Prompted by an article that talked about connections made while on travels, I thought I should share this little anecdote from June of 2007.
This is one of my favourite street foods in Bangkok, Thailand.
Its braised pork served with rice, half a boiled egg and a side of stewed salted vegetables.
Whether for work or play, I try at least to learn how to say hullo and thank you in the local language. I walked thru a market, saw a stall selling this, said hullo to the owner and gestured/pointed my way thru the order. She was happy to help, gave me my plate of rice, and took my money. Even gave me change.
I plonked myself down on a nearby table beside a local guy also eating the same thing. I am usually not one to experiment with the condiments on the table, but this guy was taking what seemed to be a raw garlic from the condiment bowl, and eating that with a spoonful of rice. He then took an extremely tiny chilli from another bowl and did the same.
Hey, while in Rome right??
I took a garlic from the bowl and tried it with some of my food. It was delicious! The stall owner stood up from her stool and seemed to be having a semi-heated discussion with another neighbouring stall.
I picked up a chilli and did the same. It was good! Spicy, but extremely tasty. The stall owner ran over to me and started saying something. I looked at her blankly as she realised I couldn’t understand a word.
She made a gesture of holding a cup and drinking from it. By this time there were several vendors coming up to me, some holding canned drinks to extinguish the fire that wasn’t there.
I laughed and gestured that I didn’t need a drink. I pointed to my food, then to the condiment bowl and gave the lady the largest grin I could muster and 2 thumbs up.
As everyone dispersed relieved that a chilli wasn’t going to stop the foreigner’s heart, there were smiles all around for the rest of the time I was there.
When stood to leave, I wai‘d my thanks to the lady and received one in return together with a huge smile.