You have to love being in the third world where everything is available in pharmacies over the counter, no expensive doctor's visit or prescription required. Oh, sorry, I'm just talking about my ear infection, not the good stuff.

It's nearly impossible to dive every day without getting some sort of wonky ear infection. Take a scuba diving course, it'll teach you that the pressure surrounding your ear doubles in just the first 10 meters of water, and from there only increases as you go down. That's a lot of trauma to subject your eardrum to, not to even mention any bacteria that could be lurking in said water. Yep, ear infections, glamorous as they are, just go hand in hand with diving.

I'm no doctor though, could be that a bug just crawled in my ear while I was sleeping.

The other day I just ignored the funky feeling on the left side of my head and went diving. We had two really great dives, they were both decently deep, full of swim throughs and rodeos and a couple instances of getting narced... I always preach to my students to be extremely cautious diving with any sort of ear problems or congestion, in fact just don't do it. But let's be honest, when you have a couple weeks out of the year to dive, it's hard to just call it off completely just because of a little barotrauma.

But diving was probably not the best idea because we went for a late night pancake run and I couldn't even chew the sweet gooey deliciousness without feeling like I was being stabbed in the side of the head. Oh yes, the pancakes...

They only come out late at night and they're basically just a grill on a little street food cart. The menu has every combination of bananas, coconut, lemon, Nutella, peanut butter, chocolate, you name it, and the guys who work there never say a word. They're not the fluffy, cakey pancakes like we're used to, but more of a fried crepe. Order your creation and the dough comes out, spun around and slapped about like a pizza pie into a paper-thin stretchy skin. Slice (topping #1) over the top, fold it up like an envelope, butter up the grill, and fry it into gooey crispy perfection. Smother some (topping #2) over the top, and use a butcher knife to cut it six times into sixteen pieces of pancake perfection. All of this happens in a blur that takes about 5 seconds. Stand right there in the middle of the street eating it like it's your last meal on this planet and then go back for seconds. Repeat.

When ear infections turn late night pancake runs into a literal, physical pain, it's time to visit the pharmacy. It's not like back home though were you have to go in for an expensive doctor's visit, have a prescription written out, drop it off at a pharmacy, have them fill it hours later, show up to find out that the prescription costs a small chunk of your saving. None of that in the third world. Just show up at the pharmacy, say "ear infection," get asked if you're a diver, have pharmacy lady who doesn't speak English hand over ear drops, play a game of charades to figure out how to use them, pay 400 baht (a little over $10). Good as new. Well, steal healing, but good enough to dive. (I hope none of my students are reading this).