Monday, March 9, 2009

Things I've Learned in Thailand

(transcribed, as always, from my wonderful little notebook)

1. Always carry a book. You never know when you're going to be left in a car, field or neighbor's house for 40 minutes without warning.

2. Avoid copious consumption of bananas and sticky rice. Sometimes you won't even know you're eating them - they may be hidden in banana leaves or coconut. But they're everywhere. And lethal.

3. Ant eggs are as gross tasting as they seem.

4. Always accept rides from strangers in your neighborhood, lest they tell your host family that you're ungrateful and/or hostile.

5. When in doubt, wai and smile.

6. A little air pollution builds character. A lot of air pollution must be doing me wonders.

7. Kittens are not cute. They are, in fact, rabid.

8. Coming to Thailand with blonde hair is an open invitation for anyone and everyone to touch it/smell it/ drape it over their own heads.

9. I'm currently sitting in a car while 2 men try to change the tyre and my host mother won't let me out. This is totally normal.

10. I am the spitting image of both the Mona Lisa and Princess Mary of Denmark.

11. Stop signs are optional. Honking your horn will suffice.

12. Life is a gastrointestinal rollercoaster.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ant Eggs. *shudder*

Ah. Today was the day I've been dreading since my arrival in Thailand. ANT EGG DAY. ugh.

I have been hearing from my friends over the past few weeks about their experiences being served ant eggs; I was hoping that my family would have done so by now if they intended to do so, but I don't seem to be quite so lucky. I shouldn't complain, really, as ant eggs are quite expensive and considered a true delicacy in Thailand; yet for all my attempts to relinquish my cultural prejudices, I seem to draw the line at consuming ant eggs.

However, that line wasn't mine to draw. So, tonight, for dinner, my mae was incredibly excited that she was able to afford enough ant eggs to serve them for dinner. She prepared them in three different dishes and from each one their luminescent coats taunted me as I plunged forth with my apprehensive spoon.

Ant eggs resemble maggots and if they're disconcerting when peering out from an otherwise fantastic omelette, it's nothing to how they look before being cooked. Mounds of ant eggs are swarmed my their parents, scuttling around and tending to their precious young. It was somehow tragic to watch my mae plucky them off so we could thrust their offspring into an expectant pot of boiling water. But, much to my chagrin, the fried chicken, which is usually served with all our meals, was painfully absent this evening. So I had no choice but to take my fill of the egg-laced dishes before me. The dishes were actually quite tasty, though I'm not sure what the eggs actually taste like, as I swallowed them immediately to prevent myself from gagging. (Luckily, their maggot-like consistency makes them easy to hawk down without chewing.) Though, it took all the strength I could muster not to scream as I bit down on one of them accidentally. In my shock, mostly at the worm-like texture of the egg, I didn't process the flavor of the exploding larva in my mouth; instinctually, I reached for my class of water and began gulping in fervor.

Somehow, I managed to eat my way through enough of the dishes to convince my mae that I was appreciative of her generous gesture. (Though, I don't think she knows that soon after I vomited, little to my surprise!) All I can say now is that at least I've tried them and can say for certain, that they're better than deep fried crickets!!