Walking home today from work I had a neat unexpected near Thai experience It is hot as blazes outside and right now the weather update on my computer reads the temperature as 92 degrees fahrenheit but ‘feels like’ 98 degrees! For everyone else in the world that is Metric, except for America leave it to us to be snobs and stick our thumbs in our ears and say we’re not gonna be like everyone else cuz it’s too hard to learn the metric system, anyway I digress, moving on like I said for folks in Thailand and everywhere else that means right now outside is a mean 36.6 degrees celsius!
Whew! I have a pretty good walk back and forth to the Metro station every day, usually about 15 minutes at a leisurely pace, 10 minutes for me with my long, farang legs and talk no prisoners walking stride. I’ll have to work on my walk I am sure otherwise I will probably scare some of the locals when I finally get to the ‘Big Mango’. Actually I don’t mind the walk everyday, I go to work very early in the morning so the weather is usually cool enough this time of year and I don’t really mind the good awful heat walking home in the afternoon although my shirt is usually wilted before I make it to two blocks 😉
I like to think of this is a good practice excercise for when I am actually, finally in Thailand. I have also cut out drinking sodas and caffine and stuck to just water and juice drinks so I can hopefully ‘up’ my Thai heat acclimation level to at least a 65% chance of surviving. Like my days in the Army dying in the Georgia summer heat with the other un-lucky grunts during ‘grass drills’ (anyone in the military remember those?) as the drill sargent used to scream “GOOD TRAINING MEN! GOOD TRAINING! SWEAT MAKES GRASS GROW GREEN!!” Somehow I don’t think he’d ever actual been to Thailand either. I just have this image in my mind of him making an overweight tourist drop and do twenty push ups until grass actually sprang forth and grew out of Bangkok concrete.
Anyway back to the experience that was the point of my story. I got off the train at my stop and climbed up out of the underground station, headphones firmly in place and my favorite band (Labanoon) rocking away, and started the walk toward home the heat wasn’t too bad but sometimes the heavy car traffic makes the air feel like a huge St. Benard with gingivitis is breathing in my face ‘yick!’. All the more realistic virtual Bangkok training I supposed 😛
I made it one block and turned toward my neighborhood and there across the street is something I have never seen in real life but only on TV commercials and in comic strips, an actual kid out in this heat working a lemonade stand! I walked across the street and as I got closer I saw the young, sweaty entrepeneur not only sold lemonade for a dollar a cup but also Thai Iced Tea!
Was this an oasis? Was the heat already playing with my eyes and my mind? Had this Thaiphile finally gone over the edge? No, this kid was actually selling Thai Iced Tea and doing pretty good business too from the looks of the dollar bills stuck in his pay jar. Pretty savy kid to branch out his product line already and he wasn’t even Thai. How could I resist a hook like this? The one day I was glad to have cash on hand and not just plastic cuz I wasn’t sure he’d take Visa. I ordered one Thai Ice Tea to go and he asked if I wanted the cream as well. Do I! To drink Thai ice tea without the milk or cream is un-American!
The kid certainly didn’t skimp on the ice OR the Tea OR the milk for that matter! If this was his usual portion he should invest in jumbo dixie cups and sell both ‘lek’ and ‘yai’ size drinks! Whatever the lad lacked in skill he certainly made up for in generosity. I make Thai tea at home and it takes a little practice to really make it well, not too much tea leaves, don’t boil them for too long, even how much condensed milk or cream you put in your glass everything is as precise as science. I admit I cheat some and use flavored coffee mate same as I use in my actual coffee when I fall off the no-caffine wagon that is 😉
I’m sure though real Thai street vendors could make Thai tea with one hand and use an old sock to strain the leaves and it would always taste absolutely awesome! However I’m not looking to bust any trade secrets as long as I have my money to pay for the finished product I’ll leave the magic to the professionals. This kid may lack the grace and finesse of a Thai vendor (a tad heavy on the cream but you live, you work, you learn) yet he more than made up for it with effort even just for being out in this heat to start with.
Walking the rest of the way home I was happy and content to sip my purchased beverage, not minding the heat at all even when it melted the ice to mix with the Tea it made it cooler and even more delicious. Life is best when made of simple moments of pleasure like this, especially when they are spontaneous. I only wish I had a camera with me to take pics of this young import genius and his stand for this blog.