Tuesday, April 19, 2016

To Market, to Market

February 16

We decided to venture out of the old city. Joanna had a tip from the lady at the Coffee Bar that the Warorot Road day market is the place to shop for bargains.

We had breakfast in the garden at the U.N. Joanna’s stomach is still giving her a bit of discomfort, so she had toast. Definitely nothing deep fried. I took advantage of the Irish cultural influence and had baked beans and grilled tomato, along with an egg and toast made from the U.N.’s bakery.

We strolled down the soi toward the moat, and of course, passed yet another stunning temple. I think the name is Wat Dok Eung. Across the street was an empty lot and an old teak house that may be under restoration.

I learned a little about teak houses when we stopped at the Lanna Architecture Center on Rachadamnone Road the other day. The center is an old (maybe 19th century) teak house built on a masonry foundation, so the bottom story is white and the upper is dark brown.

The last private owner was a wealthy merchant family who donated it to Chiang Mai University.

I gather that the king of Chiang Mai lived there at one time. There is a photo on the wall that I believe shows one of the later kings wearing no shirt and Yul Brynner pants, sitting cross-legged on a chair with a sword across his lap. There’s a guy kneeling next to him with an even bigger sword.

According to one of the signs in English, there was a separate king of Chiang Mai until sometime in the 1930s, when the government in Bangkok relieved the royal family here of its civil duties.

They’re apparently still around and keep the family names, but just have no official function anymore.

The house is airy and full of light. There is one bedroom made up in an early 20th century style. The bed has a canopy with mosquito netting, and so reminded me of the bed in Gregory’s villa on Bali.

We sat on the balcony under an awning in the heat of the day, and the breeze evaporated the sweat off my arm.

The teak house in the otherwise empty lot on Moon Muang Soi 5, probably has some history too, but there is nothing we could see to explain it.

Given our attempt last week to cross the street by the moat, we took a tuk-tuk to the market. I just don’t like being bullied by assholes on wheels.

We hailed one car driven by a lady. Next to her sat another holding a baby doll. Until they pulled over, we thought it was a real child. Why she was sitting next to the driver with her feet hanging out of the car, we never did find out.

Not knowing how to pronounce “Warorot,” we showed the driver our map and pointed to the place. OK, that worked. How much? 80 baht. That’s less than $2.50. You can’t close the door of a New York taxi for that.

The ride took only a few minutes before we pulled up at the curb next to a sidewalk crowded with vendor stalls. This is a collision of sensations I’ve never seen outside of Asia.

The locals go here to buy just about anything.

They go there for their groceries–fruits and vegetables, live eels and frogs, toasted bamboo worms, and so forth. Also for clothes, knick-knacks, gold jewelry–lots of gold jewelry so yellow and bright that it looks fake.

Joanna passes. People come up and speak to her in Thai. But I’m a Farang. I wasn’t the only one there, by far, but the mix of local to foreign had shifted significantly from inside the old city, which is a tourist haven. I suddenly felt exotic.

Joanna was looking for silk scarves to give to her sisters and to the lady next door who is collecting the mail. Apparently Thais don’t go to this market to get silk scarves. We saw some on our way out of the market area, but they were overpriced, maybe close to what we’d pay back home.

We wandered through clothing stalls and food markets, and came to the River Ping, the principal river of Chiang Mai City. It was closer than I remembered from the map. At first, we thought we had walked back to the moat, but this is wider, longer, and it bends.

We were standing on a pedestrian overpass, because the roads are so crowded with frenetic traffic that there is little likelihood of crossing at street level. The river carried debris, mostly plastic, on the water, the inevitable sign of heavy population, but otherwise looked almost rural: Green banks, with small boat landings and individual houses with yards. There was a man getting ready to set out in a long, narrow fishing boat.

Behind us, every inch of space was packed with structures, people, and machinery.

We walked around soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells. And there were plenty of them all.

There were colorful umbrellas, Thai flags, live fish churning the water in a pail, a bucketful of turtles, dazzling arrays of colorful fruit and vegetables, both fresh and dried.

I heard all kinds of languages, mostly Thai, I’d expect, but there’s no way to be sure. Tuk-tuks and motor bikes were a constant background soundtrack. Once in a while somebody would have music on a radio. People were haggling. Others were singing out their prices. You learn something every day. This day, I learned “30 baht” is a song lyric.

The smells are the critical thing. You can see moving pictures or stills of a place, but it’s not real till you’ve smelled it. Think engine exhaust, charcoal, curry, fresh fruit, and pungent dried fish. Sometimes in sequence, sometimes all at once. You’ll get an idea of how much fun this was.

We got lost coming back from the river and walked down a wholesale street. We could tell. We had the whole street almost to ourselves.

We came out of there, and I knew I had lost my bearings. We walked to an intersection, but it wasn’t the one I had hoped it would be. There was an arch there, covered in red lanterns and inscribed with golden Han characters.

We walked a little way, and Joanna saw a temple with Chinese writing on it. There was a 7-Eleven between us and it, so I was game to go. We ducked into the store and bought a bottle of water. I also got an ice cream bar because I needed the sugar. We both needed the air conditioning, and although I’m reluctant to admit it, I needed water as much as Joanna did.

The temple disappointed Joanna. She was upset by its condition. She said that the Chinatowns in Bangkok and Chiang Mai lack civic pride. This was the only Chinese temple she has seen in Chiang Mai and they treat it like a dump, she said.

We walked back from the temple and crossed the street. Damn, but that was the very spot where the tuk-tuk had dropped us off. We walked half a block, got another ride, and headed back for a nap.

At dinnertime, we decided to go to the U.N. But first we took a short walk, with Joanna leading. She wanted to test her sense of direction and her understanding of the neighborhood.

Feeling adventurous, she led me out the soi to Moon Muang, turned right and took me to the Tha Pae Gate. She led me past our Soi 1, and remarked how we could get to the bar that way. She led me to the next light, and turned right to the light at the end of that block. Across the street and right again to the U.N. Irish Pub.

I wanted a hamburger, mainly to try the bakery’s bread. The roll was terrific, but the burger seemed to be factory made. So were the onion rings. It wasn’t bad. Indeed, it was OK. But from my experience here, OK food is not going to cut it.

Next time we go there, I may try the quiche or the Irish stew. We’re going to be here for another week, so maybe I’ll get to eat both.

Joanna had a soup with chicken, vegetables, and coconut milk, which one of the waiters recommended as soothing. She ate the chicken, some of the broth, and much of her rice, but she is still not feeling right. She went back to the hotel, while I went to 7-Eleven for a few supplies.

Speaking of supplies, my beer stock is running low, gang.

So I’m going to have do one of the things Santa Claus does:

either harness my reindeer and head over to Clement Moore’s house;

or say Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.


Feb. 16

I think the doll you saw may have been one of the "Luk Thep" dolls that have been covered with some curiosity in Western media over the past month or so:


Monday, April 18, 2016

Hot Time in the Old Town

February 14

St. Valentine’s Day has little influence here. Red Hot Chilli, the restaurant decked out in red for Chinese New Year, is now decked out in red valentines. That’s about the extent of it that I have noticed.

Elsewhere in town, maybe a stray valentine here or there. It just hasn’t caught the Thai Buddist imagination.

As usual, we started the day by going out for coffee and bread to have with breakfast at the hotel.

After that, we strolled through a couple of temple yards, but felt the heat building up fast and went back to the Boonthavon to hide.

I have stopped wearing a jacket and am traveling light, wearing an open shirt over a T. It brings down the number of available pockets, but I can go farther in the heat.

The Sunday Walking Street begins at 4, so we left the Boonthavon about half past.

The Sunday market covers a lot of ground, about four long blocks of Rachadamnone, and the same for the cross street, Propakkloa Road, and a block or two in each direction on Rachapakkinai and the side street by the Three Kings Monument. Some temple yards are involved too, mainly as food courts.

We actually covered most of it. Joanna bought a dress and a scarf, and a cotton pullover with a kangaroo pocket. This is all puckered cotton. The vendors tie it into a knot and stuff it in a bag, and it comes out just fine.

Joanna kept nudging me to buy a pair of loose cotton trousers. She’s concerned because it’s going to be hotter in Cambodia than it is here, so maybe I’ll need to wear different clothes. But I plan to wait until I really need them before I buy anything. I already have more clothes than I need—enough to fill a five-by-five storage cubicle in Clifton. My supply of good vests is running short, that’s all, and I have two in the works.

So far, it seems, I’ve even packed far more clothes than I need here.

As the sun fell, we started to grow hungry. Joanna noticed a sign advertising khao soi, but I explained that there is no way to make that mild. It consists of chicken and noodles in a hot curry made with coconut milk.

According to the sign, it is a northern Thai specialty. I don’t remember seeing it on Thai restaurant menus in New York or New Jersey, so the last time I ate khao soi was probably during my other visit to Chiang Mai, four years ago. But I wasn’t about to take Joanna there.

We found a place a few meters down Jhaban Road that looked disgustingly sterile and advertised “coffee and food.” Besides, the door was closed, which meant the place was air conditioned. It wasn’t the most efficient air conditioning, but it beat sitting outside right then.

Joanna earlier had said she had a taste for spring rolls, and they were on the menu. That and a plate of fried rice with egg were perfect with a Singha. Joanna confined herself to water.

We headed toward the hotel after that, and indigestion hit on the way. I had overeaten and felt a little discomfort. Joanna had it much worse, stomach upset, headache. She woke up next morning still feeling sick and has sworn off fried food forever.

Monday morning all she wanted was a coconut to drink the milk. It is supposed to be soothing for troubled digestion.

We stopped at the U.N., but their coconuts hadn’t arrived yet. We walked along Rathvithi Road and found a place that did have one.

Joanna took it with her up the soi to the Coffee Bar, where I had an Americano.

Joanna didn’t want to eat a thing. The coconut was all she wanted. She was headachy and miserable, so we went back to the Boonthavon for a while.

I had been the one under the weather, either literally or figuratively, and now it was Joanna’s turn. She lay down while I used the computer to catch up on Antonin Scalia’s obit.

After a while, I went out to mail a post card to Karl and Jeanie. Karl likes post cards, and always sends me one when he travels.

First I stopped at the tailor’s shop to try on my new vests, which fit like gloves, so I asked for a little more room, which she said would be no problem. They follow the pattern of a favorite vest that I have pretty much worn out.

The map says there’s a post office not far from the Phra Singh temple. It is easy to find from the Boonthavon: Go down Soi 1 to Rachadamnoen Road (aka Rajadumnern, etc.), and take that all the way to the far end, which faces the Wat Phra Singh. Turn left, onto whatever road that is and continue walking south—but not too fast, or the sun may kill you. Eventually you will see a sign in English for the “national post office.” Go upstairs to the air conditioned room and take a number. Sit and dry off.

The language barrier is easy to cross. I was able to get postage for the card and, after a couple of tries, bought a stamp for another card that Joanna wants to send.

Sunday night on the Walking Street was the farthest distance and the longest time I had walked in days. We had covered all those streets in perhaps three hours.

Friday and Saturday I had been falling apart in less than an hour after a trip around the block. We would get back to the hotel, and the first thing I did was fall into bed and nap.

So of course, now that I was feeling better, it was time to abuse my good health. I mean, what else is it for?

I passed Phra Singh into unfamiliar territory. I was getting thirsty. I wanted a beer. It was prohibition time, between 2 and 5. Some places will and some won’t sell beer then. I remembered what the man at the U.N. said. We put that sign up to please the police, but we sell beer anyway.

But I was nowhere near the U.N., and all I really knew is that my route was the wrong direction to get there. So I calculated, and hoping that all my turns had been 90 degrees, turned right into another unfamiliar street, but at least I was pretty sure it was headed east. The sun was no help. It was practically overhead at that hour. A block or two later, I came to Jhaban Road and was out of the woods.

This is not Harry after being lost. It's an elephant skull displayed in the local history museum in Chiang Mai.

I was hungry, thirsty, and alone. I was a Farang (and still am). Dehydration and hunger notwithstanding, I was exhilarated from having just been lost for a while. You know how it is: if you’re not lost, you haven’t been traveling hard enough.

Then I remembered the khao soi joint that Joanna saw. So I said to myself, Wow, self, let’s see if we can find it. And so I did, talking to myself all the way, about not falling down and how good it felt to do this in the middle of the day and not be dead. And I hoped they would be selling beer.

The shop is on the corner of Jhaban and Intrawarorot Road. I have no idea how to say that, but it is the side street next to the Three Kings Monument.

The lady handed me a menu, but I already knew what to order. I got the big bottle of beer Chang with no hesitation.

The lady put crispy fried noodles into the khao soi. The broth is coconut milk spiced with chilis. There were also soft noodles and a chicken leg in the bowl. The chicken was so tender that chopsticks pulled the meat off the bone.

The soup was sweet, savory, and hot all at once. So there I was—lost and found, consuming fiery goodness, working through two-thirds of a liter of beer in the shade. I felt triumphant.

It wasn’t a long walk to get from there to the Boonthavon. When I came in, Joanna was feeling a bit better, but not all better. She had taken a Chinese herbal remedy, which seems to have done her some good.

I was ready for a nap now, myself.

For dinner we went to the tried and true destination, Eden, right around the corner. The lady, who cooks the Thai food, understands what Joanna wants and gets it right every time, light on the salt, no chilis, but full of flavor nonetheless, so we go there often.

Joanna headed to the hotel straight from dinner, while I went to 7-Eleven for supplies. Our usual yogurt was out of stock, and while the contents are fully identified on the label, the labels are only in Thai. So I asked the girls at the counter for help.

They weren’t familiar with the word “yogurt,” so one of them went with me. I want plain yogurt, no jam, no flavoring. Not sure she got that. I pointed to the blank space on the shelf. This is what I usually buy. That helped.

She showed me two containers of another brand. One label was light blue, the other darker blue. The light blue had sugar, she said, and the dark had none. All right. Kop oon Kop. The dark label is what I want. At least, I think so. I haven’t eaten it yet. That will be the first adventure tomorrow.

And now, as St. Valentine would say, Love to all and to all a good night.


Karma Catches Up

February 12

The heat, or maybe it’s all the energy I have devoted to dissolute living, has finally caught up to me. I’ve spent most of the last couple of days napping, when I haven’t been sleeping.

We went out Friday the 12th to drop off some dirty clothes and to wander.

The lady at the laundry wrote a note with my name, the weight (about 3.5 kg), and the date it would be ready, Feb. 13, ’59.

We have been seeing dates in temples reckoned according to the Buddha Era. This is 2559 B.E. I didn’t realize that was in popular use, too.

I wanted to explore a new part of the old city, in the southwestern corner of the wall. We never got there. It was so hot walking down Rachamakka, that we got as far as an air-conditioned juice bar where we each had mango and guava slushies. That was lunch. And so much for wandering.

One of the high points of the trip was a reminder about the dangers of trying to cross the language barrier with a wise crack. See the photo of the day for details.

We managed to walk albeit slowly all the way back to the hotel, maybe a half mile, where I promptly went to bed and stayed there till dinnertime.

Joanna wanted to go back to the grilled fish place, whose name I have learned is Lert Ros. I was game for that. Those red fish, which I took for red snapper, are listed on the menu as red tilapia. If so, then they are the tastiest tilapia I have ever encountered. Tilapia usually tastes like nothing much at all.

We had that with white rice and an unchilied mixed vegetable. I had a half liter of beer.

It was dark and cooling off, so we took another short walk before calling it an evening.

Next morning, the 13th, we went to Archer’s for an English breakfast. I had that with coffee and no beer. I was just not feeling like a wise-ass so I wasn’t going to fool around with anything.

On the way, we cut through the yard of Wat Pan Ping, one of the 20 or so temples in the neighborhood. It has what I believe is the Lanna roof, a gable on top of a gable on top of a gable. What struck me as different was the blue in the color scheme of the decoration. Red and gold with mirror surfaces are almost universal in the temples.

I tried to photograph it, but couldn’t get the color right. The temple faces east. Maybe it will work if it’s a different time of day.

The yard at Pan Ping is home to a clutch of colorful roosters. Maybe they are rescued fighting cocks. Who knows? Anyhow, one needed to show off a little more than just by running across the yard, and Joanna caught him doing it.

At Archer’s Joanna had a photo challenge of her own. She was fascinated by a wooden bas relief of Buddha’s face hanging high on the wall.

Contrast and available light were low, but I think she came close to getting it with this one.

We strolled from Archer’s a little way to the Coffee Bar, the open air coffee bar in the soi by the U.N. I got an Americano to go, and then it was back to home base.

We didn’t even have the room cleaned. We just took fresh towels and a couple of bottles of water (provided daily by the hotel), and a roll of toilet paper.

Toilet paper, indeed any kind of paper, is at a premium here. They’re about half the size of an American roll and the hotel gives you one a day. One of the first things we did was buy some of our own at 7-Eleven.

We had noticed earlier that the special of the day at Eden was tajine of lamb with prunes. Sounded too good to pass up. We got there around seven, but the tajine wouldn’t be ready till eight.

We went to the U.N. where I asked about dry vermouth and club soda. It tastes like a cocktail but you can drink it when you want to sober up, but they don’t serve martinis there. No Campari, either, but that didn’t surprise me. There are bars in the States where you can’t get that.

I wound up getting a bloody Mary. They let me put in the Worcestershire myself. I haven’t had one of those since that great one with the pickled string beans in New Orleans. That was more than a year ago. Maybe when I get back to New Orleans, I’ll have another.

The tajine was savory and served with boiled potatoes on one side and couscous on the other. The prunes added delightful sweetness that went well with everything, including the mildly spicy lamb gravy.

Too hot for Joanna, though. She had tried a sample of the gravy on a spoon. I didn’t feel any heat, but she did.

The lady at Eden, who cooks the Thai food on the menu, knows what Joanna likes, and served her a kale and chicken dish without chili or salt, but still made it taste good.

A little stroll and I was done in again.

And to all a good night.


Feb. 14


Here's to dissolute living. 



Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mysterious Mountains and Flamingos

Feb. 10-11

First thing on Thursday, the 10th, Joanna got her massage. Her back, her neck, her feet, everything that had been stiff or sore felt relaxed and painless, she told me.

We took lunch at the Safe House, which has an open-air restaurant. Joanna saw a strange-sounding combination and ordered it—pumpkin, egg, and tofu. I tried noodles with vegetables and a vegetarian sauce. I squeezed a slice of lime over it, and it was both savory and sweet. As often happens, my dish was made without chilis, like Joanna’s. Or maybe it’s supposed to come like that.

I added what I believe was ground tamarind mixed with red pepper flakes and a little soy sauce. That made it very good.

We went to the city culture center, which is at the plaza where the three kings are. That’s when we enountered the mystery of the missing flamingos.

Not only the kings’ flamingos, but the plants, soil, and planters too had disappeared without leaving a mark behind. And they had looked like permanent fixtures.

Maybe they were out for the flower festival, which ended a few days ago.

We toured the city museum, where we discovered that the three kings on the monument were not the succession of a dynasty, but the king of Chiang Mai and two allies, who together secured and founded the city.

Museum walking is far more tiring than walking the sidewalk or even a shopping mall. So we needed a break.

We crossed the street to a fruit drink shop. Joanna had mixed fruit, thick as pudding. It included passion fruit, apple, mango, at least. I had some kind of tea, the name of which I forget, mixed with apple and perhaps a little honey. One end of the straw was shaped like a cocaine spoon for eating the chunks of fruit.

Which reminds me: the other day we walked into one of the many souvenir bazaars, and there on the counter was an opium pipe. I showed it to Joanna, who laughed out loud.

She knew all about it. When she was a little girl in China, her father used to entertain his friends over pipes of opium. She used to fill the pipes for him and fall asleep in his lap with a contact high.

We traipsed over to the U.N. where Joanna watched me drink beer. She was still full from the slushy fruit drink, so she wasn’t ready for a coconut. We started talking about dinner and decided to come back for meat pies.

We went to 7-eleven for soy milk and other essentials. dropped them at the hotel and then came back to the U.N.

The meat pies are terrific there. This time Joanna had the Guinness beef pie and I had steak and onion. The pies are small, about the size of the old Morton’s meat pies that I used to buy frozen at the supermarket.

In my college days, I used to pop one right out of the freezer into the oven and usually forget about it until it smoked. Then I’d eat all but the charred bits.

Maybe supermarkets still sell those pies. I haven’t looked for them in years.

We took a walk afterwards around the block. We went to the light at the corner, turned left, and walked maybe 200 meters to the next light. Another left and about 300 meters brought us to the south end of our soi.

We passed bars, of course, but also offices selling day trips for riding elephants, ziplining in a monkey forest, and whitewater rafting. We also passed four temple complexes, and each of them may be older than any church standing in New Jersey.

The streets are narrow and during the day they are crowded with vendors selling coconut, mango, and even durian. When we walk past a stand with that last one, I am glad it is wrapped in plastic and that the wrapper doesn’t break. There are places where you are not permitted to eat durian indoors.

It’s my general rule that if a number of people consider it food, then I should try it. I have eaten snails, raw fish, chilis, and bugs, and found them ranging from interesting to downright delicious. I have enjoyed parts of chickens, pigs, and cows that are usually thrown out at home.

Durian is one of my exceptions to the rule. It smells like serious trouble with the plumbing.

But durian aside, we love this town. I love it as much as I love London, which has much better beer. I love it as much as I love Paris, which has wine and where the food is as good as Chiang Mai’s, but no better.

Thursday, the 11th, marks one week in Chiang Mai. After her experience with the masseuse, Joanna recommended a massage to me. I was reluctant to take a whole hour getting a rubdown, but she said I should try it. So I did, while she went to check on the tailor and get the key, which we had locked in the room.

I had never had a professional massage before and was actually a bit nervous.

It started with the lady washing my feet. It tickled but I tried not to laugh.

Next I took my shirt and trousers off and lay under a towel. She started with my feet. Once in a while the old break in my left foot would theaten to hurt, but then it was fine. Don’t know how she did that.

Later she did my calves and back with oil. From time to time the friction heated the oil, especially when she used her forearms for the massage.

She did my chest and the front of my legs, and then washed her hands before she massaged my head.

All in all, it felt pretty damned good. The head massage was curious. At one point, the masseuse’s fingertips were resting on my eyelids when she worked on my temples wth her thumbs. At the end, she gave my temples a hard push with her fingers.

I felt pretty good when it was over. I can’t usually tell the difference between relaxing and coming down with something. The sensations are usually too similar to distinguish between them.

But after it was all over, I sat on the porch to put my shoes on and was pretty sure I wasn’t getting sick.

We were ready for lunch, and went back to Soi 4 and the Bodhi Tree Cafe. We were waited on by a farang with a French accent. When he came up to the table, we thought he was a customer who wanted to use the empty table where we had put our hats.

Joanna tried the pad Thai ma pet, and more pumpkin, this time sauteed with basil. I wanted to make sure I got a proper dose of heat and asked for the red curry, medium hot.

I love Thai food. Most spicy cuisines—Indian, Mexican, Szechuan—tend to have a narrow range of flavors. In my limited experience, Thai has wider variety. Green curry doesn’t taste like red curry. Pad Thai doesn’t taste like the curries at all. And we’re discovering many other dishes.

And then, we can always default to Farang food, of which there is no shortage here. I mean, Brit-style meat pies on Rathvithi Road. Or Italian on Ratchapakhinai.

As we came down a soi, we saw the peak of a mountain in the distance. it was closer to the city than I expected. We could make out the earthen color of it.

I led Joanna towards it, because I hoped to get to the moat and maybe have a better look. A few hundred meters farther, we realized it wasn’t a mountain at all, but Chedi Luang, the Great Pagoda, which we had visited the other day.

We were coming from a different angle and the appearance was entirely different. Standing by itself against the sky takes away all hints of scale or distance and fooled me completely. And I hadn’t even had a beer yet.

It was getting hot, so we took a tuk-tuk ride back to the hotel.

Joanna wanted Italian for dinner, so it was back to Girasole. She had penne in a red sauce with crab meat. I had penne, too. (I was wearing a fresh white shirt.) The sauce had lumps of tomato and slices of green and black olives. I’m not sure what else was in there, but I may try to make a copy of it some day.

We took a short stroll to let dinner settle and then came back to the hotel for the night.

And I’m wishing everyone a good night, and happy eating.


Feb. 12

Your report on Chiang Mai really makes me wish I was there.

But at least Anna is going to arrive on the 22nd from India.

I know she loves a good massage. Could you tell her the name and address of the massage place you guys went to?

And names of some of the restaurants you liked?

Also, will you still be there then?


Feb. 13

We're leaving on the morning of the 24th.

Eden is around the corner from the Boonthavon, on Moon Muang Soi 5. Great French and Thai food. A soi is a narrow lane that branches off a main street. The main streets are named on maps and the sois are usually identified by a number. The spellings of the street names vary, but generally you can identify all the variants.

Moon Muang Soi 5 crosses Rachadamnone Soi 5 a block from the U.N. Irish Pub and bakery. The U.N. is on a street called Ratvithi, or Ratwithi. The meat pies, especially the beef and onion and the Guinness, are terrific there. So is the bread. 

Larry says the quiche is also good, but we haven't tried it yet.

The masseuse operates a shop called Lavender. It is right across from the Boonthavon on Rachadamnone Soi 1. The grilled fish place is also in the same lane, a little closer to the main road.

Archer's is on Ratchapakinai Road, near the end of Moon Muang Soi 5. The Thai food is good and so is the English breakfast. They put out a roast on Sunday that looks good, but we haven't had that.

Girasole, the Italian restaurant, is farther south on the same road. It is next to Wawee Coffee, which holds the corner spot.

Bodhi Tree Cafe, Thai vegetarian and vegan, is on Rachadamnone Road Soi 4, right next to a temple complex.

So far, just about anyplace we walk into here has good food.


Feb. 14

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and your insights. 

I arrive on the morning of the 23rd. I'd love to meet for dinner that night if you and Joanna are free. I'm happy to meet anywhere! 

All of your suggestions seem great and I'm so looking forward to trying all these restaurants. 

Hope your journeys today are going well and let me know if dinner on the 23rd works!


Feb. 14


Your gastronomic adventures are fascinating and so is your eating philosophy. You have a lot of guts.

What is Durian, by the way?


Feb. 14

It's a big green fruit covered with little points. It looks innocent enough until you cut it open.

It smells like an outhouse that has seen hard use.


Feb. 15