Sunday, July 19, 2009

Breaking Out of House Arrest

Anyone who has ever lived with dogs knows it's bound to happen--eventually they decide you belong to them and then they are your ever-present shadows.

I was warned not to allow the dogs to follow me to the highway, which is where the little food store is, but that they would only do that if I walked, so no worries. Then I found the bicycle I was to ride is too heavy for me to feel comfortable when I ride it, and with no driver's license and no passport, I don't feel like reviving my ancient driving skills (and I use that word loosely in this sense.)

So two days ago, when I began to walk to the store, suddenly I had indefatigable companions--and yesterday--and today. The gardener suggested that I walk along the beach to my little food emporium, and when a neighbor dog distracted my prison guards, I made a break for freedom.

Down the beach and up a small hill, unaccompanied I went, and came out with a feeling of sheer excitement--there before me was shining black asphalt.

I know it's pathetic but suddenly dormant childhood memories surfaced and I vividly recalled how after hours and hours and hours of driving on gravel roads, our family car would finally reach "blacktop" and all of us children would cheer. Aspahalt meant civilization, a town, friends to talk with, mail, ice cream--and now half a century later I felt the same elation when reaching a narrow country road that was paved.

I found a larger store than the one I usually frequent, with chips and jasmine rice and nuts and rambutan, nothing even vaguely at the standard of a 7/11, let alone one aisle of my usual Bangkok refuge, Villa Market--but after two days straight of eating instant Mama noodles, it was paradise. Ah the simple pleasures of the rural life--and how eager I am to leave them all behind me--most of all my canine jailers!

And now--for all my foodie friends--a recipe!
Prisoner's Rice
Cook white jasmine rice in a rice cooker. Be sure it is white rice--brown rice will not do. (That is reserved for your prison guards.)
Put a generous helping in a small bowl.
Sprinkle liberally with fish sauce.
Enjoy. Which you will if it's the first freshly cooked bowl of rice that you've had in ten days...

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