Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In Search of Saparot

Ok, so I've fallen a bit behind. Karen and I have been on the go a lot in the past few days as we are in the Southern Islands and we've been trying out several different spots. We are more settled now, but I'll get to that. First, back to Bangkok! The day after temple-ing, we met up with Kira and Wallace, friends from Pomona who were en route to Myanmar (Burma).

We didn't really know what to do so we aimlessly wandered around the streets of Bangkok for a bit. As is usually the case, we stumbled into somewhere we never would have found or seen if we stuck to our guidebook (if you're curious, it's Lonely Planet's Southeast Asia on a Shoestring, often referred to on the "packpacker trail" as the Bible or simply "The Book.")

We were trying to find a view of the river. We found it, but it didn't merit a photo because we also found this huge local vegetable and fruit market that may have also functioned as a distribution center. There were huge vats of curries, fried fish and stir-frys for sale, as well as stands that specialize in chili peppers, garlic (separated into buckets by clove size), or durian (the spiky green fruit, see photos below).

We also met a very nice pineapple seller in a purple hat who both taught us how to say "pineapple" in Thai ("saparot" with the 't' almost silent. Knowing how to say this sometimes earns us extra fruit with other vendors!) and also showed us her well-practised technique of cutting the pineapple preserves most of the fruit and turns it into a delicious yellow spiral-cut lump. Pineapple vendors sell bags of the stuff on virtually every street in the city for 10-20 baht, or 30-60 cents, and they all cut pineapple very very quickly! Karen and I carry a big red knife in our bag, which sounds menacing but is really just for cutting fruit, so I am going to learn the technique.

That night we met up with Pon, who is also an ex-Payden & Rygel employee. He now works for the Bank of Thailand. Pon gave us directions to this awesome open-air restaurant that sat right on the river in the middle of the city and right under this soaring yellow suspension bridge. He brought with him four other people, mostly people in his IR program at Johns Hopkins. They were really cool, and one of them may set us up with her contacts in Chiang Rai (northern Thailand) to teach English for a few days to middle school kids there. The food at the restaurant was far less impressive than the view, and about 4 times more expensive than the street food we have been living on. Still, it was a nice evening. After dinner, Pon tried to take us to one of the skyscraper rooftop bars that Bangkok is famous for, but our little group was denied entrance because Karen and I were wearing flipflops. oops! I was worried that would happen, but there was not much we could do because our other shoes are running sneakers!

This is me outside the restaurant. You can see the bridge in the distance. It was beautifully lit up at night.
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1 comment:

  1. Dana!

    Enjoying your posts. Liz also traveled throughout Thailand a few years ago. She also visited the south islands after Bangkok and then Chang Mai. Can't remember which island, wasn't one of the popular ones. I'll get her connected to your blog. much love,
    A. Susie
    PS Love the shoe story, if you can't wear flip flops, do you want to go there?!