Living in a country like Thailand, or Indonesia, is often about improvising, or adapting. Take for instance a simple task such as making spaghetti.
I have at my disposal an electric wok and now an electric barbecue grill. I bought the latter to cook using a fry pan but I also have other pots, one of which I can use for large, liquid-based cooking, such as spaghetti sauce. But it’s not good for boiling water for, say, spaghetti.
Tonight. I’m trying to make spaghetti with these two options. So, on the grill, I’m making sauce in a large pot that came with the electric hot plate I purchased that doesn’t work. Working pretty good. Tomato paste, water, garlic, onions, ground beef, seasoning. Cooking up pretty good.
For the pasta, I will use the wok, which boils water really well. Incidentally, I need to boil the tap water before using. Which brings me to making instant coffee and iced tea.
I have a hot water boiler for coffee and so far it has been successful in keeping me from getting sick from the water, which I’m told you shouldn’t drink. I keep a supply of bottled water on hand for that. To make tea, I use the coffee water boiler to treat the water before using. So far, so good.
My fishing efforts were suspended for a week due to my Bangkok trip and the recent cold, windy weather, but it’s getting warm again and the gulf has calmed down and warmed up a bit the past few days. But the catching hasn’t improved.
I suspect that I’m in a situation similar to southwest Florida, where the shore fishing is pretty poor this time of year. But the indications are good – more schools of bait, mostly mullet, passing by, and more egrets showing up. Shore birds are usually a good sign, as are the bait schools, as my Florida friends will attest.
Tonight, I walked the 2 blocks to the beach again with some cut bait in hand. And you know, it doesn’t matter so much about the catching, as there you are on a nice beach at the end of the day, having a drink with rock and roll in your ears, and the waves lapping at the shore, the tiny crabs skittering around digging their holes, the breezes cooling you down. It could be worse.
My Thai fishing friend was there as he often is, his rod planted in a sand spike (as I use), while he waded in with his cast net looking for bait. I don’t know his name but he is like any fisherman anywhere, very enthusiastic about talking about fishing. He likes to draw the fish he’s talking about in the sand, usually in full size.
I walked over with my camera to ask if he’s been catching anything, and he said he’s caught two fish this month (I think). One I think was a 10-pound catfish, the other was a 20-pound sting ray. He drew both in the sand. I proceeded to draw an 80-kilo stingray I caught in Florida. He was impressed. I have photos of a couple of fish I caught in Florida (kingfish and drum) that I plan to bring to show him.
They eat everything here, so what we in Florida would consider trash fish (catfish and stingray), they think are great here. Given the fact I’m not catching anything, a stingray would be just fine.
He has shared his bait with me before and pulled out a net of mullet he had caught that was lounging in a small pool. I took a few, at his request, but he insisted I take more. I had my camera and asked if I could take his picture. I plan to have prints made of what you are seeing here to give to him, and if I catch anything he will get my first catch.
I stayed until past sundown. The bait schools multiplied. He was still there when I left.
And about the sand art photos – The beach is populated by small crabs that burrow their holes between tides. The sand they bring to the surface creates these interesting mosaics, so I took some shots of a few.
Today I found a place for passport photos, my final requirement for the next visa step. I’m really ugly. Next up, a meeting with my consultant (4,000 baht/$112) to set in motion the 90-day extension (1,900 baht/$53) and another trip to immigration. Meanwhile, after 3 weeks I still have not received my password allowing me to access my Thai bank account.