Monday, March 19, 2018

A Quiet Life in Bangkok

This fresh lobster cost 300 baht, or $9 USD at the fresh market. It is not that large, but it is enough for me and Momma. Her Majesty does not like lobster. 

Momma came home from the market with a frozen lobster, so we shall have lobster and garlic butter for dinner. We are out of garlic, so I took my evening stroll to the street market and I bought seven garlic bulbs from the Chinese gentleman in his stall.

He is old and mixed Thai and Chinese, and he watches his stall wearing no shirt. It is turning to Thai summer soon, and it is getting hot outside. When I am home, I often wear no shirt as well.

Like all Thai agricultural produce, Thai garlic grows large and strong, better than any other garlic that I ever tasted. No fertilizers, no chemicals, nothing artificial touches Thai street vegetables, spices and fruits. Americans pay extra for organic produce. That is the only kind of produce that is sold in Thai street markets.

If you want Monsanto GMO food, you have to go to a grocery store, a big chain. I only buy things like popcorn and peanut butter at such stores. And potato chips. For when I cheat on my diet with salty carbs.

The old auntie on the corner laughs and wai’s to me, she thinks that I am cute, like a dog or a cat is cute. I am the old neighborhood farang, I speak Thai with a lisp, because I no longer have teeth and I rarely wear my dentures, and my ears are too jacked up from gunfire to hear the Thai tones of the language correctly.

My tongue cannot shape Thai consonants accurately, as I was not born speaking this language. I sometimes surprise myself when I speak, as I do not know whether, English, Thai or Spanish will emerge. Sometimes all three happen, and I have to stop and think through what I am trying to say.

The old auntie on the corner probably thinks that I am somewhat crazy. I am sure that she never met a farang like me. She talks up a storm when I sit in her restaurant, waiting as she stir fries street food for me in her wok. You can only get Thai street food on the street. I barely gist what she says to me sometimes.

Momma speaks very good English, she learned it well after eleven years of marriage. I never had to learn Thai, so my Thai is limited to the street markets, to directing taxi drivers, and I know how to make bar girls laugh. I used to watch the news, but I no longer turn on the televisions in our home.

I bought milk, coconut juice and a bottle of Peter Vella rosé at 7-11, taking care to use the 7-11 card correctly, as Momma saves the credits to get free stuff.

Momma likes her wine in the evenings. I am careful to limit myself to just a sip, as I do not want to start that shit again. I have been alcoholic in my lifetime, twice, in fact, and I like wine and beer too much.

I know my pattern: I start out controlled, and I drink everyday a little bit more, until finally I am drinking an entire bottle of wine in the evening, or a whole six pack, or three chilled liter bottles of beer. It is expensive to be alcoholic, and bad for the mind, the liver and the kidneys.

So now I enjoy one sip, no more. And I no longer smoke with coffee. I abuse nicotine gum, I almost always have four pieces tucked between cheek and gum, like I used to do with Copenhagen snuff. I am sure that abusing nicotine gum like this is not good for me, but it is better than snuff, and better than smoking. So say my cardiologists.

Evening is the time for Her Majesty and I to sit in our front garden. She sniffs the plants where the neighborhood soi cats mark them during their night patrols, and she marks them right back herself, so that they know that this is her garden.

Har Majesty patrolling her front garden.

Momma and I put out dry food for the soi cats, they know that they can always come here and get a free meal. But this is the garden of Her Majesty. A lean scarred tom cat came this evening to visit Her Majesty, but I chased him away. I do not want her getting fleas or ticks from a soi cat. She is a princess, after all.

Evening in Bangkok. I open my mind, and all that I hear in my office as I complete this commentary is silence.

This is a good place to live, and it will be a good place for my final hours if I am blessed to pass them here.


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