I admit it. I am hung-over. Sunday night, which is my Saturday night in terms of my Thai workweek, is a good night for me to drink a bit and let the young man rumble. Rumble young man rumble. It is not as crazy around here on a Sunday night, as say a Friday or Saturday night. It is still festive, and there is a very big open-air market nearby on Sunday night. We are now in high season, which officially started on November 1st, so everyday is festive around here for the next 6 months. If there is any form of entertainment you desire, you can find it here.
I started off my night with a tuk tuk (open air motorized cart) ride to the north side of the Old City for a dinner of stewed pork leg. I then walked back, about 2 miles, to work off the meal and see the sights. Upon returning to my neighborhood, I went to my first bar in Chiang Mai. For the first two weeks here, I had not sat down at a drinking establishment (too busy working, eating and getting massages!). I sat down at a place called Wayne’s World Bar, named after Australian Wayne who bought the place some four months ago. I spent 3 hours on that bar stool, drinking beers, playing a game called Get Four and flirting with the bartender Mon. I was pretty chill after that, and wandered down the street to my favorite massage shop just a block from my hotel where I got a relaxing massage from a tiny bit of a Thai girl name Cathy while I slipped in and out of consciousness, in that kind of wonderful place between being asleep and being awake. Afterwards, I put on my shorts and shirt, grabbed my shoes and walked home barefoot to crash hard on my bed. I laughed all the way home.
I got up early today. I always get up early. My body is wired that way. I took some Advil, drank lots of water and coffee, and starting doing some work while watching the San Francisco 49er game on my computer. My day has been one of work, shopping, and catching up on some Sunday evening TV programs. Before heading out for dinner, I wanted to watch the most recent episode of Homeland. I would have to say it was one of the best episodes of what has turned out to be one of the best programs of the past few years. Wow. What an episode! It left me quite shaken as I headed out for my evening meal.
I ended up at a food cart. I am not sure why I stopped other than I was tired and did not walk to far. I also had a certain curiosity about the type of food this older Thai woman prepares. As you walk the streets here, you see lots of food carts. Some make food I recognize, and others cater completely to local Thai people. This cart was one of the latter, and I suppose I wanted to know what I was missing. As it turns out, I have been missing quite a bit. I approached the cart with a childlike curiosity. Imagine looking at your Grandma, and wondering what she is cooking up in the kitchen.
“Kun chi ari?” That is how you say, “what is your name?” “Nit.” Her name was Nit. “Pom chu Jay.” That is how I say, “I am Jay.” She wanted to know what I wanted to eat. I had no idea. I pointed at a bit piece of pork and said “same same.” She then said something, and I gave her the thumbs up. I had no idea what I ordered. It did not matter. Nit would take care of me. That much was clear. I also used my fingers to indicate very little spice. If I get too much spice, the pain ruins the meal for me, and I suffer terribly the next day. I learned that lesson eating a papaya salad last week. I saw that Nit has a mat placed on the curb of the street for patrons who wanted to eat there near the cart. I thought, how perfect, and sat down while Nit became a whirling dervish of activity. Within 15 minutes, Nit presented me with a bowl of fresh soup and sticky rice on a platter to place on my lap.
If you look up perfection in the dictionary, this soup would be in there. The brown broth was multi layered, with just enough spice to tantalize my palate without punishing it. In the soup I found cabbage, tomato, basil leaves, pork and quite a few mushrooms, which were chewier than most, and very tasty. I began to realize Nit is a wise old Yoda in the kitchen, especially in the way she knew how to mix all these ingredients into a powerfully enticing bowl of soup without even thinking. The force is with her all the way.
From the street, Nit’s stand is non descript, and most people walked by me on the ground there eating my soup, not giving Nit and her particular brand of genius a second thought. This experience reminds me of what a judgmental self-righteous jackass I can be at times. How many Nits do I walk by and miss out on their genius, on their gifts? How much do I miss because I often think I know it all? How much richer can my life be if I remain open to life, rather than closed down? Tonight, being hung-over and a bit slow and lethargic, I was not inclined to travel far for a meal, and felt like sitting on the ground, and there was Nit. The universe resplendently provides: grace, synchronicity, divine guidance and utter joy.
I am humble and grateful once again. Thank you Nit.
About the Author
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