It’s Saturday, and to double the ante it’s Chinese New Year. Motorcycles and cars have been buzzing by the house like gnats. Not much to report: mango for breakfast; delicious khoa soi *– a creamy Thai-Burmese broken curry noodle soup which is one of the four essential northern Thai dishes – for lunch ($1.50…God, such inflation, it used to be $ .80 but this one did have two chicken legs, noodles, vegetables, more noodles, more vegetables, pickles etc.). Clearly, it’s possible to live here with some style for eating well, driving a motorcycle and having a pleasant house for very little.
* Khoa Soi: chili, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, lime zest, turmeric, ginger, cilantro stalks, coriander seed, and cardamom
And then, yet again there is SangSom, that quaint Thai whiskey not for the faint-hearted. SangSom (SOS I think is more appropriate) is Thai hooch, white lightning, moonshine, grappa, rotgut, poteen, spiritus formenti – every plague there ever went into a bottle. If drunk in sufficient quantities, it closely simulates the effect of true alcohol. It’s lethal and legend has it that it is laced with opium, which is why I drink the stuff, There must be something to the opium rumor, this stuff couldn’t sell on taste alone...but hey, I voted for Hillary. A good bottle, and apparently last week is considered adequate aging, costs $6. The superior Premium level costs $4.50 and that is perhaps the quintessence of Thai logic. Over seventy million liters are sold per year - I leave the consequences to your imagination.
Despite its name, it is not a whiskey but a rum and like all rums, it smells like Elizabeth, NJ when the wind is blowing from the refineries. It is not without its redeeming features. I am just still searching for them. Well, it is a benign high. You won’t get up and dance on top of a table as you might with tequila or contemplate world takeovers with cognac. You simply crawl under the table and sleep.