Thursday, November 4, 2010

Farang Follies

The Thai word for westerner (or basically, any white person) is "farang."  This is also what Thais call guava fruit.  So they think it is very funny to see "farang eat farang," cannibalism!  It's a joke they never get tired of.
Fresh mango and fresh guava (farang), are SO different than what we have in the cans in the U.S.  They are a lot drier, and not as sweet.  They have a slightly grainy texture, almost like a pear, but not juicy, just crisp.
Street food or fast food is actually cheaper than cooking at home yourself.  In fact, finding an apartment with a kitchen in Bangkok is downright impossible.  As the British teacher said when I inquired about a place with a kitchen, "you're in the wrong country."  However there is quite an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Other than that, pretty much everything is fried.  Avoiding allergens like peanuts, eggs, and gluten would prove very difficult in Thailand I think.  Thankfully avoiding lactose isn't too hard.  Also good I don't keep kosher.  I would imagine avoiding these things is doable, but requires a better grasp on the language than I've currently got.  Also at places that cook everything in one pan probably still impossible.  Though rice is such a staple, I'm sure there are some places that cook that separately - it's the cross contamination that would get you there.
I am looking forward to getting my own place, soon.  My host lives in a suburb that is far from school.  My host's hospitality is wonderful, but with the Bangkok commute I spend 3 hours on a bus or in a taxi every day.  Between school time and commute time, my day is totally shot.  The South African teacher is helping me out a lot, she's the other female farang English teacher.  I'm getting an apartment in the same building she lives in, much closer to school and right by the farang backpacker haven.  Walking down some of the streets of Banglamphu (the name of the backpacker haven neighborhood) I feel like I'm actually in the majority.  And since it's the area for broke backpackers, things aren't sold at too much of a markup.  I can go a few soi (lanes) over and go some place less touristy any way.
I'm getting the hang of the Thai buses, at least I can handle paying my own fare (12 baht).  I'm still learning the bus routes, but that will be different when I move as well.  I do know yellow buses are air conditioned, other buses are "warm buses," as my host says.  You can hail a taxi if the red light in the windshield is on - it indicates the taxi is empty.
More updates later.

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