Friday, February 20, 2009

Two Different Nights, Two very Different Dinners

Thursday night J's Thai class had it's final dinner. I've been hearing about her class mates - a collection of mostly (13) Western men mostly of a certain age with either Thai girlfriends or wives. And five women. Some of whom had Thai boyfriends. And one of the best foreign language teachers Joan has ever had. And she learned a number of sentence patterns and vocabulary words and it's obvious she's got a lot more Thai now. I did talk to her teacher and asked about program for people like me who can basically get along, but with lots of gaps in terms of grammar and vocabulary.

The dinner was at a Thai buffet'barbecue' place. That means there are tables full of food which you cook over charcoal in little - I have no idea what they are called and I didn't take a picture, but they're aluminum 'pots' with a broth, but also in the middle an area you can cook fish or other things outside the broth.

You can see the vegies (to be cooked in the broth, but you can't see all the fish and shrimps and other things I don't even know waiting to be dropped into the broth.

And here are the pseudo Western sweets on the left and Thai sweets on the right. Those bright yellow ones, if I recall right are made with egg yokes and lots of sugar.

And here are some more Thai desserts. I'm not sure what these are, but I know them and love them. You get these noodley, dumpling like things, with a little coconut milk and some crushed ice on a hot night. MMMMMMMMMMMMM. So goood. We paid much, much more than we do for a normal dinner which can range from100-150 Baht ($3-5) for the two of us. I'm not sure what the buffet was, but we all got asked to put in 200 Baht apiece (which covered the drinks) or about $6 each.

These two guys are Australians. The one in the white whose face was blurred to protect him (actually there just wasn't that much light and he moved during the slow shutter click) was an undercover detective for 30 or more years. So I filled him in on some of the things going on in the Ted Stevens case. His reaction that some sort of fix was in. He also said he spent five, I think, months in Iraq to pay off his house. He had nothing good to say about what is going on. Well, he did say while there may be some issues with the Americans, their behavior is far more exemplary than that of most of the other players. But he was obviously upset when he talked about some guys he met early on who said they wanted the war to last forever. "Don't you care about all the people who are getting killed?" "Hell, we're getting $40,000 a month and we want that to go on forever." What would have taken him ten years to pay off working in Australia took five or six months in Iraq he said. Thanks to the American tax payer.

Let's see, the guy on the right in the orange is a Brit who lives in Hungary and is here teaching cricket to kids and a couple of orphanages. The lady on the right is a 20 year old Brit who has a Thai boyfriend. The woman at the end of the table - almost in the middle of the picture - is the teacher.

It was a loud and raucous dinner - Thai music coming from one side, televisions going as well. The group went to karaoke afterward, but we went on home.

Tonight was a totally different experience. We'd run into Mike on the street the other night and he emailed the invitation:

We are very happy to invite you to a Shabbat celebration to be held at the Blue Pearl Yoga Studio.

We hope this will be the start of a more regular format instead of the smaller gatherings

It would be great if you could come. The more the merrier and we encourage members of all faiths and paths to join us.

Friday, 20/2/09 at 18:45

As usual, the food will be Pot Luck - Please bring whatever you like to eat but strictly vegetarian

The handouts with the words for the songs called it a Kabbalah Shabbat. So, from outdoor (but under cover) the size almost of a football field on Thursday, Friday was in a Yoga studio.
And we had four Cambodian monks from Wat Suandoke there to join us. Unfortunately, Thai Buddhist monks don't eat after 12 noon.

Azreal led the short shabbat service - he's originally a Canadian but, if I recall right, he's lived in the US and Israel and now has been in Chiang Mai six months. In addition to Canadians and Americans, there were two Thais, some Brits, and Italian, a couple of Austrians, and a German of Philipino/Chinese origin. It was really a special night. I'm glad did't succumb to my thoughts of just staying home tonight and taking it easy.

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