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Tuesday, 01 May 2007

Can you Spare a Square? - Page 2

Written by Sherry Ott
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Have you seen the Sienfeld episode, “Can you Spare a Square”? In Sienfeld they were talking about toilet paper - however in Thailand - I’m referring to a napkin. Thailand has this weird mix: the spiciest food, and the smallest napkins. This may not seem like an issue, however, when your sinuses are running like a faucet due to the spicy food; you need more than a tiny napkin.

 

drinksI knew the authentic food could be found at the night markets where the vendors cooked food on the streets, but all ‘western’ tour guides tend to steer you away from these places. They serve raw vegetables, they wash the veggies in their local water, and they have questionable health standards. I felt that over my last 4 months of travel, my stomach was slowly being trained to fight off evil bacteria that US standards would frown upon. At least I told myself this, knowing that what I was really doing was playing Russian roulette with my intestines. However, my feeling is that if you want to experience a different culture, then you have to eat the food.

 

With this new food mission, I left Chiang Mai and headed towards Pai on the local bus. Like most local bus routes, it was a test in patience and a test of your motion sickness gauge. Utopia is what many people called this town, which was pretty accurate. It had a beatnik feel and was full of coffee shops, little galleries, live music, bars, Thai tourists, and a night market (bring on the real food!). It was Thailand’s version of the East Village in NYC. I loved the fact that there were so many tourists here - mainly because they were Thai young people. There were very few Caucasians and everyone’s English was a bit choppy which finally forced me to learn ‘hello’ and ‘Thank you’ in Thai, the staples of any language! There were so many things I liked about this town - one was the prices. A typical menu of prices in Pai (US $):noodles

Room with hot shower - $10

Bottle of water - $.30
Beer $1
1 hour massage $5
Load of laundry - $1
Dinner and drinks for two - $7


cookI never wanted to leave Pai. Every night I would go out and try new food - sometimes in restaurants, but more often than not, on the streets. I was moving one step closer to a Teflon stomach. I was still a bit timid - but for the times when I wasn’t feeling adventurous, there was always pad Thai. I would take my little one-ply napkins and wander down the street looking for new food to sample, blowing my nose like a wimpy foreigner.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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