December 14-19, 2004
Sure, everyone has heard of KFC ... long ago known as Colonel Sanders. Yes, of course we have (him?, it?) too. Not just in Bangkok, but all over Thailand (*).
But, Thailand also has EFC: Eisan Fried Chicken. Eisan (**) is used to describe a northern part of Thailand near the Lao border; the language spoken there is close to that spoken in Laos. Anyway, the area is best known for its very spicy food.
As lots of Eisan people work in Bangkok there is a big demand for their home cuisine. Hence, EFC! Notice the similarity to KFC's packaging.
I love it, too.
(*) I doubt there is a place on earth that doesn't have the Colonel within delivery distance.
(**) Sometimes spelled Eissan, Isan, Issan and other phonetic variations.
On my way over to the Fitness Centers at either The Peninsula Hotel or The Oriental Hotel I usually pass by the Sathorn Park Fitness Center. It is free, open to the public and pretty much at the mercy of nature's elements. It is partially 'covered' by the concrete underbellies of the expressway and the Skytrain.
PS: Flash from the Onion.
Which 'dish' comes from the Shangri-La dinner cruise and which one is a local Thai delicacy? And, any guesses as to what the bamboo holds?
PS: Reader Geoff K. from OZ writes:
"Mate, that doesn't look like any meal I've ever had. However, when I worked as an OB orderly in Cambodia I saw many cases where a hollowed-out shaft of bamboo was employed in back-room abortions. To act like a traditional syringe that draws blood, the bamboo tube was tightly fitted with an oily rubber ball semi-pierced by a long T handle on the non-penetrating side of this super straw ... the whole contraption acted as a reverse plunger ... sucking the unwanted life deep into its innards. The 'mess' could then be ejected by a simple shove to the T handle. After this expulsion the machine's casing could be discarded as the cost of bamboo was so cheap."
You are totally wrong, Reader Geoff!
What you see here is 'Cowlam'!
This is a real Thai dessert, though authentic examples of this are rarely found in Bangkok. It is made from flavored sticky rice that has been grilled in bamboo shafts. The bamboo gives the sticky rice its distinctive flavor. However, it is rarely seen here in Bangkok food stalls as the grilling procedure requires a long slow firing time.
My daughter, Annie, sent me this Christmas card. I love it ... it's so true!
Some of the advice I find in guidebooks is just too cautious. These tips are from the Jetlag Travel Guide.
PS: The Nigerian scam is becoming more personal:
I am Barrister JEFF EZE, a Solicitor and the Personal Attorney to Mr.T Erickson, a national of your country, who used to work with shell Development Company in Nigeria. On the 2nd of May 2002, my client, his wife and their three children were involved in a car accident along Sagamu Express Road. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives.
Since then, I have made several enquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives over the Internet, so to locate any member of his family but to no avail, hence I contacted you. I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money that belong to my client before they get confiscated or declared as unserviceable by the bank where this huge deposit were lodged.
Particularly, the Bank where the deceased had an account valued at about $10.5 Million Dollars, has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated within the next ten official working days. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 3 years now. Therefore, I have decided to seek your consent to present you as the "Next of Kin" of the deceased since you are from the same Country and bear the same last name, so that the proceeds of this account valued at $10.5 Million Dollars, can be paid to you and then you and me can share the money. 55% to me and 40% to you, while 5% will be mapped out for any expenses during the process or Tax as your Government may require, I have the Certificate of deposit that can be used to back up any claim we may make. All I require is your honest Cooperation to enable us seeing this deal through.
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. Please get in touch with me strictly via this email: to enable us discuss further.
Barr. JEFF EZE
More tips for the super cautious traveler to South East Asia:
PS: Yikes! Andy Page sent this disturbing bit of news ... I hope this is not the company that took us flying over Berlin.
Next: Part VII