The Morning Elixir

The Vietnamese coffee is marvelous.

The above is from a cafe about 5 minutes’ walk away. It’s strong stuff – one is just right, two is too many.

It’s dripped through a sieve in the above contraption.

Many Vietnamese drink it iced, I like to add hot water, to prolong it as much as possible, and often butter ( real NZ stuff is about $5 NZ for 250g ).

Along the 5-minute route there are maybe three or four ‘Mum-and-Dad’ type cafes, where family and friends gather. All-comers are welcome, as far as I can tell.

With these smaller places, a little care has to be taken. They’ll often add sweetener, such as sugar, or sweetened condensed milk, unless you tell them otherwise.

Otherwise, it’s the perfect morning tonic, just enough to add a little boost, but not so much as to be bouncing off the walls.

The Duck or the Egg?

I manage to share some light and laughter in at least one realm of my life here in Thailand.

That’s at the 7-11s ( that’s a dairy to you in NZ ) , where I practise my kindergarten Thai on the shop assistants. They most often greet my attempts with a slyish grin. They’re both chuffed that I’m trying, and laughing at me at the same time.

The other day I discovered salted duck eggs, after a fellow teacher tipped me off
After wolfing down my first 4-pack in a day or two, next time I went into a ‘Se-When’ ( 7-11 ) , I asked for ‘bpet’ ( duck ) ‘kai’ ( eggs ). Funny look. Assistant points to duck eggs. I nod vigorously.

‘Chai chai ( yes yes ). Bpet kai?’.

‘Kai bpet,’ she corrects.

So it turns out I’d been asking for ‘duck eggs’, when I should have been asking for ‘eggs duck’.

I’m left to ponder how a NZ shop assistant would handle a request for an ‘egg duck’.

Whatever the case, these things are the business. Bright orange yokes, as you see above, and salted just right.

Hope they have ’em in ‘Nam.

Healthier Eating via Embarrassment

chapati bread with avocado lettuce tomato and garlic
chapati bread with avocado lettuce tomato and garlic

For the last year or more, in an attempt to make up for past excesses,  I got fastidious about diet.

The excesses are a back-story for another time. Enough to say for now that apart from quaffing way too much, I’d been a smoker for years. So in addition to low-level neurosis, I was below-par physically.  The ( even ) older version of me was in for Grim Times.

So when a friend loaned me a copy of T Colin Campbell’s  The China Study it lit a spark. The back cover quotes The New York Times’ reaction – to the original study – which it says ” …  can be considered the Grand Prix of Epidemiology…”.

My txt reaction was briefer. Continue reading “Healthier Eating via Embarrassment”