Leaving Home

An awful eating out experience last night reminded me what not do in Thailand.

That would be to travel to a country offering a smorgasbord of what has to be among the best cuisine in the world – and eat pizza. And ice cream.

That’s what happened when I took a diet regime ( “listen to the Sisson” ) swerve for the sake of a social outing with some fellow NES teachers.

I should have seen the writing on the menu when the group agreed to meet at Passione, a major shopping mall in Rayong. It glitters, but it’s not gold. The lights are over-powering , and most of it is so .. uniform that dithery middle-aged guys are apt to lose themselves. On the upside, there are some stalls cooking real food, served up hot, and delicious, so all was not lost.

We agreed to decide on an eatery when we got there, but when I arrived ( on time ), the rest were all parked up at a small franchise pizzeria. Ugh. But I decided to ditch the food zealotry, and enjoy the social occasion and indulge.

We all ordered, er, pizza. OK. I got an allsorts bacon topping, thin crust. It was OK ( bland, no spices ), but didn’t come anywhere near satisfying. Everyone else either has their appetites better trained, or ate in advance, because it seemed to do them.

Not so bad, but when it was time to fix up the bill, taking five separate paymnent was totally beyond the staff, or the system, or both. Result – a 20-minute drama. Unbelievable.

The others trundled off to a dessert shop to eat ice-cream. I made my excuses, and went searching for some real food – I ate – a fatty pork sausage, a pork chop, finished off with cocoa and coconut cream with cinnamon and Goji berries. Mmmm.

I paid 220 baht for a pizza which didn’t satisfy. I then paid only 70 baht for the sausage and chop, and maybe 20 baht for the cocoa. If I could have found a nearby market in my frenzy, I could have had a good, and filling, meal for 60 baht. With perfectly good outdoor seating.

Aside from all that, it’s beyond me why one would travel to Thailand to eat crap American-style food. It’s expensive, in unpleasant surroundings, and dull or unpalatable.

OK, some things haven’t changed for me in this new residence. I watch similar videos, for example.

But when it comes to a really easily accessible part of the Thai culture – the food – it’s almost criminal to let that chance pass by.

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