Monday, January 29, 2007

Ah-Hahn at Home in Thailand

One serious advantage to hiring a local guide and translator is the entree it gives to a world of Thai food culture rarely glimpsed by an outsider. Thim regularly goes off to the market and brings back a cornocopia of culinary delights. I wish I had names for everything, but Thim is a better guide than translator. I now have four different Thai-English dictionaries and instruction books and it's still an upheld climb. Ah-hahn is the word for food and variations of it are part of the words for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This early evening meal includes a whole fish, a kind of paste that I think is composed of vegetables, a coconut, and the spicy noodle dish called pappa something. There was also sticky rice (more common in the north where Thim is from) and a variety of greens including cabbage that are torn into pieces and used as a kind of organic edible spoon. There was also a purple something in juice that seemed to be a cross between a fruit and a potato, sweet but not too.

I've eaten an incredible variety of fruit which includes the recognizable watermelon, mango and papya, but also the sticky tamarand, and a white melon with black seeds and a red exterior. Add to that the humble orange, and I'm still only barely scratching the surface of all I eat. Thim eyes by prodigious stomach and decides I need more food, and it's all I can do to say "im laa-ou" (I'm full) to stop the the feast. Much food, I'm sorry to say, has been wasted.

We eat ah-hahn Thai or ah-hahn American at our meals. I've found a place that will serve me scrambled eggs and toast (with tomatoes on the side, an obscene addition by the British). This morning my coffee at the Thai place was instant with cream powder and sugar added, but with a little effort I can get a good cappuccino. The fruit shakes on the beach are out of this world.

Today was another slow day. The dry cough that started a couple of days ago has progressed and I am beginning to wonder if I should take the remaining antibiotic pills. If it's a viral infection, they will be useless. If bacterial, it could nip an incipient bronchitis or pneumonia in the bud. Thim looks at me, listens to me cough, shakes her head and says "mai sabai," sick. I still have a few vitamin C pills to chew, and my spirits are good, but lying in bed is not my way to enjoy paradise.

After our early dinner seated on the balcony (photo above), I turned on the TV to find C-SPAN coverage of the anti-war rally in Washington on Saturday. It was good to hear the angry words, particularly those of Maxine Walters and the mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky something. Jesse Jackson sounded woefully low key. Somewhere along the line he lost his passion. Or at least it isn't apparent in the public appearances I've seen or read about. I couldn't tell from the video how many people were involved.

I finally figured out that "tumulo" is not a place but Thim's mispronounciation of tomorrow. And tomorrow we are planning to take the fast boat from Big Buddha Pier to Ko Pha-Ngan for a few hours at Hat Rin beach where the wild full moon party will be held on Feb. 3rd.

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