The Soup Guy
In the attempt to save money over the past month, I have frequented several of the street food stands stationed at the village on our block. One of stalls serves up a delicious pork and dumpling soup for just under a dollar a bowl, which has turned out to be one of my favorite dishes in Thailand. After my repeated visits, the owners and his wife openly accepted me as a part of their daily routine. Alic, as the soup vendor is nicknamed, doubles as a motorcycle-taxi and has two beautiful little children that have also gotten accustom to the random American sitting at their parents’ store. In the hopes of seeing more of this town, I propositioned Alic to show me around on his motorcycle and had him pick me up Saturday morning from my apartment. When Alic rode up to my apartment, he explained how there was nothing interesting to see in Lam Luk Ka; sparing the King’s rice factory. He suggested we take a taxi into Bangkok and see temples he thought I needed to visit during my time in Thailand. Unfortunately, Tony and I had already seen the places he tried to bring me, and after a two-hour trip we were left standing in downtown Bangkok wondering what to do. I spotted a reminder of my SLU years and convinced Alic that he needed to try a bagel at Au Bon Pain. It was the first bagel I’ve had since October and although nothing will ever match a New Jersey Bagel Tree bagel; it made my afternoon.
After lunch we did some more walking and Alic brought me to the King’s personal temple at Wat Pho. Alic snuck me past the $2 foreigner entry fee and showed me one of the largest reclining Buddha’s in Thailand. We dropped coins in 40 buckets for good luck, walked around the grounds, and prayed to several Buddha images.
After his tour of Wat Pho grounds, we fed birds near the King’s park and grabbed a three-hour bus back to Lam Luk Ka. I enjoy anyone that is willing to show me their country and take the effort to explain the many things about their culture I do not understand, but Alic decided he hadn’t been hospitable enough for one day and invited me to his house. We spent some time playing with his children and then he invited me to a Thai buffet with his family.
We picked up Tony in Alic’s pickup truck, ate more food than I’ve seen at a Wisconsin Thanksgiving, and drove back to his house where we relaxed with some beers under the street lights in front of his house.
His wife wouldn’t let our glasses empty as she opened and refilled beer after beer. Alic’s neighbors stopped by to have a drink and discuss travel ideas with two young Americans. As we helped Alic restrain his children from the tempting lights of oncoming motorcycles and cars, we began a short discussion on gun control in Thailand. As the words “I have” and “handgun” left Alic’s lips, our eyes lit up.
Riding Out the Economy calls a night complete when the combination of beer, guns, and children is made. Only in Thailand….. or Texas.