May 9-17, 2006
Reader Tom from the San Francisco area writes:
"I think your blog is interesting to people who are interested in Thailand. I find it interesting, especially the restaurants you go to. But most of them are high end restaurants. I would love to see more pics of the street vendors or local restaurants."
Tom, all of these dishes were produced by street vendors. We just brought the meals home to eat. The next time we go soi ('street' in Thai) shopping I'll take some photos of the actual stalls in operation. In many cases the soi food is just as good as what you will find in a "high end" restaurant.
Most working people in Thailand eat all of their meals 'out'. It is cheaper and easier to eat at a soi stall than it is to cook something at home. This, of course, means that there must be more commercial chefs in Bangkok than in any other city in the world. Hmmm ... if just half of Bangkok's 12 million people eat 'out' ... and if each soi stall serves 50 people per day ... well, that means there must be 120,000 sidewalk cooks in the city. I believe it.
Life according to Susan:
Life is Backwards ...
The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get in the end of it? A death. What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards.
You should die first, you know, start out dead, get it out of the way. You wake up in a an old age home, feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, then, when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day.
You work 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You drink like a fish, party your ass off, and screw anything that moves - you've only got a few years left, so why not?!?
Then you get ready for High School. You go to primary school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a baby, then, you spend your last 9 months floating peacefully with luxuries like central heating, spa, room service on tap, larger quarters everyday, and then you finish off as an orgasm!
PS: Thailand's chief (and only?) tuk-tuk manufacturer has hit upon an idea for a new product stream: vehicles that don't just also carry advertising; rather, ones that are exclusively for advertising. Three dimensional moving billboards that give off exhaust? Just what Bangkok needs.
PPS: And for the hard to bore: four views of our SLK suitcase in Bangkok.
PPPS: This is a cool Thai road regulation:
I was looking at the other signs used and this one caught my attention.
Five soi dishes and one delivered dish. Which one came on a motorbike?
Things from the past (yes, it was a lazy day):
Ana records a polo match at Hua Hin:
This time (*) Stephff puts the wife behind the wheel to save gas ... using steam power.
(*) Compare Monday's drawing.
PS: Evangelina Carrozo carries a banner protesting the construction of pulp plants in Uruguay. Tony Blair is pleased.
This morning torrential rains and cyclone winds hit THOCBDC. There was no loss of life.
PS: For a conservative magazine to run a cover like this...well, what does that teach you about B & B?
PPS: Last night four of us went to the new Hilton Millennium hotel (formerly the wishful-thinking Sofitel ... and sometime later the virtual THOCBDC) [*].
The Bangkok Post said the new Hilton sported the best steak house in town. That did it for me; I was craving a New York strip as I had not eaten one since we were last in Hong Kong. When I saw that the menu offered Oysters Rockefeller too ... well, in a New York minute I went for the whole New York. But, Watcharee, Pom and Golf weren't tempted by the farang appetizers; they went Thai. Though, for the main course they pretty much had to choose western: fish, veal and lobster; not at all shabby options.
Paris's Thai sister has done a pretty good job in turning a crumbling wreck of a building [**] into a totally five-star hotel.
The steak restaurant is on the 3rd floor ... which you reach via a dedicated glass elevator. The buffet restaurant is on the lobby floor. On the roof is a 360 degree cocktail bar that has such a spectacular view of Bangkok that you have to make reservations even to drink a Martini (more New York!).
We'll definitely come back for seconds.
[*] We have archived the building's previous occupiers.
[**] Also archived are scenes from her sadder neglected days.
Do you remember Noi? She used to work at the Fitness Centre at The Oriental. Sure you do; she is the girl with the sexy abs. She has appeared on these pages many times. Go ahead ... go look. I'll wait.
Anyway, she now has a new job. She moved from The Oriental to the Shangri-La hotel. Her new job is in 'Guest Relations', which is a pretty important interface department in Asian hotels. It is rather like what the concierge does in western hotels.
Bangkok's Eye! Yes, if London can have one so can Bangkok. For the past several weeks I have ... on and off ... watched its erection in a little park next to the Night Market just off Wireless Road (*).
(*) It is quite close that big sign on the SE corner of Lumpini Park; which, apparently, has stopped sniffing the air for the moment.
Another mysterious photograph from Sandra found its way to my mailbox.
PS: Watcharee's aunt has just opened a new restaurant in Bangkok's Siam Center. It is called "Food For Fun". This is how her place packages the take-out food. Shown here is one of her soups which comes in 6 small bags (*) so you can mix it at home. That way the noodles and bean sprouts don't get too soggy and you can season the soup to your own taste. I don't know who designed her carry bag ... with all those "F" words ... too bad she didn't slip in the big "F" word somewhere.
But, the hacked (**) chicken comes in a conventional box ... with the accompanying sauce in a bag.
(*) Western fingers are unable to tie the necks of tiny plastic bags with the even more tiny rubber bands they use ... especially when the rubber band1 has to be wrapped around the bag so many times. If you don't believe me try it at home. Thais can tie one a second.
1 With 66 million people, Thailand (a third of whom use take-out) must produce more rubber bands than any other country in the world. Ask yourself: when was the last time that you used a rubber band for anything.
(**) No culinary surgical niceties here.
PPS: Any guesses as to the big blue object?
PPS: Yes, Norway was here. God only knows why...the food is so different.
Next: Part III