Saturday, 11 April 2015

But is it cricket?

The hotel lobby
Stayed at a very pleasant place last night, where I had some excellent and surprisingly cheap food in the restaurant. The hotel has a wonderful garden behind it with waterfalls and a large ornamental pool stocked with Koi Carp. Tropical hardwood chairs and tables were scattered around the place; the perfect spot for a hotel restaurant, you would think.
Non restaurant
Non restaurant 2

The restaurant was, in fact at the entrance to the hotel, essentially in the car park, opposite a gigantic Tescos. Right next to six lanes of traffic.

Has to be said though, as a cat lover, got my first glimpse of feline since I got here. None were to be seen for love nor money in Bankok. An unbelievable delicate looking brindle colored cat was walking down the corridor as I left my room. She scuttled off pretty sharpish when she saw me, but later turned up, while I was eating, with her brother, who was black. He was similar in every respect to his sister - they were probably not much older than seven or eight months. He was one of the most magnificent cats I've seen for a long time: pointy eastern face, delicate thin tail, long legs and as skinny as a rake, in a healthy sort of way, although his sister was more friendly.

I moved on thIs morning, only to discover that I'd made a miscalculation. I was planning to get to near where you take the ferry to the islands, only to discover that I was in fact, further away than I was last night.

When I asked the owner of the hotel, mainly in sign language, where I could find a restaurant, she looked slightly anxious. This really is quite an isolated place, despite another six lanes of traffic thundering through the middle of it. After some thought, she invited me to take a seat on the back of her scooter. Had I still possessed any hair to speak of, it would have been raised, as we navigated the small country lane, then the central highway, arriving a few minutes later at a Buddhist temple surrounded by loads of food stands and fun fair type stalls - shooting galleries and the like; you can even win a goldfish. Like the supermarket I visited this afternoon, it also had a PA system that must have been pumping out the best part of 500 watts of....... let's just say, for an oldie like me, it wasn't my music of preference.

It was here that I finally found an insect stall.

Now I wasn't planning to make them into a main course, but have always wanted to try the famous Thai insects. I opted for two breaded chicken breasts on a stick; chicken escalope lollies, and asked if I could try a bug or two. The first was a sort of caterpillar looking thing, about two centimeters long. It looked pretty inoffensive. You'd have to be a real uber wimp to not give one a go. To my surprise, the lady from the hotel looked at me as if I'd lost the pedals completely. 'No good,' was her only comment. A bit of an exaggeration, as it didn't really taste of anything. It was more like an empty husk.

The crickets were only slightly more daunting. They seem to have been fried whole and looked like the crickets you see in summer where I live; about five centimeters long and weighing absolutely nothing. They turned out to be the same as the wormy things, as bland as a singer on a TV talent show. I'm still not giving up however, as there are still several varieties of beetle to have a go at.

I get the impression though, that insects might have had their day in Thailand. With Seven Eleven stores everywhere and the worldwide obesity epidemic quite apparent here, they stand no chance of competing with Monster Munch etc.



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