So most of the time when you’re bumming around in Thailand it’s too hot and too impractical to wear shoes. Since it’s often disrespectful not to take them off in Thai people’s homes, shops etc, you just end up wearing thongs, which are quickly and easily removed in 2 seconds – and put back on just as fast.
A “thong” in America is apparently what we Aussies would call a G-string, so just be sure that I’m not suggesting it’s rude not to take your sexy underwear off when entering a restaurant here (although there were some places in Bangkok where- …err, never mind).
Anyway: Thong = flipflop/sandal/whatever in Australian lingo.
The problem with thongs is they leave the greater part of your foot open to injury, provide almost no traction in wet weather and break very easily in places a shoe would not. I learned the hard way not to attempt to walk over the rocky bit of a beach with thongs on since the slightest slip can rip the rubber bit between your toes out. Just trust me on that one. You’re better off barefoot, but only when clambering over rocks at the beach when you haven’t got shoes handy.
The other night I made the mistake of standing up while gripping the accelerator on my motorbike. The bastard spazzed out on me and drove all over the curb until I could wrestle it back under control. I had my own little private rodeo …in thongs, and with with a 125cc machine instead of a beast. And this mechanical bull had two wheels and one hell of a foul temper, that it ended up taking out on my exposed big toe.
Feast your eyes on this festy-ness:
THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T WEAR SHOES
…and get careless with your bike.
It’s a good thing foot massages are only like $7 an hour, although with my enormous hooves I wouldn’t be surprised if they started charging extra.
I could cite more examples of when you’ll wish you wore shoes, but I’m about to head out on a Shark run. Shark is pretty much the Thai version of V or Red Bull in Australia. It’s about a buck a can, packs a caffeinated whallop, and can be used instead of ice on gross toe wounds.