i am the puddle of sweat formerly known as babita.
before booking a trip to an exotic location, you’d think the first thing on the to-do list would be to check the weather and figure out the best time of year to go. and if that happened before boarding the thailand-bound plane, i definitely would not have gotten on. cause it would have been discovered that thailand has 3 seasons: hot, hotter & mind-meltingly hot. and april is the HOTTEST month of the mind-meltingly hot season. now check the date, folks. and now, take pity on me. take pity on the puddle formerly known as babita patel.
now that we’re outta bangkok and into the northern hills of thailand, it has just gotten hotter. so i’ve spent the past week hopscotching from one sliver of shade to the next. from standing in front of one oscillating fan to the next. fantasizing about my next shower. and please, if i don’t make it home, send in the army, navy, US coast guard, anyone to clean up the spill that is bp.
and now for a vocab lesson. thai means freedom. the king changed the name siam to thailand (“land of freedom”) to reinforce the pride of being the only southeast asian country never to be ruled by a foreign nation. pad means stir. so pad thai means stir freedom. kinda funny in a sweet way. and somehow makes the act of congress to change french fries to freedom fries seem even more absurd.
and i firmly believe every restaurant in thailand has only 1 chef. cause meals come out 1 at a time. so to feed a table of 8 people, it takes a good 2 hours. and you’d think you’d want to be the first one to get served at your table. but not really. cause by the time the last person gets served, the first person to get served is usually hungry again. and you’re completely outta luck if another big group gets to the restaurant seconds before you. cause they work on a first come, first serve basis. but last night, went to a five star restaurant. could tell the rating cause 2 meals came out at a time. meaning 2 chefs.
or maybe restaurants have multiple chefs, but just one pot. hmmm….
now, it’s time for me to go sit on a block of ice.
spent the morning at an elephant farm. elephants are incredibly sweet, gentle, intelligent, playful giants. they just want to eat & make friends. and if they get a good mahout to take care of them, they can live 75, 80 years. usually outliving their owners.
i shook hands with an elephant today. and by hands, i mean my hand to his trunk. after which he sneezed on me. little friendly advice. if given the choice of getting sneezed on by a horse or an elephant. pick the horse. always. pick. the. horse. i know. i now have experience with both encounters. go with the horse.
cause A: a lot more comes out when an elephant projectiles. and 2: elephant snot is goopier. so as it slides down your arm, it leaves a slimy track on your bare skin. which is actually rather convenient. you know exactly where to scrub the bleach. and whether you missed a spot.
i also rode on an elephant that meandered thru a river. there’s nothing like looking down, seeing a brown spherical object float by, pointing and exclaiming “oh look, a coconut!” only to have the response be “that’s not a coconut.”
have to start off by saying that any airline that got rid of their smoking section–which should be every airline by now–should convert those areas into no-kids sections. there’s nothing worse than a kid screaming for 14.5 hours out of a 15 hour flight. actually, correction. the only thing worse than a kid screaming for said 14.5 hours is her mother SCREAMING in mandarin for said 14.5 hours for said kid to stop screaming for said 14.5 hours. and if this no-kids section offends parents out there, deal with it. i don’t have a kid cause i don’t want do hear him screaming for 14.5 hours. what makes you think i want to hear a stranger’s spawn scream for the aforementioned 14.5 hours?
that said, bangkok is a beautiful, clean, modern city. almost surprisingly so for an overcrowded, tropical, aisian metropolis. the taxis come in all colors too. magenta, electric blue, canary yellow, kelly green, fire engine red, bright orange. the fun comes from trying to decide which color taxi to take that day. much like the fun in trying to decide which color underwear to wear that day.
there are political demonstrations going on right now. the red shirt party has taken over huge sections of bkk, creating huge traffic jams. although it’s all super organized and peaceful. the rallies feel more like st patrick’s day parades, minus the debauchery. everyone is smiling & waving & cheering. even the ladyboy protesters.
their grievance…the ex-prime minister took all the taxpayers’ money and skipped off to london to spend it all. obviously, he no longer has his job in this country, but the protesters want him back in power. course if he sets foot in thailand again, he’s going straight to jail, so the red shirt party isn’t going to get what they want. but hey, they’ll keep protesting. mainly cause the ex-pm is paying each demonstrator 500 baht per day of protesting. not a bad gig for a farmer who only makes 50 baht per day. that’s a buck 66 in american speak. it’s nice to see another country’s political whims reach levels of absurdity that match our own. wonder if the tea partiers know they got a raw deal by not having bush pay them for all the ruckus they create?
now it’s off to the north, where rumor has it the morning temps reach a cool 103 F.