No Sapicey Please

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Just how much heat can one put on the table? Plenty, as long as it stays on the table and not on my plate.

I do test myself on occasion, my limit is about one third of a red hot Thai chillie pepper. It’s enough to judiciously spank the tongue three or four times, spread eagled out over the course of a meal.

That’s about what you see on this decadently fatty dish of crispy fried pork with basil over rice.    I’m so grateful the family run Ran Nong Som restaurant knows exactly how spicy I like it.  Btw, they’re a sweet Cambodian family and it’s on Jomtien Beach Road, a few doors past Soi 3.

Many places, due to language differences or spite, will get it wrong and make it more spicy. Like the sweet chili fried fish I had in Bangkok last week. A perfectly good whole fish crispy fried but then smothered to death in a sweet pineapple tamarind sauce that must have had at least 30 of the satanic little devils.

Cheapskate that I am and not wanting to waste an $8 investment, I gulped a swig of Singha and jumped into the fire. Four heroic bites later and I was begging the Lord Buddha for compassion and mercy. A plate of plain rice and two Singhas later and my mouth is still ablaze by the napalm. I won’t even go into the ensuing violence on the throne back at the hotel.

It’s not a good idea to send a dish back in Thailand, especially at the budget eateries because it causes loss of money and face. You might end up with a spit loogie, cigarette ash, or cock roach in your food. Or they will try to twist it around and ask then why did you order spicy? The waiter or the cook most likely will be docked for the error unless you graciously apologise for misordering.

The most important Thai words to know when ordering:

ped  =  spicy

Ped nit noy  =  just a little bit spicy

Mai pet  =  no spicy

Be sure to add ka (if you’re female) or krup (if you’re a male) at the end. It means thank you please ten thousand times, and shows that you’re polite and classy.

Here’s more on ordering spicy foods in Thailand from the fabulously informative “Women Learn Thai” website.

It’s an amusing read with audio pronunciations and the comments are hilarious.

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Test Post!

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Hi fans and friends. I’m testing the WordPress app for android. Will it be an easy cruise, or a nightmare?

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It’s a step by step process for me, I’m moving from the horrid self-hosted wordpress.org, over to the hosted wordpress.com. it’s supposed to be easy, or much easier.

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So far, so good. I’m creating this post on my android samsung galaxy s4. For Christmas, I got a nexus 7 tablet Android device. I’m hoping to be able to easily post from both devices while on the road, wish me luck?

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Sincerely,

Me, Jim James, aka PhotoJimSF

Why My Blog Has Been Idle Since June

It’s just too difficult!

This was me this past June

My computer was being too difficult with bugs, viruses, slower than molasses in January, too many update this and reconfigure that, etc. etc. WordPress, already too difficult for the 80% who try it and give up and move on in less than a month, kept coming out with too many new versions which have to be learned each time and then forgotten for the next update.

Cathartic Release

It just got to a point where the frustration was so great, I took it out on my computer mouse with a hammer. Wish I had taken a video of it and posted it, but the above video pretty much sums up my mental state at the time. Destroying that mouse was a cathartic release, it felt so good!

On Strike Since June

Since then, I’ve been on strike against my blog and my computer. My mental state has improved dramatically! I’ve just been posting to my social networks every now and then via my smartphone.

If and when I come up with a solution for this problem, that running a blog and an internet business is just too challenging for anyone with less than a PHD in rocket science, I will return to blogging. Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

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Meanwhile, my sincerest apologies. Please do tune in to my Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Foursquare, and my Flickr to see what I’ve been up to lately?

Sincerely and Thanks,

Photojimsf

The Hand On The Knee Thing — Pattaya

Public Transportation

In December of 2008, a fine young gentleman, Chai, was riding with me on the songtaew (aka baht bus) back to Pattaya, Thailand.  He had just spent the day showing me around the infamous Dongtan Gay Beach.

Thailand 2012 2813 Songkran Jomtien Sonteaw wm

Passengers on this songtaew get drenched at Songkran, the Thai water fight festival. Songtaew means two rows, they’re the blue pick up trucks with two rows of seats in the back with an open air roof covering. They cost ten or twenty baht and follow fixed routes on the main roads. They tend to have at least half a dozen passengers, often crammed at rush hour when a dozen or more squeeze on.

No Touching Please

Public displays of affection are considered impolite, gay or straight, in the Kingdom of Thailand. Yet I noticed in Pattaya, Phuket, and other high tourist areas, PDA’s are quite common between farangs (white foreigners) and locals. So I was tickled, flattered, and embarrassed at the same time when Chai placed his hand on my knee during the ride. What a sweet man, I thought.

I found out later, the hand on the knee thing was about something else. Especially in Pattaya, the world capital of sex tourism. There’s more hookers and moneyboys here than noodles in China! On the surface it appears to be an endearing, charming gesture of affection. It’s really about marking territory, warning potential rivals to keep their fangs off of this mealticket!

Spoon Feeding is OK

I was only crushed for a minute or two. Chai was such a delightful gentleman anyway, showing me around, opening doors, carrying heavy packages for me. He introduced me to new exotic foods, spoon feeding me with delicious mystery chicken and shrimp dishes he’d bring from his favorite street vendors.

That happens to me a lot here, the spoon feeding thing. An editor and travel buddy still talks about the dinner at the famous Babylon bath house in Bangkok. There we were, three of us newspaper muckety mucks, and a gorgeous bombshell on the half shell I had met in the “Garden of Secret Delights”. Live jazz tickled our ears. The waiters, fully decked out in formalwear waited on us hand and foot, the four of us just barely covered with bath towels. My geisha of the moment didn’t speak English, or even decent Thai. But he compensated by peeling and spoon feeding me succulent prawns. It was quite the performance.

Why just today, Ran, my current on and off again main squeeze for five years now, spoon fed me some delicious tom ka gai. That’s mushroom, chicken, and several other non-edible to farangs tree stumps, grasses, and spices, swimming in a coconut and chicken broth, sweetened with palm sugar. Aloy aloy (yummy).

Let Sleeping Dogs Lay

The boys do tend to hover and wait on you, hoping to keep you “happeee happeee”, and undistracted by all the other moneyboys vying for your attention. Chai was doing a wonderful job keeping me happy until we had an unfortunate misunderstanding about, money. I won’t bore you with the details, it was five years ago and it’s best to let sleeping dogs lay, right?

IMG_20131109_132840 Let sleeping dogs lay inst

I’ve seen him in Sunnee Plaza on every trip since then, but it was on this trip that we finally sat down and spoke. I was cruising Sunnee again and saw him lounging in one of the beer gardens. He looked great! I waived and wai’d and then moved on, as I had before.

Honor The Good

Five, ten minutes later and I’m still thinking about Chai. Mostly about all the nice times we had. Wouldn’t it be nice to honor that, and let go of the one unhappiness that ended it all?  I turned back, almost racing, to see if he’s still there. He was! I gave him a big smile, and a big hug. And offered him a drink. He graciously accepted, and seemed glad to see me, and that I finally spoke.

11-20-13 Jomtien Curlie-cue flirt 005 Chai adj v sf wm

Still Looks Great

Did I say he still looks great? There he is in a red Ralph Lauren shirt (probably fake), more manly, a bit more filled out, five years has been kind. He still doesn’t speak much English, and my Thai is even more limited. But he did share that Howard’s Guest House was gone, Replaced by a high rise luxury boutique hotel that caters to Muslims.  Howard’s was where I stayed and he worked, and where we met five years ago. Here’s Chai back then:

4-8-2008 jimpix 006 Thailand Pattaya Chai adj sh v sf wm

The Hand On The Knee Thing Again

There’s not much more to talk about after a minute or two of exhausting our miniscule shared vocabulary. But we did sit rather close on the pillowed rattan love seat, looking and smiling at each other a lot. And then the hand on the knee thing, lol.

Mission Accomplished

Five or ten minutes of hands on knees, with a few grabs here, there, and elsewhere, and our drinks are done. I pay the bill, and give him a fat tip. Neither of us brought up the past, nor the future (meaning I didn’t book him for a date, and he didn’t give the sales pitch). A nice long, affectionate embrace, a hand shake, many thank you’s, and I’m out of there. Mission accomplished: I can now think of Chai in a much nicer way. I really enjoyed myself, I hope he did too. All is forgiven (but not forgotten).

More of Jimbo’z Fairy Tales From Afar

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Krap khun krap,

Jimmeee

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3 A.M. Muni Melodrama :: Shenpa Spiritual Training

Watch Me Lose It

Watch as this divine supreme teacher is sent to help me zero in on my “Shenpa”. Bull’s eye, this time. Normally, I’m a chill, content, charming, happy go lucky kind of guy. But every now and then, even I, sweet little ole me, am tested to the point of losing my cool.

What led up to this?

For ten minutes this skanky, cracked-out, possibly homeless, nothing left to lose kind of drag queen had been propositioning, panhandling, then mocking, and harassing just about every person waiting at the bus stop on the way home from the Castro Friday night.

She gets on without paying, and proceeds to annoy anyone near her. I go sit in the back as far away as I can get, behind a 30’s ish couple of European tourists who are OBLIVIOUSLY having a two way video chat via their smartphones with friends from the homeland. They did not speak fluent English.

When is somebody going to check this bitch?

The monstress with the snake hair assumes they’re taping HER and her annoying rants, so she threatens to snatch their phone and slap them upside they haed. They have no idea what she’s saying, but they’re starting to figure out something’s wrong. Wow, I’m thinking, when is somebody going to check this bitch? That’s when I whip out my cheap ass $50 Getto PCS smartphone and start taping this tawdry yet instructional reality TV mini-sode.

So!

Right after, as soon as I get home, I google my favorite Buddhist guru, Pema Chodren, and find this enlightening video. It helped me calm down, digest, and understand what just happened.

Buddhists claim that “a spiritual friend is someone who’s job it is to insult you”. This helps you get to know just what sets you off, shuts you down, or gets you hooked. So I’m just oh so grateful to have met my new spiritual friend, who taught me that I really have issues with loud mouthed skanky bitches who just won’t shut up.

I’m looking forward to watching this video over and over and over (ha!), getting to know my Shenpa, and think about ways I could introduce more compassion in similar circumstances down the rocky OR the yellow brick road called life.