Thursday, November 28, 2013 15

         As my time in Thailand draws to a close; I really think I have seen everything I came to see. I'm sure on further reflection I will realize I missed something, but I'm ok with it. The idea of this trip was two fold; firstly to see and experience all the different places and cultures of the amazing places I am going. Secondly it was to relax and unwind after a long year in Antarctica. I sometimes feel as if I should keep going, do more, push the exploration further; and then sometimes I think to myself, why? The great thing about saving for a two month trip; 16 days of which will have been spent here; is that there is no rush. It's not a weekend's months. So with that being said, today was an uneventful day. I got up early and had some breakfast at the hotel. Now that I think about it I can make this a short entry about food. So, breakfast is served at the hotel buffet style. I was very confused by the offerings....I guess it was somewhat like a brunch. There were cereals and bread; fruits and potatoes; an omelette station; but then there was fried rice, and soups, and sausage much like kielbasa. It was very different for am on a Wednesday. So after breakfast I got ready for a half hearted day of touring. I headed back towards Khao San Road inadvertently. I figured I'd look a little closer for these famed fried bugs...still nothing; maybe they are a thing of the past or only at night. Either way I can live without that experience....not that I would've tried them. So once again I was endlessly harassed about suits and tuk-tuks; I just moved on paying no mind to them this time. Big score of the day was finding a pair of Diesel brand flip flops that actually fit....$9. Sounded like a deal.
       So I headed home stopping at random shops along the way.  Moving on to lunch. I walked by a Pizza Hut and although the combinations pictured in the window looked interesting; I passed. I have fought the urge; albeit rare; to have "Western" food. No McDonalds, BK, or Pizza Hut. The closest I have gotten was a burger here; but it was it doesn't count. I will admit if Taco Bell and I cross paths, it is so on! One of the most popular banks here has a sign that looks; sadly;  just like Taco Bell. I walked down a typical alley looking at the offerings, nothing looked appealing. I found a small open air cafe that looked promising. I went it and sat down. There were cats walking around and a dog napping in the center of the dining area. This sounds strange to Westerners, but is not at all uncommon here. I ordered an appetizer and a salad. They came in reverse order; but what's the difference? The salad was smoked duck with some diced vegetables; more garnish that substance on a single piece of lettuce...hmmm salad? I will say that it was one of the spiciest things I have had in Thailand. It crept up slowly and then made my lips and tongue burn intensely. The second dish I just couldn't pass on once I read it. It was essentially deep fried beef jerky. Much like my feelings about bacon, I have the same regard for jerky. It was house dried beef; fried; served with a sweet chili sauce. Not bad.
        I returned to the hotel and relaxed for a while. I had to pick up my custom tailored pants in a few hours so I opted to stay here being as the tailor was right across the street. I was still a little nervous about them. So I headed over and picked them up. Not bad. Here is a picture of what I showed them I wanted. Something casual to wear barefoot or with sandals. I even downloaded the exact same picture on their computer. Simple enough. He said "Oh yeah, no problem..." like they make these all the time.

So that's what I wanted. 1 linen, and 1 in a really nice looking cashmere.....Here's what I got:

      Exciting stuff. I like the first pair. Pretty good attempt at what I showed them, and very comfortable. The second pair is much more like a pair of suit pants with a drawstring. They are supposed to be wrinkle free material, so I will find out in 2 days when I unball them from my bag. Overall happy for what I spent.
     To wrap up this day of shopping and eating, I went back to eating. I returned to Hemlock were I had eating yesterday. The food was good and the lady was super helpful. I told her I want something that is very traditional Thai. My first course was called Miang Kham. It translates as "eating many things in one bite" 

          I am surprised how well this picture came out...I took it on an old cell phone I have that I use for a clock. The dish is finger food and is served with no utensils. There is dried shrimp, diced onion, lime, peanuts, ginger, and diced hot peppers. There is also toasted coconut which I was told should be the main component. The ingredients are placed in a piper leaf and folded like a taco. It is finished with a sweet sauce made of palm syrup, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, and fish sauce. It was an very nice dish, popping with flavor and textures. I mixed different amount and combinations finally finding the one I liked best. I asked the lady for a main course....once again very traditional. Although the dish she recommended was tasty it was very simple. I guess that is one thing that made it good. There were no competing flavors. Beef, rice, and a spicy sauce with a hint of fish sauce and cilantro. Not two of my favorite flavors; but I went with it and was happy with the results.
        Upon looking at this larger picture I have only one thought.....Beef?....You sure? Only kidding it was beef. I finished up and thanked the lady for all her help. I looked at the picture on the wall of this coffee house style room....Too true! I laughed as I snapped the picture and headed home. A side note as far as I can tell, they don't sell Tums or Rolaids in Thailand. Gonna have to ride this one out......

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