Daily Archives: December 16, 2010

Memoirs from Northeast Thailand – Part 2

Arriving back in the village after a few days of rest and relaxation in Nong Khai, a slightly larger town 2 hours away by jalopy, was refreshing. Nong Khai, which seemed fairly small a few weeks ago, is now Vancouver-big in comparison to Kham Pia village. There the outdoor markets, the fruit stands piled neck-high with rambutans and jackfruit, and the local 7-11 with its heavenly air conditioning and slurpees was reminiscent of the hustle and bustle of Robson Street, downtown Vancouver.

A pile of jackfruit....bet you can't eat just one!

We had left the village for 2 days to seek some of the minor luxuries that Nong Khai, being slightly larger, could offer, such as a shower and flushing toilets. It is eye-opening and a tad shameful to know that the majority of Earth’s 6.5 billion don’t have access to the kind of bathroom comfort, let alone running water, that Westerners enjoy.

A whole new meaning of the word "squatters"

Coming back to the village and its endless fields of rice paddies, familiar faces made me smile, as did the farm sounds we had grown accustomed to. When we pulled in, riding on the back of a stranger’s pickup truck, I felt like we were part of a Royal procession. Children running behind the truck heralded our arrival with pointed fingers, shouting “fereng, fereng” – foreigner.

"Take me home, country road"

We had barely been back for a few hours and already there was trouble! A 15 year old boy had sniffed some gasoline from Mr. Bunleod’s grass mower and then had stumbled, intoxicated, into our house. Our homestay dad found him going through our room and then scolded him and searched him thoroughly for stolen goods, such as my month’s worth emergency supply of beef jerky I brought from back home. All of this was later explained by gestures over dinner and we laughed at the humour in it. Also that day, a baby had stolen a motorcycle and drove it through town, or so we understood. Continue reading


Christmas Snowy-Lava Cookies

Christmas with lava? This might seem a bit unconventional for most, but I have spent a good many years of my childhood Christmases in Hawaii. These wonderful lava cookies are soft and moist, like a great brownie. They are super simple and fast to make, but their appearance is unique and festive and make a great party-host present (which is what I made them for in this particular case).

This is going to be your best friend for this recipe. Don't be afraid to use it liberally.

You will need:

  • 1 & 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • a helluva lot of icing sugar, for rolling:) Continue reading