17 September 2005

Grasshoppers, elephants, and a lawn gnome

I saw an elephant yesterday. We live by an 8-lane highway and I was waiting for the bus by the side of the road. I was getting pretty frustrated because I had been waiting for a long time, so I was staring intently at the oncoming traffic, ready to jump up and wave my arms if bus 84 appeared. When I took a quick glance behind me, there was this elephant lumbering up the sidewalk. I nearly fell over. Bangkok is crazy like that—just when I think the bedlam has reached its limits and the city can't get any louder or dirtier, I stumble across an enchanting, serene side street, a golden temple appears out of nowhere, …or an elephant nearly knocks me over.

Last night, I met a girl from Tajikistan. We stuck out like bright white sore thumbs ordering our dinner from street vendors. We struck up a conversation and ate together, we had green tea and Russian chocolate back at her dorm. She's 28 and used to work for CARE. She attends a medical school at MU, and she seemed incredibly lonely. She knows of no one else from her country at MU, and she complained that none of her classmates ever go out at night. She made me feel lucky because our group of 10 KEI students always goes out together. It's a sweet thing that KEI gave us mobile phones, because we all go our separate ways during the day, and then coordinate ourselves by night time to head into Bangkok or organize a movie night at home. Sometimes traveling with 10 people is like pulling teeth because decisions take an eternity and a half, but the companionship sure is nice…

Last night the KEI gang went out to a Jazz club. The music was phenomenal, although the food was pricy: $2-3 for entrees, $3-4 for drinks. My standards have definitely changed. A full plate of Pad Thai on Khosan Rd is $0.35, while mouth-watering street food in other places runs $0.50-$1. It's gonna be painful coming back to the US.

After Jazz, we took taxis to Khosan Rd. The gang had beers at the ladyboy bar again, and I wandered the streets. GRASSHOPPERS. I ordered fried grasshoppers from a street vendor. I've wanted to eat grasshoppers since I read about eating insects in Ranger Rick when I was 8. I even went as far as to catch some in my backyard and kill them in my freezer, but I balked when it came to cooking them because I wasn't sure if they were poisonous. The Khosan grasshoppers weren't fantastic, but I wasn't disappointed: they were crunchy and a bit spicy, with a pleasant aftertaste.

1 comment:

Christie said...

I've seen pictures that my mom took when she went to China last year - scorpions, grasshoppers, ants, you name it. I want to try them. Crunchy...munchmunch