Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Beauty and the Beast

TAG - I'm bringing it back to Code Mango... life is good today.

First off, it is with both deep pride and thinly veiled bitterness that I announce that I was named Vice Dork of 2008 DorkFest. Despite digging deep to reveal my inner dork, Rex Parker got top honors. Feel free to comment on one of his two truly dorky blogs and tell him you think I was robbed. ;)

Onward! There are a few very large ornamental pots/planters in front of my apartment, they're all filled with rainwater, guppies and greenery. Today I noticed a lotus flower and just had to take a picture.


I have a really easy schedule at work this week. There's a big holiday on the 23rd... it's King Chulalongkorn Day; the anniversary of the death of one of Thailand's most revered kings. He is credited for bringing Thailand into the modern era, opening the first modern hospitals, establishing the railroad & postal system, and abolishing slavery. He also ended the practice of prostrating oneself in front of the king. So, all around a King well worth celebrating. I only have the 23rd off, but three of my classes were canceled because the students will be taking a long weekend. So instead of my marathon three classes today from 2-9pm, I only had two. I had plenty of time to eat breakfast, get to school to do some lesson planning, then head to Tesco Lotus to pick up a few things before heading back for my classes.

While I was at Tesco that now familiar monsoon rain started. It just pounds, the noise is really amazing. I knew it would stop within an hour, and I had a couple of hours before my class so I just hung out and had lunch.

The Beast

I can only assume that this is the Thai interpretation of a Grilled Ham & Cheese sandwich*. First off... they use this weird cheese type product that I just can't identify. It's creamy, and vaguely cheese tasting... but it's neither a flavor nor a consistency I'm familiar with. It's processed, that's for sure, and probably doesn't actually contain any dairy... but it's not altogether bad. The ham is identifiably ham. And the whole thing is, yes, breaded & deep fried. Yup. It's kind of weird, and not something I would normally eat... but it's got it's merits. Being a bread-based meal is one major merit, and not containing fish-sauce is the other. Today was the first day I had this particular sandwich; they also make a 'croque monseuir' that's got the same basic componants but instead of being deep fried, I think it's just sauted in some kind of herb butter. It's pretty tasty.

Now, here is the irony of the day: After eating that fat-o-rama sandwich, and while still waiting for the rain to let up I wandered over to one of those electronic scales and for 1 baht found out that I've dropped about 8 kilos (17 lbs) while in Thailand. As much as I complained about the food situation last week, I do actually eat here. It's just that I generally eat like a Thai person. My consumption of soda has decreased dramatically, and I just can't get the junk food that I love back home. Yeah, I've had KFC** a couple times and will jump at any opportunity to eat french fries... but most of the time I'm eating stir fry, with actual rice, meat and veggies. I eat far fewer processed foods, and overall I just eat less because I don't have a kitchen. I have a hot pot, and I could buy a fridge if I really wanted to... but for now I think it's better for me not to keep a lot of food in my apartment.

You know, humans are hunter/gatherers. My whole body and brain have evolved (or were designed - as you will) to spend a good portion of each day looking for and obtaining food. It's natural. Having a stockpile of calories at arms reach 24 hours a day is not natural, and was not good for me. If you look at the ever expanding waistline of the average American, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that something is wrong. I'm living proof, that it's not about will power... or at least not entirely. It's about lifestyle and environment and as many external factors as internal ones. I don't know if I'll continue to lose weight, or if - now that I'm settled - I'll just start leveling out again. I'm trying not to worry about it, because, oddly enough - obsessing about one's weight doesn't actually burn that many calories!

*Did anyone notice that it came in a plastic bag? They're sold in a bakery section where you grab a cafeteria tray and a pair of tongs, you put your food on the tray, and when you pay for it, they wrap it in a little sandwich bag, and then put it in another little grocery bag. The bags! The bags! They're everywhere!!!

** Interestingly, they don't have the same menu at the KFC here as they do back home. Notably lacking are biscuits =( and coleslaw. So basically it's chicken, french fries & coke (plus a couple of novelty items I don't understand... 'shrimp rings' for example). But man, the chicken here is worlds better than what they make at KFC back home... not sure what the secret is.


Exuberant Color said...

That flower is amazing, so many layers.

That is the way to lose weight, without trying. But will you be able to give up Dr. Pepper when you come back to the US?

Lady Miss Violet said...

I'll bet they use fish sauce in the batter at KFC!

d said...

congratulations, your majesty.

Michael5000 said...

I prostrate myself before the Vice Dork.

IamSusie said...

The winner of the dorkfest blogs every day about the NYT crossword puzzle?! Sorry, Reb, he wins.

I'm excited to see what a velco desk organizer kit looks like.

Rebel said...

Thanks everyone. Yeah, Susie, there was a lot of tough competition actually!

Melissa said...

Congrats on your elected office and the weight loss! It is interesting to see how different countries change the menus of fast food chains. When I was in southern India they didn't sell beef hamburgers at McDonalds--they were ground chicken with, of course, spicy curry seasoning.

Ginger_Curls said...

Congrats on losing the weight. I also found the McDonalds different away from home - but we're only talking about the difference between UK and rest of Europe!

Anonymous said...

The secret to the chicken is that it's not chicken.

I'd tell you what it is, but then, I'd have to kill you ... or you will me.