are several distinct body shapes of the dogs here, and the short legged midget puppies are among the best tempered. I believe that realizing society does not take them seriously, they have decided to milk this and receive as many table scraps as humanely possible.

 The Pai Puppy shown above has been my favorite, and i hope to some day exhibit even half as much nonchalance whilst walking down the street. You just can’t teach that kind of self confidence.

You will encounter many a critters stationary, but you will also encounter many as they go about their day. It is here that I state our fourth rule.



4. When a given cute animal seems to be venturing as though they genuinely have somewhere to be, an appointment, a lunch date, it is at this moment that you should abandon whatever pointless thing you were doing, and follow the animal. They clearly know where they are going, and more than half the time in Thailand, I don’t know where I’m going. Therefore, logically, they should be followed.
 5. The reptiles are unpettable- as in, they do not wish to be pet- however, their pauses seem to be moments of intense focus, especially when talked to, and it is for this reason I believe they are gathering info. Being that they are harmless in nature (from my experience), I have let them flee to their leaders with greetings and promises of Cheerios. I feel like reptiles would like Cheerios, or atleast the chance to the try them (everyone has tried Cheerios).

It is evident from my (admittedly limited) social interactions, as well as their readable faces, that

6. Majority of marine life believes itself to be superior to humans.

 Given the whole breathing-underwater-plus-fins-and-tails thing, I have to admit, they are right. But depending on where you are, they love to show off and socialize. When/if you do get a chance to interact with marine life, avoid feeding or disturbing to garner attention; they interact much better when it’s just because, and if you have to feed or grab them for attention, they’re just using you.

 7. All of the spiders (large) and strange bugs (also large) are coincidently named “God-Damn-Terrifying”, but they rarely mean you harm. In fact, they are often so afraid, they lose their wits and are beyond calm negotiation. This often leads to violence and bloodshed, though I am happy to say we have endured/dealt neither in the last 50 days of traveling.

I hope with these 7 simple rules in mind, you can enjoy a nice, critter-filled trip in South East Asia. Here’s some pictures of a fat puppy trying to play.  (the video is pure gold)    
All the best,


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