Curry for Breakfast and Frogs on Sticks

Rambutan fruit

Rambutan fruit

So, today started with rice porridge, green curry, baby sausages and fried dough with condensed milk. And lots of coffee – which we discovered yesterday is not in the actual coffee pot but in a large urn to the side, which in all fairness does have a sign with ‘Coffee’ stuck to it. After gargling a large mouthful of tea yesterday – which normally I would not drink if you held a rifle to my back – I was very careful to get it right this morning. We also discovered yesterday that a harmless looking breakfast curry may indeed not actually be so. But the fruits that look like eggs sitting in a red spiky-looking case taste very like mild-tasting grapes. All is not as it seems here…

We did our washing this morning, in an actual washing machine. I have not experienced this in Asia before, but having said that, I haven’t exactly stayed in places that could be remotely described as posh here before. So we got to sit down and stick our nose in a book on Laos that somebody had kindly left around, discover turtles in the water gardens and practice ukulele while said wonderful machine did our hard work for us. Oh, and we had a nice chat to a couple of Belgian girls who reported that the weather in Phuket is not good at the moment, just in case anybody needed to know.

We then went through the time-honoured performance of stringing a washing line up in our bedrooms. Warning to all – the hooks that you buy from Katmandu that stick to any surface do not. The inventors of said devices have obviously never hung their own washing up in Asia. We had to go to many extremes, which included the dismantling of shower rails just to get our washing to defy gravity while it dried, but due to trusty kiwi ingenuity, we got there eventually.

After breakfast we went through the performance of trying to communicate with an almost endless line of people who knew about as much English as we knew Thai to get hold of a bus ticket to Sukhothai. But in the end it had only actually taken us about 2 hours via phone, face-to-face pleading and good old fashioned bribery, plus a trip down the road to the 7/11 store where we went through another 20 minute experience to confirm the ticket and pay for it.

We then went and bought what was Ursula’s first street food snack (chicken on a stick with some kind of yummy but taste-bud-searing sauce) , risked our lives crossing the road and munched out on it in the Tesco carpark, much to the delight of several motorbike taxi-drivers over the hedge.

The next mission was shopping in Tesco, which is sort of like a combination of a huge supermarket and the Warehouse – minus the helpful English signs and speakers of said language. We thought we’d grab a few snacks for the 6-hour bus trip we face tomorrow, and perused such culinary delights as imitated crab sticks, pizza flavoured banana snacks, chilli sauce flossy, etc. We both chose the pizza baby cootail bread plus various other goodies that just looked downright gorgeous then decided to hightail it out of there before we spotted something else.

I don’t think I told you about yesterday’s experience of the Pratunam market. Erm, it’s huge. We went there by Skytrain again, and enjoyed the variety of people we saw along the way, such as the guy wearing leopard-skin high wedged shoes and the young muslim lady who was wearing two sorts of headscarves and had an incredibly elegant profile. I also noticed a stylized sticker on the wall that said ‘Please offer your seat to monks’. Something that struck us both at the market there was the row of ‘hair stalls’ where human hair was proffered, raw, unprocessed hair. It was sort of freaky somehow. And the gorgeous woman who leaned over the stall and spoke in bloke…

Anyway, we got home to the hotel about 10 minutes before it poured with rain, which it seems we’re gaining a knack for, as the exact same thing happened yesterday. By this stage I no longer had feet on the end of my legs – only tattered, bloody stumps. I stuck them into the shower on Arctic setting to bring the swelling down then wallowed on the bed for a while. When I was fairly certain I had feeling in all my extremities again, I went downstairs to the pool with my Drambuie, a glass, a bottle of lemonade and the ukulele. All day, off and on, we witnessed a photo shoot happening, which I took to be a model shoot and which Ursula thought was a wedding shoot. My thoughts on it were that nobody would work the bride and groom for that many hours on their wedding day, but as it turns out – according to a kiwi guy I bumped into – around here they do one or two days of photography, with the presumably happy couple dressed in different outfits, up to a month before the wedding. So here I am taking photos of the photo-shoot, the photographer, the assistant who was more effeminate that your average female and the couple themselves, and it turns out I’m probably intruding on a part of the actual wedding proceedings. Still, they smiled at me a few times and didn’t seem in the least bit bothered, so there we have it.

I wandered across the road tonight with the kiwi guy, who has been living here for a while, and we had various munchies from several stalls at yet another market over there. All the time, he was texting with his girlfriend who is a teacher, who is apparently leading 100 Year 6 students into inner Mongolia and having problems with a) a troublesome travel agent and b) a young fellow who was having problems with his liver, temperature and possible signs of meningitis, and c) an unexpected lack of staff due to sudden illness. Wow – and I thought I knew what stress was…

Anyway, I’d better get some shuteye before we launch ourselves into the next leg of the adventure. I hope you are all well over there, and remember – even if you’re having a stressful day, be glad it isn’t anywhere near inner Mongolia…

Oh, I forgot to tell you – on the way home last night we walked past some food stalls near our hotel entrance, and they had, amongst other things,  frogs available – presumably as kebabs. No, we didn’t try them…

Photographer and assistant, Imm Fusion Hotel, Bangkok

Photographer and assistant, Imm Fusion Hotel, Bangkok

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