It turns out I’m going through about two outfits a day (the idea of wearing the same outfit two days in a row is disgusting in the extreme), and rinsing things out in the sink was doing squat. Two pairs of my socks are stained beyond comprehension (new socks too!) from getting wet in my shoes, and all of my shirts are soaked after I wear them outside for an hour or two. There are laundry services all up and down my soi, but there was also a do-it-yourself wash station near the market, so I decided to give it a go.*
Here’s the thing… in the
Ok – I eat meat, so this really shouldn’t bother me, but this is just about enough to turn me into a vegetarian. Turn away if you have a sensitive stomach… I’m serious… skip down to the next laundry section. I can’t quite handle this one fish booth, it is seriously, the freshest fish of the day. There’s a big ol’ bucket of fish (no idea what kind) swimming around in there, not quite packed like sardines… but close enough. Then there’s a table with whole fish with the sides slit, and right next to it is the grill with those same fishies that were swimming around in the pool moments ago now cooking away. I’ve walked by there a few times over the course of the day and you know the number of fish in the bucket goes down and the number of fish on the grill goes up each time I walk by.
There’s just something about the freshness of it and the actual killing being so close to the eating that’s a shock to my pampered western sensibilities. They don’t skin the fish, or chop its head off, or beer-batter dip it. It’s perfectly identifiable from start to finish. I know that animals have to die for me to have a cheeseburger. I get that on an intellectual level. And on a culinary level, I know that the fresher the ingredients, the better they taste. But seeing the fish like that makes me go straight for the mangos & cashews.
Ok – back to laundry. The fish stand is right next to the laundry station. The washing machines are cheap, and seriously high-tech. There’s a display that shows what cycle it’s on and how many minutes are left in each cycle. So I could look at it and see immediately that it would take 25 minutes, grab some snacks at the market, check to see that it’s got 12 minute left, take my goodies back to the guest house, come back and there’s only a minute left. And here was the nicest surprise. You know how in the
* I composed this post back at my first guest house and am post-dating it for when I expect to be too busy with school to actually update my blog. I was quite relieved to learn that in my residence there’s a big bright clean laundry room with a nicely tiled floor, painted walls & a glass store-front. No vending machine… but then, it’s situated next to the Mini-mart & the Café. Instead of buckets of fish… there are refrigerated bottles of Coke on the other side of this wall. ;)