Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Exotic Tales From the Far East

Here is another thrilling episode from the inscrutable East. Evening. We begin in the laundry room. Because it is forbidden to give, or even show, my dirty skivvies to my Laundry Lady, Judy, I get to wash them each week in these two brown tubs, one of which doubles as my hot shower bucket each morning during the (relatively) cool season- I heat up two full pots of water in my electric kettle and mix them with cold water, then use the red pan to pour it over me. I heat up water for this laundry process as well, and then I wait long periods of time (sometimes I actually forget completely for hours) so they can "soak". Tonight while in this holding pattern, I accomplished two major renovations, one housing and one personal. The house renovation had to do with a very upscale kitchen expansion. I was hindered by a lack of drying and storage space for my increasingly vast array of cookware. Primarily, it was due to the large wok I bought in NKP today, when I was in opening a bank account and trying again to extend my visa. It was a pure impulse buy, and I don't even get my $150 monthly stipend until tomorrow, which meant I had to count exact change (90 cents) for the saawng-tao to get home. Still, as I stood at the market under a veritable Barad-durian tower of woks, I asked myself, How can I in good conscience live in Thailand and NOT have a wok? and so I bartered the woman down from 350 to 250 baht (about 8 dollars). Anyhoo, I used my trusty hammer, pictured below, and a few 6 penny nails to craft a very nice hanging pot rack above my Viking stove.
If you examine the next photo of the finished product, and look on the right, you will see the limited drying rack that instigated this ingenuity. Of course, there remains the potential for the contamination of the pans by gecko shit, since they peruse all areas of the ceiling, but fortunately this is not one of their preferred haunts.
Yet this was only the beginning. While in NKP I also entered the despicable halls of Tesco, the local big box store, where I purchased a tube of super glue, festooned with an American flag and a promise of: 100% USA! I bought this to repair my battered Maui Jim sunglasses, whose earpiece broke off in the airport in Taiwan. I managed to glue the pin back in the arm, but the spring action was lost, causing them to jut out at an odd angle on my face, which, at this stage in the game, needs no oddities or attention grabbing devices. Using the scissors on my Leatherman, a plastic bread bag tie, and a brown sharpie ( and of course the super glue), I was able to bring them into a more harmonious balance. Why the brown sharpie? Because if something is worth doing, it most certainly is worth doing right, no?

That, in case you in your throw away culture have forgotten entirely, used to be called good old American ingenuity, back before the socialists took over and turned us from Americans into godless American'ts.* Well, by this time my unmentionables had soaked well past their needed time, and so it was time to finish the rinsing, wringing out and hanging process (on some rope in the unused upstairs bedroom). I did leave out two important products from the glasses repair description. The first is the Mr. Muscle Windex I bought for screen cleaner but came in handy to pre-clean the gluing surfaces. The other is a real treasure that I have not seen since landing in Bangkok on October 2nd- Cocktail Napkins! They are "hygienic" and soft at the same time.
*For those of you who don't know me I will use this to give you a sarcasm alert!


  1. What kind of btus are you getting out of your wok burner? Do you need a dehydrator?

  2. Nice hammer.I've got a couple of those around here.Funny thing is,when I really need it I can't find them.

  3. Back before the socialists took over??? Is this your political bent coming through with the influence of Glen Beck? Not the Peter I know.

  4. Richard- don't you know that the only way to get readership is to push the extreme edge? I plan to make Glen Beck look like both an intellectual and a centerist wussbag!

  5. pops handyman skills at their finest right here