Sunday, 9 July 2017

Bangkok Day 4: Eating well, Climbing the Golden Mount, and hunting for alcohol

 I get up at 3 am again.

Renovate this and you have the tourist district of Hoi An or Luang Prabang 
 At 6 am I walk the street towards the Golden Mount again and right after the intersection find a cookery/eatery with no walls towards the street.  It's already busy at this hour and the smell that my nostrils detect tells me why.
Sunrise with the new King
 Walking down never-walked streets and keeping one's eyes open has its benefits:

 On the way back to the hotel I stop by the eatery and for 55 Baht (US$ 1.60) I get a large Styrofoam take-out container with rice and some meat and spices.

 Back at the hotel I realize what a good idea that was.  This is the best meal I've eaten since coming to Thailand 4 days ago.  Those spices !!!!  And you can get it at 6 am !

8 am
No excuses today! Today I am going to climb the Golden Mount!

I was wondering when I would find them.   No country that I feel so comfy in is without them ;-)

I'm getting closer !

and closer
and closer

Now the following is particularly interesting.   There are 4 pots that promise various benefits:  Healing of disease, healing of anguish, all the way down to absence of suffering ! And you're supposed to stand at the edge of the pool and throw coins into the respective pots.

Is THIS where the monkeys come from?

Talk about needing plastic surgery around the eyes !

Yes on Tuesday the Buddha lies down.
I thought I was at the top and so I almost missed the following sign (it's kinda hidden)
which would have been a shame !

The people below pay 100 Baht to carry a bunch of folded orange cloth on a shiny platter clockwise around the Wat.  I would do the same if I had ANY idea what it means.  But since I'm clueless, I refrain.

The small bowl contains a stapler and pens.   The stapler's purpose should be obvious; the pens are used to write your grievances/desires (?) on the dark red table-cloth.

Again, I would love to know more:  People dong the gong 3 times LOUDLY, which is usually followed by a shy Namaste gesture.   Should I come back tomorrow to dong the gong?

Brilliant Ramps !

... another offering ...

I'm back at the hotel just after 9 and by 10 I'm ready for another nap.


Time to have my banana/Nutella/croissant creation for the 2nd time.   During my meal I'm witness to how brutish and loud Westerners can be.  
This baby (about 2 meters long) is waddling around right below my balcony 

3 pm?
Darned. I worked too long and I missed the booze-selling time window at 7-Eleven again. 9 am – 2 pm and 5 pm to late.   When I try to order a white wine at the Channel Restaurant around my corner, I’m informed that they’re out of white AND red wine.  But they offer me a beer. 

Not quite my thing, so I head towards Khaosan Road.  
I meander through the streets with clothes vendors and finally find a shirt I’ wear.   I’m back in the pretty but touristy curvy street with the green trees and the street vendors.  I look at the menus in va I try for wine again.  NO white wine or red wine !  WTF?   I’ll take a beer then.  NO beer ! WTF? WTF? WTF?  I ask the waitress whether it’s the wrong time of day or whether a holiday prevents them from selling beer today.  Her answer : NO alcohol.   Yeah, I got that, but WHY and for HOW LONG?, I insist.  NO alcohol ! 

Oh WHAT-EVER !!!!, as George would have exclaimed just before throwing a tantrum.   I leave.

Hang on, didn’t they offer me beer in the Channel Restaurant? 

Back there I walk. Eleven is not allowed to sell it during the same time period.
 I double-check this time: Can I have a beer?   YES!   The waitress who denied me the wine earlier then informs me that because of the holiday yesterday AND today NO alcohol must be served.  And apparently 7-

My beer on Asalha Puja

Wow, what a stroke of luck that I had bought TWO bottles of wine the day before yesterday.  I hadn’t even noticed that yesterday was a DRY day, LOL.
My beer arrives.   In a cappuccino cup, LOL.   And YES, the name of the restaurant has been altered to protect the guilty ;-)  But try to get booze in a restaurant in Canada at a time when it is prohibited by law!
ACTUALLY, I’ve brought my own Rose wine in a pink grapefruit juice bottle to an unlicensed restaurant on Commercial drive and they brought me a juice glass to drink it from know full well what was in that plastic bottle.  
And COINCIDENTALLY, it was a THAI restaurant ;-) 
It’s just a sign!   or as the Dalai Lama says ‘Know all the rules so you know which ones you can break’.
Or as my accountant says ‘I’m trying to stay away from Anglos’.  Sticklers and rule-followers!

And I realize again how LUCKY I am to find this part of the world and how lucky I am to spend a significant amount of time here.
WOW.  Dead CAT?

Nope. Dead Monitor Lizard
While the illegal beer fires up my thinking apparatus, I also notice how tourists (and travelers ;-( are changing even this part of the city.
Not too long ago it must have been all cheap tiny individual dwellings along this canal.  My guesthouse is already a strong deviation from that, but there are concrete hotels going up RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW at this stretch of canal. 

I’ve only finished just over half of my beer when I notice that I’m getting a bit tipsy.  Time for some food.  They’re out of Fish & Chips today (I know: shame on me, LOL, but then I also know that standard boring Western fare can be truly exciting if prepared in Indochina), so I order a Tuna sandwich with fries.  

And my hunch was not mistaken.  None of that mayonnaised-down Tuna you know.  And that’s not only because of the ground white pepper I add to the Tuna and the substitution of chili hot sauce for ketchup.  The sandwich is not quite as good as the one I had on Koh Rong, but it comes close. 

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