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Bagnkok, Thailand. The never-ending, for sure!! (Part Four)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Each stop along the river became more interesting than the next. What began to take over, was the unfailing continuation of hunger pains. We are in Thailand, so it's time to eat as the Thai's do!! I began strolling down some side streets and along shops, trying to find a good place to eat. I have eaten Thai food many times in the states, but I wanted to experience the real thing, in Thailand. After about ten minutes of searching, I found exactly what I was looking for. An older, thin and weathered looking "Grandma" type was leaning over her somewhat overused Wok. The front of the small cafe was all open and a few rustic and cheap plastic table/chair sets were scattered about. There were a couple of local customers sitting and eating, but they stopped as they watched the two Americans approach the Wok station. The burner and Wok were almost out on the sidewalk, but elevated a bit by a makeshift counter. There was a hand written sign in Thai, which listed available dishes. I believe there were five.
Note: unfortunately, I didn't take photos of the cafe, so I just added some shots of the area to this post.

The Street where we looked for our cafe

Obviously, I couldn't read anything on the menu, and our little old lady of the cafe, didn't know English. However, all was not lost. I knew the magical words that all Thai food loving people know.."Pad Thai". Yes, my favorite dish of the Thai genre. I said these words out-loud and simply pointed to something on the posted menu, trying to look like an old pro. I could have been pointing at squid brains and pig's toes, but nonetheless, our friendly matron repeated those familiar words and pointed us to a selection of seating. She managed a slight smile as she began to rustle around in plastic bins and boxes. We managed to point to a bottled water and were served promptly. The locals continued to sip their noodle soup and looked at us every chance they get, without seeming obvious. I smiled and nodded.

The street where we looked for our Cafe

I only wish that I had taken photos of our eating place, but I think it would have been awkward under the circumstances. After all, we were really in a tourist area and I didn't know if it would be rude or not. So, after clicking and clanging on the Wok, the older woman brought over two wonderful, hot and steaming plates of Pad Thai. For those of you who don't know, Pad Thai is generally Noodles stir-fried in a Wok with oils, egg, seasonings and generally garnished with peanuts, green onions and bean sprouts. However, there are many types of Pad Thai and the recipe can change dramatically. So, as she sat the plate down in front of me, I took my fork and picked through it to make sure the recipe hadn't changed since I last ate it. Believe it or not, there was squid...but the kind I like.

Locals shopping on the street

This dish was amazing, I we ate our meals completely and quickly. We were still sweating from the constant heat and humidity that poured in from the open cafe, but the bottled water helped. I got up to pay and our friend wrote down a total bill of about $2 U.S. for two people with bottled water. Can't beat that can you? So, I gave her about five dollars worth of Thai money and she began trying to make change, but instead I bowed with a "Wai" (prayer formation which shows respect and thanks) and we left with a smile. See, I'm not so cheap all the time. LOL

Walking back to the pier after lunch

It took us a short while to catch the next boat at the pier. Finally it came and we rode up the river, but waited until another interesting stop, in fact, what caught our eye was a small cafe that sat over the water and people were digging into their meals as we pulled up and jumped onto the pier.

Cafe off of the next pier stop

"I'm hungry" I said to Billy, who immediately decided he was hungry too. Feeling like a piggish American, it had only been about 15 minutes since our last meal. However, Pad Thai was like mana from the heavens and in great abundance everywhere we went. We rushed in and sat down at an empty table. The warm sun was shining in through the open windows, but not uncomfortable. This time, our waitress was also an older woman. She wasn't in too good of a mood. I think it was family run, since there seemed to be a couple of daughters and one older female cook. She took our order of...Pad Thai...quickly and slunked off. I swear she rolled her eyes, but it didn't take long to figure out why.

Literally, right behind us, sat four blond valley whatever. Yes, they were loud, probably on their break from college and spending daddies money. Okay, I don't know for sure that it was daddies money, but they were drunk. "Another beer here!!" one of them yelled across the cafe to the waitress. Yes, it was definitely an eye roll this time. "I'll have one too!", another giggling girl yelled. Pad Thai and drunk Sorority girl was exactly why I came to Thailand (heavy sarcasm). Finally, the meal came and we ate and ate with joy. The food only seems to get better each time.

Another street in Bangkok

After finishing our meal, we sat at the table and watched as one of the girls got up to go to the bathroom. The bathroom was a small door which opened from inside the dining area. Valley girl #1 looks inside and says "ICK!!...I think I'll wait..till, like..we get back to the hotel". So Valley girl #2 rushes over and looks also..."OMG...that nasty". Our waitress was not pleased and tried hard to ignore the insults. Billy, decides he's going to get up and use the restroom at this point, regardless of what was in there. He looks, closes the door and comes out a few minutes later. Valley girl #3 is now standing outside of the bathroom door and has to go potty. Too many beers to wait until she get's back to the Ritz. So, Billy proceeds to open the door again and shows her the small hole in the floor. In addition to the hole, there is a small wooden basin off water on the floor that has a hose trickling into it and a ladle for dipping. It was simple...squat, pee, ladle and leave. Apparently willing and able to follow these instructions, VG#3 rushes in and closes the door behind her. Billy and I paid our bill, walked out and began walking down the small street. "I'm hungry, are you?".

To Be Continued...


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