D: Is my town what you expected?
Me: I expected it to be more in the willywhacks.
D: What is willywhacks? (😆)
Me: It means countryside and sometimes includes a very small town.
I knew from photos that there were other houses on his street but didn’t realize he was right in town. It’s mere steps from the market and the town is much bigger than I expected. It has a lot to offer, even a hospital. As the Universe would have it, we had stayed at the farm when D went to the hospital, which is a couple miles away and not super convenient to get to town.
With D still in the hospital, I had the day to myself so I walked toward town looking for a temple but, of course, found many other interesting sights along the way, including a tank of koi fish, spirit houses (Thai Buddhists believe every home has one or more spirits and you keep them happy by building a spirit home placed anywhere on the property and adorn it with offerings), aromatic jasmine trees, beautiful “rain of gold” trees, coffee shops galore, a botanical garden, and a cafe that looks like a meditation center. I never did get to the temple but found an alter being cleaned by some locals. The emptiness of the day was a great opportunity to read, meditate, and practice yoga on the patio. One would think that after 30+ hours of traveling I would have had my fill of meditation opportunities but the Universe continues to nudge so lovingly, knowing what I need is a good long meditative sit. The more I fight it, the more she insists. I hear you, U.
Do you meditate? If so what got you started? What motivates you to stay consistent? If not, what holds you back?
Later, D’s son drove me to the market to explore, eat, and revel in all that is. It’s Friday night and downtown is festive. People filled the streets eating, walking, shopping, taking selfies. There is so much food from which to choose: miang cam (stuffed leaves- had to have seconds!), meat skewers, mushroom sprouts wrapped in a ham strip, seafood stew, sticky rice on a stick (looks like a popsicle), fried potato slabs, and fruit juices (I grabbed the best tangerine juice of my life, fresh watermelon juice, and finally passion fruit to help me sleep tonight; it’s used in South America to calm the nervous and cardiac systems*). Phew. And let me say: the vendors here are hard working folks! I’m in awe of the hours they put in, the many tasks they juggle, every day. Wow. Check out my instagram for more photos of beautiful, delicious homemade Thai street food.
At dusk the scarlet sun hung in the air, thick with smoke from the jungle fires, shimmering off the Mekong like a beglittered ball gown. A number of market goers rested quietly on the huge hillside steps overlooking the river, like an amphitheater to nature. The energy of this river is powerful- I feel instantly calmed in its presence. A couple hours later, I’ve had my fill and am ready to call it a day.
Other interesting facts:
Before Thailand discovered plastic, banana leaves were used for everything. Did you know:
✅you can line a baking dish with banana leaf to create a nonstick surface instead using oil or parchment? See photo above! No, they don’t burn and they are compostable! Find them in the freezer section of any Asian market. You’re welcome
✅wrapping small leftovers in a banana leaf and pinning it with a toothpick keeps food fresh and eliminates the need for plastic? And when folded properly, it’s waterproof nature keeps moisture in and prevents leaks 🙌🏽
✅instead of garnish, you can cut a square of banana leaf large enough to cover your plate and serve your meal atop the leaf? Not only does it add a nice pop of color but it makes cleanup a breeze. This works great for messy, sticky meals. You could also use them as a placemat in a pinch. Wash them off and reuse!
✅banana leaves are great for making sushi rolls? The nonstick surface doesn’t collect sticky rice so you can roll them up if you don’t have the bamboo roller
✅banana trees produce suckers around the parent plant, reproducing themselves?
✅banana leaves make a great mulch because their waxy, waterproof nature inhibits weed growth? They will take longer to breakdown than non waxy material so you don’t have to redo the mulch as often.
Delivery trucks take many forms here, the most common being motorcycles with a sidecar or a small pick-up with rack body made of piping. It’s the pick-ups piled high with green bananas or a mosh pit of workers heading to the fields or construction sites that pass by all day. And while I understand the value of having folks fastened with seatbelts, I admit it brings waves of nostalgia from my Peace Corps days when it was the cultural norm to hitchhike in the bed of a pick-up and saved me many miles of walking. Can you tell this part of Thailand reminds me a great deal of Peace Corps and Paraguay?
The Thai language is impressive and I’m normally fairly adept at imitating accents but Thai is a challenge for me. On meeting D’s brother and friends, I tried to repeat their names only to see them stifle a giggle and gently repeat it for me, as indication I’d missed the mark. The hard part is that I often can’t hear the differences between my pronunciation and theirs so we all have a good laugh. Have you had this experience?
Soi= alley (side streets are called alleys)
Excuse me= K̄ha anuñāt
Thank you= khap coon
You are welcome = yindí
No= Lek̄ teē
Today may you laugh much and revel in your blessings. And make time to meditate before madame Universe gets bossy.
*note that I am not a healthcare professional and this should not be considered medical advice. Please talk to your doctor before trying something new.
Leave a Reply