Well, it's New Year's Eve here in Thailand.
There are activities planned for tonight, celebrations in town, etcetera, etcetera, but I'm not interested. I'm enjoying my peace and quiet here at home, surrounded by reading materials and the makings for some pretty delicious western food.
I'm a pretty good cook, at least when it comes to western foods and Mexican food, but I'm limited to the supplies that Tesco Lotus in Hatyai has to offer. Most labels and descriptions are in English, which helps, but some things aren't, or they are called something different than their western counterparts.
Anyway, I'm making Philadelphia style cheese-steak hoagies tonight, something I learned from living in south Philly for three years. Yum, yum and double and triple yum. I simply can't wait. I picked up a big french roll, excellent green bell peppers, mayonaise, some hot orange peppers, onion, cheddar cheese (sharp), some semi-lean top round beef and some mushrooms that had that "mini portabella" look to them but were called something else I didn't recognize.
Firecrackers have been exploding all day and now, at 7:05 p.m., they are intensifying. Nothing I can't handle though, as I managed to get through weeks of the Chinese New Year, last year in Guangzhou, which can only be compared to being in a war zone of exploding shells for weeks at a time.
Something about the noise scaring the bad spirits away or some such nonsense.
I'm off until next Tuesday, so my plan is to take it easy, clean my house and read. I might head out to the wet market and pick up some shrimp ("Prawns" as they call them here) and cook up a Cajun seafood gumbo. Who knows.
I visited the bookstore at Lee Garden yesterday and picked up two books. Their selection sort of sucks really, but there were a couple books I think I can stomach. I asked them if they could "order" books and the conversation went like this:
"Hello. Um...can you order books for me? Books you don't have available here?"
"Books. Can you order them?"
"Do you have anyone who speaks English?"
Mr. Oooda points to a counter behind me. I thank him and saunter over.
"Hello. Can you order books for customers?"
Finally I just politely thanked her and left. Obviously the girl behind this counter was related to Mr. Oooda.
After purchasing my books I took a familiar jaunt to the Swan, a local haunt for foreigners that has a nifty yet small book exchange going on in one corner of the restaurant. I had with me my two recently read books, "The Dive from Clausen's Pier" and "Ladder Years" both graciously sent to me from my cyber-sis Shirl the Pearl.
I ended up picking out two paperback novels that I will probably have to choke through (although who knows, I may be surprised) and dickering with the guy behind the counter to get an even trade. At first he wanted 80 baht, but I just flipped the books over and showed him the prices (truthfully not even having a clue of the exchange rate) and telling him he was getting the deal of a lifetime.
It worked. I got an even trade, thanked him and left. I now have in my possession five books to read. I'm in literary heaven.....literally. Not quite the books I would have chosen to buy if I were at say....Borders or Amazon, but books all the same.
So, old fart that I am, I'm starting to enjoy my books again and learn to fold into that quiet place I know so well. School will begin on Tuesday and this coming Thursday we'll be beginning practice sessions for our school plays.
Me and my little ones will be doing "The Three Little Pigs," which ought to be a blast. Oh! I finally got my pictures back. Nothing earth shattering, but I will have to have my pal Auay scan them and get them online soon!
Happy New Year to you all!