December 1-8, 2006
Jessica begins December afloat in Hua Hin.
EFC (Issan [*] Fried Chicken) is a fast food outlet that offers Issan style food. However ... and this is a big HOWEVER ... the Issan food found here in Bangkok is about as true to form as is Thai food as served in America or Europe. What we get in Bangkok is toned down from what you will eat north of Korat.
Here are last night's food 'workers' and the food.
[*] Issan is sometimes spelled Essan. It refers to a northeast part of Thailand which is very poor. Many Issan residents move to Bangkok to work in manual jobs. Former Prime Minister Taksin was (is) very popular in Issan; perhaps that is why martial law was lifted yesterday in most of Thailand but not in Issan and the far south. Anyway, Issan food is very popular in Bangkok ... and not just among the Issan arrivals. We usually have it at least every couple of weeks. Well, of course we don't cook it ourselves; we always spring for the take-away: EFC.
Driving home from Nana 3. With Watcharee behind the wheel I was able to trace the route block by block. Is this more interesting than food shots?
"No! You should have taken us into the Nana Entertainment Complex instead."
I miss this place.
Last night Watcharee and I had dinner at the Plaza Athenee hotel. In just over a year we'll be neighbors with this place so we decided it was time to start sampling the restaurants on Wireless Road and Ruam Rudi. Up to now we have huddled pretty close to the river. We have to get out of this parochial mood.
The buffet restaurant in the Plaza Athenee is named "Rain Forest". Though the selections are not as 'deep' as the Shangri-La's "Next2" the quality is just as high; even black and red caviar is available by the scoop ... albeit small ones.
The dining room is spacious and overlooks a mini-lake. The buffet tables are cleverly arranged so that people aiming for the starters are not commingled with those looking for cheeses.
This whole food thing is getting so boring. I need to go back to my roots: Patpong.
We went to Ayuthaya for a family get-together.
River City is almost opposite the Hilton Millennium. In fact, the hotel also operates a 'check-in' service on this side of the river. River City is a mall for antiques as well as providing floor space for exhibitions. As it is fairly close to me I go there frequently. It's the home of a few so-so restaurants that I don't frequent.
In honor of Pearl Harbor Day's Eve (*) last night we ate Peking Duck at the Shangri-La hotel.
(*) Ten years earlier (1931) the Japanese invaded Mukden.
NB: I had to make some sort of Asian textual connection with these photos.
"Alf, you need to lay off your camera for a bit. Take a vacation or something. Give us a break! You don't have to post a journal entry detailing every bit of food you eat!"
PS: John Cleese's letter to America:
In light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories (excepting Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new prime minister, Tony Blair, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium," and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise".
You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra'; you may elect to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you find you simply can't cope with correct pronunciation.
Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up "vocabulary"). Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.
2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."
3. You will relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out Task #1 (see above).
4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but to be celebrated only in England.It will be called "Come-Uppance Day."
5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent.
Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.
6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
7. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect.
At the same time, you will go metric immediately and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
8. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling "gasoline") -roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.
9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps." Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with mayonnaise but with vinegar.
10. Waiters and waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.
11. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager." American brands will be referred to as "Near-Frozen Goat's Urine," so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
12. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
13. You will cease playing American "football." There is only one kind of proper football; you call it "soccer." Those of you brave enough will, in time, will be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the "World Series" for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.
14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due backdated to 1776.
Thank you for your co-operation.
Christmas is getting a weak start at River Garden.
PS: "Karl Marx said that "Religion is the opiate of the masses," and he couldn't have been more correct. Religion is a drug that encourages you to not think for yourself, and, in my very humble opinion, is much worse and far more deadly than heroin, pot, cocaine, and alcohol all put together. None of these other drugs breeds contempt for other people, but all religions do in one way or another. Religion is the insidious evil of our planet, and the sooner people start to wake up to that the sooner we can get on to bigger, more important issues like peace and goodwill toward others."
Next: Part II