OK, so what is that thing everyone in Thailand has sticking out of their nose? I’m afraid to ask, but my curiosity has gotten the better of me.
The city of Bangkok, with its mazelike interconnecting streets and tiny sois, is endowed with plenty of strange things to feast one’s curious eyes upon. Here, you will find pushcart stalls selling edible pig’s body parts and guts, deep-fried insect snackables, and even a couple of elephants strolling down the sidewalks…and this is just to name a few.
For us locals, things that were mentioned above are nothing to get excited about. But the tourists! They get so easily worked up over these things it’s quite funny, actually. I have seen foreigner friends staring in disbelief (with dropped jaws and all) at a little old Thai lady who appeared to have jammed a lipstick look-alike up her nostril. They couldn’t comprehend what she was doing until I explained that what the lady had up her nose was in fact a ‘ya-dom’, or stick-type inhalant used to clear nasal congestion and help free the breathing system.
It is crazy how tourists are so fascinated with Thai people’s addiction with ya-dom, aka. ‘Thai crack’ (as my boyfriend calls it). Made up mainly of menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus oil as base ingredients, ya-dom is used by millions on a regular basis. Although these substances are non-addictive, people find themselves jamming the stick deep into their nostrils – or sometimes just sniffing from afar, depending on the level of addiction – just to get another hit of camphor.
There is no rational explanation to this country-wide addiction to ya-dom…but a random medical website claims that the combination of camphor and menthol can have an effervescent effect, which can lead to an addiction in ya-dom users. Personally I just think that people use them coz they smell good and does a good job at masking the foul smell of the city!
And for those of you who are curious – go ahead, give ya-dom a try. They’re only about 15 baht a pop and will keep your nostrils happy…until the next craving hits!