Some housing in Bangkok
The experience, that is! It continues to be awesome! I have only one week left, I'm running out of things to do in Thailand, so now I'm just enjoying sitting in a cafe, drinking beverages I can't get in the US, making small jaunts to street vendors and returning with the likes of fried bananas, pork balls (don't ask), pork sate, dumplings, som tum, or other items of which I have no idea what they are. After asking why beef is rarely prepared on the streets nor is it often on menus... I learned that Thailand, being a Buddhist country, lives by the five tenents of Buddhism: Do no drink; do not commit adultery; do not lie; do not steal; and do not kill. Because they have to kill animals for their food, they try to kill only small animals--thus the pig is the largest the typically will eat.
Lurking in the shade...then, like guerilla attacks, they come at you to buy stuff!
That and in the days of yore, cows could be used as work/farm animals, why kill something that can help make your life easier? As such, beef is rarely a menu item and when it is, it is more expensive. Prawn/shrimp, on the other hand, is much cheaper than the other meats are. This is in direct contrast with food in America, naturally due to what is readily available and historically cultivated?
My attempt at a travel journalist writing:
Date: 4 December, 2006. Location: The alley way just beyond Siam Paragon.
My friend and I are sitting in a street cafe just beyond the majestic and glitzy walls of Siam Paragon. This sounds so glamorous, and yet it's not. A few blocks from Siam Paragon, housing the likes of Coco Chanel, Gucci, Burberry, and similar company, lies a little hidden treasure.
Preparing a meal of untold delights!
This golden food court is disguised as a dark, dank and dirty alleyway. What lies between the baren concrete walls is truly a food lovers paradise! Dimly lit from the high walls and the sporadic umbrella, this alley is lined with countless food vendors on one side, and small plastic tables/chairs on the other. Merely walking through the cafe is a risk in itself--the water-runoff gully in the middle is loosely covered with broken metal grating with large gaping holes in between sections. Watch your feet, or they'll easily get caught. The smells coming from each vendor is unique, and all equally appealing and tantalizing. After making the food-court stroll the entire distance, we did a return trip to actually purchase our food. Our first purchase was a 12B fresh fruit smoothie/shake.
I'll just say I'm bloated, not fat! Bangkok behind me
A bit of heaven in a cup by my normal standards, ho-hum by Thai standards. After this, we decided on some fried pork and rice and a bamboo entree. However, my friend did not like the attitude of the vendor and we went elsewhere to spend our 40B. This turned out to be a smart move as we found an even better pork dish and something green. It is a local vegetable that is in season right now. It reminded me of the southern dish, wilted poke salad, only this tasted delicious! The amazing richness of the spices, each vying for my taste-buds' attention told me I was NOT eating westernized food. This, my friends, is the real deal local authentic Thai cuisine. And it's in a lowly alley, not a gourmet eatery. This lunch is, by far, the best food I have eaten. Period.
My first load of laundry in Thailand. Woohoo! How unglam!
Perhaps the ambiance of the local lent itself to the mouth-watering experience. It definitely added to the authenticity of the whole meal--no english, hot spices and dirty alley-way, where can you find THIS in America!? Actually, you probably wouldn't. Similar to the traditional Thai massage, this way of eating is not for the Faint of Heart, but if you like authentic thai food, and an adventure, skip the commercialized mall food, the franchised restaraunt and the english speaking establishments. Go directly to Siam Paragon and please ask for the local food alley. You won't regret it.
The Kings Birthday
I have a bit of correction to make, in an earlier entry, I said King is Ratcha...it's not. It is Rama. So this is King Rama IX.
Random street market in patpong or Silom ?
He has been on the throne something like 60 years and is 79 years old. Yesterday was his birthday. Paul and I decided, rather last-minute, to venture directly to Central Park and the Grand Palace where the King himself (NOT ELVIS, Rama IX) would be making an appearance. We were not alone in this decision, perhaps a million people joined us. So close. No, really, we were so flipping close I was paranoid my pocket was going to get picked. And yet, in the middle of the throngs of people, the industrious vendors had their wares set out for people to purchase. And oddly enough, people weren't trampling them! We made it in time to hear the two most important songs, obviously neither of which I knew. One was the National Anthem and the other was something else. Then a fireworks exhibition.
For you dad! They let you feed them, but not catch them--hey, sounds like normal fishing for us!
Not the oversized version of Thunder Over Louisville, but nice enough none-the-less. After walking over an hour to attempt to get out, we decided to go back to that dessert place. Oh my, at least half of the million other people made this same decision as well! Luckily, we quickly found a table. I bogarded it while Paul ordered our toast. We ate and walked another hour before FINALLY finding a Taxi that would venture to the apartment I am residing in. After a nice cold shower, I passed the heck out! While this event was akin to a 4th of July celebration, it was neat to be HERE doing as the Thais.
Ok, my hour is up. Enjoy the pics and my attempt to be a journalist on this one! My blog was recently listed as a Featured Blog on travbuddy. I think this simply means I update it often, upload lots of pics and you guys check it often. But hey, my hits went way up. And think, I have educational stuff in here too! Thanks! Oh, if anyone wants to call, here's how you do it from the States:
Dial: 011 66 849 439007 (I think, lemme know if that doesn't work. )
MISS YA AND LOVE YA!