Friday, February 09, 2007

Addicted to Bubble Tea

I remember when Thai bubble tea first appeared in Santa Cruz a few years ago. I recall that it was advertised as an acquired taste. The idea of sucking down tapioca pearls at the bottom of a glass of tea sounded disgusting. Then one night in San Francisco Nick and I were strolling the the mall near the Myoko Hotel and he suggested we try it. I thought it all right but it was not about to replace my addiction to cappuccino.

Then Thim bought me a bubble tea at the market in Ko Samui and it was delicious. The tapioca was exactly right. That was the first of many here. And in this picture I am drinking a coffee tea (not that distant from a cappuccino) after a visit to the Earawan Shrine in the shopping section of Bangkok near Siam Square. Yum.

The weather has been delightful in Bangkok for this short final visit, humid but with a breeze that seems to have dissipated some of the big smog that greeted our arrival on Monday. Today we went to the movies, to see the new Zhang Yimou epic, "Curse of the Golden Flower," with his star Gong Li. Also in the film playing the wicked emperor was the ever wonderful Chow Yun-Fat. While not as graphic as "Kill Bill," it was one of the bloodiest films I've ever seen with very few left standing at the end. I had wanted to see "Dream Girls" which opened today, but Thim quickly chose the Chinese film when I showed her the entertainment section of the Bangkok Post. The theater was nearly empty but we had popcorn and were captivated by the movie. Thim barely moved for the entire two hours, sitting cross-legged in the seat beside me, hardly touching the popcorn.

Gerry writes that he detected a note of melancholy in my last post. Perhaps. Endings are always difficult. It's been a magical two and a half weeks with Thim, my guide and translator. She wants to accompany me to the airport early tomorrow morning, and afterwards will take an overnight bus to her home in Udon Thani up north where her parents await. She said Nancy called from the Coco Bar in Ko Samui to see how she was doing with this crazy farang, and she's been chatting up a storm with her sister, Song, who is suffering from a migraine headache and unable to work today.

Tomorrow I'm off to Muscat, wherever the hell that is, where I change planes for one headed towards London. The weather report on BBC News this morning said it was bitterly cold and snowing in London, and rainy and cold in Paris where I go on Sunday. I packed clothes to dress in layers for the winter weather in Europe but I'm not sure they will be enough. For most of the way from Heathrow to Helen's house in Highgate, I'll be underground or in trains. But in Tufnell Park, I have to emerge into the cold to catch a bus up the hill. There I will probably freeze. It's hard to imagine now, dressed as I am for tropical weather.

I have some much on which to reflect, from tourism in third world countries to the trials and tribulations of an old man lost in delight with a younger woman. Jerry has been giving me lots of advice, some of which I'll follow and some of which I'll ignore. I'm not sure what will happen next. The world may look quite a bit different from Europe, Sonoma and Santa Cruz. Thim and I have exchanged phone numbers and I've set her up with an email account. But although she can access it through a page in Thai, her home page will be in English and I doubt that she will be able to navigate it easily. I'm hoping that she'll at least be able to log on and look at photos I'll send her. I printed up nearly 50 pictures of the two of us, together and singly, and she will carry the two albums back home to show the folks. I have no idea what their reaction will be.

So tomorrow I bid farewell to this nearly two month Asian voyage. It will certainly not leave me unmarked.

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