© 2011 Daniel IMG_0551

Sawat-dii, from Thailand!

Dear friends…

My medical problems ended up responding poorly to conservative treatment, so the Peace Corps medically evacuated me for surgery. So hello – from Thailand! I’ll be in Bangkok for my entire stay. Fortunately, the city seems endless in how much there is to explore and so boredom is unlikely to set in during my two weeks here.

While some aspects of Bangkok remind me of Taipei, the two are very different in terms of diversity. Taipei’s is an Asian melting pot, with some foreign-influenced restaurants dotting the city. Bangkok is a smorgasbord of literally everything around the world, and the food isn’t just influenced; It’s authentic. I can find Italian, Chinese, French, Lebanese, Indian, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants within minutes of one another, run by people from Italy, China, France, Lebanon, India, Japan, and Mexico. (respectively, of course)

My eating adventures began, though, with some humble Thai food on the side of Sukhumvit Road. It was only about 30 baht. (30 baht = $1 USD) There really isn’t much to say about it. It was tasty, cheap, and exactly what I needed after my long plane ride. My feet were sore and I was mostly just thankful to find a street vendor who invested in customer seating.

Today, though, was Valentine’s day, and Valentine’s day is a very special day for a very special someone. Being single, that special someone is… me! And I treated me to some lamb masala and naan from an upscale international food court. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed; The food was mediocre and set me back about 340 baht. I’ll probably be focusing more on street food and hole-in-the-wall restaurants from now on.

The difficulty with street food is that I only know roughly two words in Thai (hint: one of them is “pad”) and so it’s very hard communicate with most vendors past pointing out what I want. A vendor sold me what he called “fish eggs” and while they were fish-something, they didn’t seem like eggs. Or maybe I just haven’t had enough kinds of fish eggs before.

I had a fun time riding the river taxis; At 10 baht a ride, they’re even cheaper than buses. They’re faster, too, being able to ignore the city’s gridlock. The only real downside is that the canals don’t reach very far into the city and I only get to ride the boats once I’m practically at my destination.

I spent my evening walking around Banglampoo, a former red light district. Now it’s a sort of night market with a bunch of clothing stores and popular bars. A couple streets were cordoned off for pedestrians. I had some street pad thai here. The process is great; You pick your noodle and a meat/tofu, then add in your own sugar, crushed peanuts, and spices to your pile of food while the vendor does the cooking.

Then, because I’m such a good food connoisseur, I chased down the perfectly good pad thai with a bag full of bugs: A couple earwigs, a few crickets, a bunch of silkworms, assorted pupae, one cockroach, one scorpion, and one little newt.

The worst of the bunch were the cockroach and the scorpion; Fried bugs are usually crunchy, but those two were pretty chewy. The cockroach took four bites, too; I think I ate cockroach Wilt Chamberlain. The earwigs, pupae, silkworms reminded of the bees I ate in Taiwan – slightly chewy, but mostly crispy. The crickets and newt were actually pretty decent, though, and could make a good meal if they were heavily spiced.

I wonder what I’ll find around here next. But… I’ll probably keep things tame for the next several meals so that my surgeon doesn’t find anything curious while poking around. And I guess I’ll go see more landmarks too, so my stomach doesn’t do all the exploring.

Daniel

2 Comments

  1. Dave
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm | #

    :) I’m proud of you man! I wish I could try those! Enjoy it!

  2. Stacy
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 7:58 am | #

    Ah. The bugs. Gross. What did they taste like?
    [Sorry that my post is so late.]

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