Foodie Adventures in Thailand

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.

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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.

Half Marathon, Stressed Fractured Fibula

Apparently the recently retired Brooks Pureflows gave me the beginnings of a stress fracture when I had to change my gait because of the pain from the blood blisters. I thought it was a sprained ankle.

A week later, I participated in the 2XU Compression Half Marathon. I ran 5km before the pain got to me and I started walking. Completed in 2hr 55min, and limped for the rest of the weekend.

Dawn came on Monday morning with a sharp pain in my left ankle. Decided to go to the hospital just to make sure everything was OK. The conversation went something like this:

Doc: So.. You had an aching ankle.
Me: Yeap.
Doc: And you did 21k on this aching ankle.
Me: Yeap.
Doc: Genius! We’re renaming you “Dumbass”.
Me: Ohhh-kay…
Doc: You’ve got a compound fracture in your fibula. Dumbass.

They discharged me with crutches, a load of painkillers, and a week’s worth of medical leave. Got referred to an orthopedic doctor 4 days later who ordered another set of X-Rays, determined that it was a stress (as opposed to traumatic) fracture, that it was beginning to heal – and set me on my way with an AirCast boot – with a recommendation not to put weight on it.

This has been a lesson about not taking simple things like minor pains, mobility and the ability to drive for granted. Wifey has been good about sending Timmy to his Grandma’s in the morning and doing all the heavy lifting. She hasn’t complained but I’m sure deep down inside she’s a little pissed.

It had been 6 days of icing the sore ankle, but I’d been off painkillers for 3 days. On Saturday evening, 2 nights ago – I decided to see if I could walk on it.

Gingerly, yes! And without pain either! I’ve been off painkillers for a couple of days so I know it’s not them taking the edge off. My full range of motion isn’t back yet though but that seems to be improving steadily.

I’m going to take it easy (no driving) for a week – then see if I can drive. Upper-body workouts only for the next 6 weeks… and then work from there.

Fingers crossed.

Review – Jabra Sport Bluetooth Headset

This is a short term review – read on to find out why.

I was grateful to have won a set of these as part of a giveaway contest in late October 2012. I collected them and eagerly wanted to put them thru their paces.

Busted Jabras

My regular earphones are Sennheiser Adidas MX 680’s. I’ve had them a year, and rinse them under running water after each workout.

Bluetooth sound quality from the Jabra’s was OK but not as good as my wired pair of earphones. I didn’t get a lot of use out of the FM radio – reception always seemed dodgy both on trail and on road. Integration to Endomondo was good – I could get workout info without looking at the phone. I always wiped the headphones off with a damp cloth after each workout.

Battery life wasn’t great. 3 hours is a good long workout, but I’ve found that the battery life does deteriorate; and the lady reminding you that you’re running out of tunes every 5 minutes doesn’t help.

By far, my biggest peeve was that this thing only worked well with my phone strapped to my right arm. The documentation says that although Bluetooth has a 10m working radius, that applies only to indoors use. Outdoors and on the move – it’s more like 1m.

I regularly run with a Nathan Hydration Belt, and my phone is naturally in it. This setup forced me to run the belt AND an arm-band. If I didn’t – the music would cut out every time I turned my head to check for traffic – and that pissed me off. Making it all worse – I was testing this during the rainy season. I had a Lifeproof case for my iPhone and that fit snugly into the pocket of the running belt – but try as I might I couldn’t find an arm-band large enough (for cheap enough).

And then one day some time in January, it gave up the ghost. It would charge but not turn on. I noticed that the left side pod had split open.  It sat on my desk for a month while I was bungling around doing other stuff. I brought it to the Jabra Service Centre last weekend.

I explained that I had won this pair, that it no longer works, and I noticed that the left pod had split open presumably where the batteries are.

The first question the guy asked me was if I charged it. Doh. Then he turned to his colleague and ostentatiously asked her opinion on a warranty replacement. The duo exchanged looks, turned around to me and explained that “there are 2 types of damage – manufacturing and user – and in this case, damage was caused by the user.”

So… these guys think I pried open the pod and am trying to claim for it. OK. I wasn’t up for an argument – after all – I could glue the pod back but the fact was that it still wouldn’t operate. I raised my eyebrows at them while they were expressing their deepest apologies (and shooing me out of their shop so they could get back to doing nothing) – and left.

So yeah – short term review. Endomondo says I had covered 200km between Nov 2012 and Feb 2013. And I’m proud to say I broke something US Mil Spec. Hehehe.

Prolly good for the gym. Not for me. I’ll stick to my wired pair – or explore Plantronics.

Gear Retirements and Additions – Nike Free 4.0 V2

Did last year’s marathon Nike Free Run 2’s. These have become my favourite shoes of all time. They’ve done well over 1,000kms and I’ve realised that the cushioning isn’t so good any more. Each footfall jars a lot more than usual.

Have tried to transition into the Brooks Pureflows. I suppose they are OK for shorter distances like the 5k stints, past 10km and I get a horrible case of blisters even with Vaseline.

Just did 15km in the Pureflows training for a half-marathon in a week’s time, and have been rewarded with a juicy blood blister. Have decided that these are not for me.

Got to the shops for a pair of Nike Free 4.0 v2’s from the 2012 collection. It’s a risk I know, doing an event with new gear. I’ll try to acclimatise this week with short runs.

Behavioral Adjustments

Wifey had to work late a couple of nights last week. My job was to fetch Timmy from his grandmother’s, bring him home, read him a story, wash him up, brush his teeth, offer his last feed of milk and put him to bed.

Storybook time has always been a little tough. He’d want to snatch the book and flip/fold the pages – refusing to let me read to him. If I held fast to the book, he would get off the bed and go exploring on his own.

So this one evening, he was being particularly restless. He was just about to climb off the bed when I told him that if he did that, I would put him in his cot. He looked me in the eye as if to challenge me, and dismounted. I pulled him back on the bed and we repeated the exercise. This time, just as his feet touched the ground, I swept him into his cot. He started wailing as I left the room.

I went to the kitchen to get the kettle going for his milk. I must have been gone 30 seconds. I got back to the little sobber and asked him if he still wanted a story. He nodded and I carried him onto the bed. There he sat patiently and listened attentively to a Peter Rabbit story – all 10 minutes of it. I gave him his milk and he went to sleep.

The following couple of nights have been brilliant. He sits there, sucking his thumb, or laying down looking at me while I read.

This evening, midway thru a chapter on Mr Jeremy Fisher, wifey came home. I heard the tinkle of the keys first, and soon he heard something too. So I said, “Guess who’s home? Go find out!” He crawls to the edge of the bed, turns around and looks at me for permission. I say, “Go!” and he hops off to find his momma in the living room.

Parenting lessons for me. I’ll see for a few more nights, but for now… success!