Sorry to leave you all hanging on that last story, but I’m in Thailand now, and my plan to catch up on blogging while in transit did not go as planned (foiled by an inkless pen!). So perhaps I will catch up on writing while I head north on the train today. In the meantime, I present you with a mental picture of Thailand:
It is swelteringly, unbearably hot, a word whose meaning my body has forgotten. I raise my wrist to check the time, and even that small movement sends rivulets of sweat coursing down my arms. The searing heat on the top of my head reminds me that I will have a killer burn on my scalp – who thinks to put sunscreen in their hair?!
I’m sitting on a plastic stool in a street kitchen, one of what must be thousands dotting the roads of Bangkok. The posted menu, if there is one, is meaningless to me, written in a swirling and utterly indecipherable script. The air is perfumed with hundreds of spices and the sweetness of fruit: vendors at adjoining stalls hawk mangoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, pomegranate juice, and even coconut milk, sipped directly from a shell in whose top they’ve hacked a small hole with a frightening but deftly-handled cleaver.
The chopsticks slip clumsily between my fingers, which have grown unaccustomed to this unfamiliar mode of eating. The food between them is brightly colored and unfamiliar – dark green verbiage, fiery bits of chili, oddly-colored noodles in a Crayola-colored sauce, chunks of meat of unidentifiable origin. It is sweet, and sour, and spicy, and salty, all at once. I have no idea what it is, but it is delicious.