Obiter Dictums, Thailand

Written by Travel

Posted from: Chiang Mai, Thailand

I’ve been away from this blog for far too long, mainly due to lack of inspiration. Just because I’m writing again should not lead you to the conclusion that I am now inspired, however. Guilt, and a dedication to filling up my journal made of actual paper (to which I will print and paste this, sad as that is), sits me at the keyboard today.

That’s not wholly true, actually. In about a week and a half, I’m strapping on the backpack and taking one last tour of Thailand (and hopefully Cambodia) before it’s time to fly on home for a short visit.

Home. Comfortable and vile, I cringe from it like a vampire from sunlight and yet I can’t wait to… you know what? I don’t want to talk about that.

The point is that impending and in-progress journeys always seem to awaken my inner monologue and my inner monologue clerk, who sits somewhere in the back of my head, waiting for a fleeting moment of usefulness before he resumes his brain-matter-covered existence. And this is it.

I realize I’ve got a bit of lost time to make up for, but instead of doing the right, lengthy thing and writing a culturally relevant thesis, I’ve settled for a bulleted list of observations and anecdotes which are mostly about food.

Obiter Dictum(s), Thailand:

– Fish oil, gelatin, chili and sugar found in inappropriate places. The preparation of an omelet does not require sugar. Papaya salad and fish oil is a combination that has various culinary rights groups outraged.

– Obsession with plastic bags and packaging is out of hand. I bought a package of mints at the corner store. They were delivered to me by the clerk taped tight into plastic wrapping, which was placed in a plastic bag, which was placed in a bigger plastic bag, which was locked into a metal safe and welded shut, which was guarded by a golem that breathes Agent Orange. The clerks have taken offense at my snubbing of bags, and petty competition now rages to see if they can package my items before I snatch them off the counter. They give me dirty looks when I refuse to put them down in the first place.

Score: Checkout people: 3 Me: 8. Rah rah rah.

– At the same store, I watched an employee deliberately and slowly pour the contents of a 17 oz. cup into a 12 oz. cup and let out a squeal of surprise when the cup runneth-ed over. Dude.

– “When you feel like committing suicide, go to the coffee shop” – found on mug at local café. Amen.

– On a bus trip to Maesai I sat next to the tiniest of little old Thai ladies. She couldn’t have been much over five feet, and her face had wrinkled in on itself like a dehydrated apple. We didn’t speak, but she did grace me by belching like a sailor every three minutes like clockwork. For 4 hours. When we disembarked, other passengers eyed me with disgust.

– Barbecued Egg Vendor Lady hates me. She glowers whenever I walk past. You know what, BEVL? Before you resent people who only buy your eggs-on-a-stick once, make sure they’re worth the purchase price. One way to do this, and this is just a suggestion, would be to check them for worms *before* you sell them. Or market them as Tequila eggs.

– If you have never eaten lychees, you’ll be happy to know that heaven grows on trees.

– Doi Suthep. A hilltop temple with ringable bronze bells, the thing to see in Chiang Mai. In the midst of golden Buddhas and delicate wind chimes, signs ask me to ‘please remove your shoes. Thank you. Drink Pepsi!’ How much do you think temple ad-space runs for these days? Someone deserves to be shot, I’m just not sure who.