No More Rice

Please God, I can’t eat rice for another day. My initial enthusiasm for Thai cooking has given way into an appropriate lesson in Bhuddist theology. Namely, that anything becomes suffering when repeated ad nauseam.

In the same way the British say ‘Have you had your tea?’, Thai’s say ‘Have you had rice?’

Initially I was enthusiastic about Thai food. The blend of sweet, sour and salty tastes has always been delicious. I spent two days at chef school, and discovered the secrets of Thai cooking.

It was bright outside

First you take loads of healthy vegetables and lean meats. Then, you wok them up in oil, adding plenty of spices, salt, sugar and soy sauce. Finally, you serve them with rice.

I’m serious. Red, green and yellow curry, sweet and sour sauce, phad thai and thai holy basil are all the same dish. The coconut and prawn soups are the same thing, but done in a saucepan with water.

Red chilli paste ready to go in the pestle

I’ve got the recipes on my memory stick. The red curry was good, and I like the sweet and sour sauce. The secret ingredient is ketchup.

“2 tablespoons tomato sauce”

Not that the food isn’t great here. I’ve been varying it with pesto eggs, Israeli Schnitzel /Humous and my favourite off-brand Weetabix. I also cooked my lunch in a volcanic spring. It took twenty-five minutes and it was a bit smelly.

The sign didn’t say anything about Mango Sticky Rice

I also found out Red Bull was invented in Thailand. It was watered down for European markets, and the original rocket fuel can be found here. I left a bottle out in my hostel as an experiment, I’m just waiting for someone to drink it.

Pai By Night, Thai Market in Lights

Thailand is good for your health. Everything is so chilled here, whole days can pass by with no  negativity. Bumping into people in the street is a novelty I havn’t had since early university.

The Pai Night Market is a nightly fiesta of food and fashion. I’m getting a little tired of rice & curry, luckily there are a pair of good Turkish places, an Italian bistro and somewhere that does sausage and mash. No fishn’chips though, and no real tea. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Shopping. I’m sending a package home soon.
Candle Busking
Massage Street
Smelly Durian fruit
Pastry Treats
This is as cold as it gets here

Elephants!

I dropped back into Chiang Mai for a few days to renew my visa. Turns out the office isn’t open on a Bhuddist Holiday, so I took the opportunity to visit some elephants.

Tourist/Elephant interactions have a bad reputation, so I did my research and went to a no-ride retirement home for ex-working elephants. Thailand banned elephant labour years ago which has left the animals in a kind of limbo, as they are still legally livestock. As they don’t produce milk, meat, wool, leather or eggs, they are just curiosities now.

Asian elephants are smaller than their African cousins, but have larger heads and are much smarter. We got an opportunity to prepare their food and feed them. Elephants definitely have favourite foods, they were crazy for soya milk (even to the extent of stealing it from each other). After that, they like sweetcorn (without the leaves), bananas, lemongrass (stripped from the stalks), and sugar cane.


We had seven elephants of various sizes. The smaller ones were accepting individual bananas and chopped sugar cane, but that was wasted on the large matriarchs. The big grandmother was chomping through bunches of cane by herself, and relieved me of a bunch of forty bananas in one mouthful.

The baby was my favourite, a one year old about three feet high. We made friends and kept playfully trying to headbutt me. I played along and he pushed me into a ditch. It turns out he weighs over two hundred kilos.


The other elephants were really calm and docile though. You make way for them to wander around but it’s not necessary as I didn’t see them push a human being all day. They have a habit of reaching into pockets though, watch your wallets and cameras.

A Day in the Life

8 am: Awake. Too early, try again in an hour.

9:15am: OK. Now have to get up. Dress self and wander across bridge for Brunch. I swear bridge has more holes every time I cross it.


Muesli, with yoghurt, fruit and honey at streetside bar. Dutch couple strike up conversation with me about my toe shoes.

10:00am Arrive at massage school for intermediate class. Mr and Mrs Suttipong have agreed to run it for me solo. An hour of instruction and an hour of practice, I now know how to walk on someone’s back. 

Must only use my powers for good.

12:00 Second Brunch. Avocado eggs, poached.

13:00 Actual massage. Real tight spots in legs, and in lower arms and between shoulder blades. Trying not to make grunting noises for benefit of other customers.

14:00 Need to visit some shops. Find small supermarket that sells Thai-branded Weetabix.

15:00 Arrive at Thai boxing gym. Familiar smell of sweat greets my nose. Two hour class, involving jogging while dragging a tyre. The instructors carry bamboo canes giving a very ‘Japanese Concentration Camp’ feel.


17:00 Swing past cookery school on way home to book class for tomorrow.

18:00 Dinner. Only one restaurant in walking distance of room, and I have tried everything on their menu twice already and it’s all rice. Ideally need fibre.

Improvised by dipping fruit weetabix into glass of milk, no spoon involved.

20:00 Music from campfire draws attention. Investigate, and a group of travelling performers are giving lessons on fire spinning to the hostel guests. Enjoying the challenge of photographing something so dark and fast moving.


22:00 Reading before bedtime. Managed to make it through another chapter of ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, which I have been avoiding for about a decade. Author’s writing style, lacking superfluous words and pronouns, does seem to mimic my own.

Miscellaneous in Pictures

I sneezed four times in a row yesterday. I’ve never done that before. 

I think it’s fair to say I’m sick. It’s not malaria, denge, cholera or rabies, so it’s probably just a cold. While I’m bedbound, here are some photos I didn’t find room for in my other updates. Enjoy.

My kit on my penultimate night in London
Jodhpur Clock Market
Monkey Photobomb
Cash hunting on Talim’s Tuktuk
Sunset Romance
Indian Schoolwalk
This is why I don’t do drugs. He spent he whole night like that.
Mysore Palace in lights