A simple life

Yesterday was a rainy day. It rained hard early in the morning but had stopped by the time I decided to head to Makro for some supplies. It’s a trip that takes a little time, first with a quarter-mile walk to the main road, where you wait for the public songtaew taxi.

I’ve brought along my empty backpack and an extra bag, wearing my knee brace in anticipation of the walking ahead, and, of course, have my music in my ears. Oh, and I figured I might need my umbrella, which I’ve had with me since Bali six years ago.

The taxi first makes a stop at the fresh market (Chat Chia) and then another scheduled stop at Hua Hin Hospital. In between on the roughly 5-mile trip, the taxi will stop for anyone waving on the side of the road, or when a passenger pushes the buzzer to stop.

The rain had made it a nice, cool day, perfect for running errands. Shopping was normal and I made it out for less than $60, with meats and seafood good for two dozen meals. When I was finished, however, it was raining, which sort of gets me around to the point of this whole, boring, everyday description. But not yet.

The rain here often is just a large cloud soaring above, so I waited for it to let up. It did. And within 10 minutes I was back on the green songtaew and headed south to soi 80.

And then the rain resumed. And it got heavier. By the time we reached Chat Chia, where you have to change taxis, it was pouring. The connecting taxi was full, however, so I had to wait for the next one.

Funny thing is, though, that the next one was parked right there, Driver had to wait for the next connector to deliver passengers before he could leave, so I just took a seat inside at the back end of the cab and watched the rain.

Just outside the backend of the cab was a covered sidewalk. There was an old man with a baseball cap and a white shirt bearing a dragon motif lounging to one side. But right behind the cab was this old woman.

She was cleaning jackfruit to sell to people switching from one taxi to the next, as I was doing. I bought some one time long ago, but I had never really noticed her and what she was doing. This was not a photo-taking trip and it was raining heavily, so I didn’t have my camera (or phone), which is a shame because the picture in my mind is iconic.

She sat at a dilapidated-looking wooden table, on an equally dilapidated-looking wooden chair. On the floor in front of her was a large plastic bucket, where all the ‘trash’ parts of the fruit were sent. A jackfruit, splayed open, lay flat on the table. She used a 6-inch knife that she constantly coated with what I believe was coconut oil. Also on the table were two bowls of cleaned fruit, an occasional fly stopping to taste it.

We waited for at least 10 minutes for the next taxi, so I was able to watch this woman clean a number of fruits, first trimming the ends and then pulling off the fiber attached to the fruit. The final step was cut the seed out. What would take me at least a minuted took her maybe 10 seconds.

She sells her fruit for 10 baht (30 cents) for maybe 6 pieces. But the fruit provides her with at least 16 servings, so she makes a little money. A woman who got on right after me bought about 60 baht worth. It’s a good snack food, tasty and nutritous.

I imagine this woman wakes at 4 every morning from her mat on the floor of probably a two-room flat. She then goes wherever she is buying her fruit, before heading to her ‘spot’ outside the market and at the taxi exchange area. I would bet she is there by dawn and stays until dusk, if not later. A couple bowls of rice with a small protein serving of some kind her daily meals.

She seemed happy while she cleaned the fruit, however, chatting with the old man and others who passed by. It’s really all she can do.

Anyway, the taxi finally left, as the rain came down harder. By the time we reached my stop, the streets were flooding. And I had to cross over Petchkasem Road, the 4-lane main road bisecting Hua Hin. Did I mention it was raining hard. Also, there was lots of traffic.

Finally, figuring the rain wasn’t going to let up, I left my cover in a storefront, umbrella overhead, and safely made it across, where on the other side I was met with ankle-deep water. It got deeper, but I made it back, thankful I had at least anticipated by bringing an umbrella I hardly ever use.

From my Hua Hin Expat News:

How to cut and clean a jackfruit

jackfruitYou can’t miss the jackfruit around town. It’s obviously in season. The big, ugly greenish fruit can be found at many street vendors, either whole or cleaned and ready to eat.

Usually, the fruit is eaten raw, but often it is cooked. In Indonesia, they make a delicious, almost meat-like dish with it called gudeg.

When you first look at the unopened fruit, however, you can be forgiven for not knowing what to do next. We found a video for you showing the best way to cut and clean a jackfruit.

VIDEO


Durian’s odorous prcesence strong in Hua Hin

Yesterday we offered a brief video on how to clean a jackfruit, a favorite Southeast Asian delight. Today, we look at the Durian, which is also in season, as evidenced by the myriad of vendors offering it along the streets.

DurianOften called the “king of fruits”, the durian can grow as large as 30 centimeters long and 15 centimeters in diameter, andweigh one to three kilograms. It’s pungent odor is called either pleasantly sweet or very unpleasant, and has been described as rotten onions, turpentine, and raw sewage. The odor is so strong that it has even been bannded by some hotels and public transportation.

Native to Southeast Asia, the durian was described by 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace  as “a rich custard highly flavored with almonds”. The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and it is used to flavor a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked.

VIDEO

 

 

 

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Honoring Thailand’s departed king

Thai’s highly revered their king, who died late last year after 70 years in the role. He was mostly a ceremonial king, albeit one who did a great deal for his country – and the lower economic classes – through various programs and incentives.

Anyway, it was extraordinary how the Thais reacted to his passing. A one-year mourning period was put in place, with government employees required to wear black during this time. There was a one-week period where everyone wore black, even me.

I’m not a big fan of monarchy’s, but to say the Thais loved him would be to highly underrate his affect on the people of Thailand. Everywhere you went, there were tributes. Eight months later, there are still lines of Thais waiting to pay respects to the king daily.

Hua Hin was no exception. Perhaps signifying best how the Thais felt about their king would be the conversion of a mile-long concrete wall in Hua Hin along the roadside into a never-ending mural honoring their king:

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Just another fresh market

I think I’m getting a little jaded by food courts and fresh markets. I’ve been to so many, and I’ve taken so many photograpghs that I find myself disinterested in documenting. But still, I persist.

I had mentioned to Non that I was going to the fresh market (Chat Chia) in the morning for fresh vegetables, and some squid and ground pork. I wanted to recreate a dish she made with pork stuffed in the squid, which is then cooked in a seasoned broth. I had no idea what the other ingredients were, I was just intent on getting the pork and squid.

She had also shared with me a video of ground pork rolled into cabbage leaves, with muchrooms, and then steamed. The pork is seasoned. Looked delicious.

So I was going to Chat Chia the next morning and would not have bought half the necessary ingredients for my two planned meals. Non said “no”, we were going to an evening market that she apparently frequents. Since I did not know how far away this market was, nor the ‘roads’ we would take to get there, I said sure. Where’s my camera?

The farthest south I’ve been is to her apartment. This was a bit further. And here’s the thing. I don’t like being on the back of a motorbike at all. This trip required a long stretch on a dirt/gravel road, and me without eye protection.

Anyway, we made it to the Wa-Nah Market, ‘it’ being a large area devoted to foods of various kinds. It operates in an otherwise empty lot from 3-8 pm. Fruits were in one area, seafood in another, veggies in another. The frogs were in the seafood area. There was also plenty of prepared food for takeaway. I only took a few pictures, trying to find hidden gems.

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ribbitt, ribbitt

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skin on, skin off

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pig intestines anyone, and yes, that’s the actual skin of a pig in the background

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or, how about a pig heart, left, or liver, right. Think I see a kidney in there, too

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What a life for a little girl

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Had to fill up the space somehow

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