On my way to find something touristy to do in Phuket Town, specifically look at and take pictures of “the Golden Dragon.” I’m a little hungry but figure I’ll go back to the hostel where they have a nice little racket going – no fridge, kitchen or microwave on premises but you can buy food and drinks at the small restaurant or coffee shop adjacent, both of which the hostel people conveniently own.
Despite google maps telling me the direction to go, I wander obliviously in the opposite direction the golden dragon. After not too long, I stumble past a woman making roti something for breakfast.
It’s fried bread! It’s eggs! Immediately, I’m all “screw the golden dragon.”
I take a seat. About 40 minutes later I’ve consumed half a pot of tea, a small coffee with milk, roti with egg and rice folded in, one separate fried egg, a mysterious (to me) sauce that tastes a little like a good afternoon’s nap. I think about hanging out to blog and do some actual fiction writing but notice that the place has a pretty steady crowd and there’s only one empty table, which is about to be filled. So I ask for the check.
80 baht, says the demi-goddess at the fryer. That’s $2.43 US.
The place is not on either of my digital maps. There’s no storefront with a name, but it could be called “Abdul’s.” When I go back there for lunch I’ll let you know.
I found someone else who’s fallen under the spell of the mango sticky rice lady in the Chiang Mai morning market. At a bar that alternately did and did not sell beer on a religious holiday, I met Elizabeth.
She seemed nice enough and we bonded over our mutual love of Mango Sticky Rice. We were talking about the best we’ve ever had and, to my dismay and pleasure both, her stories began to sound eerily familiar. The perfection of the rice. A mole. The sweet mango clinging to the firm seed.
Elizabeth showed me a photo of her mango sticky rice lady. I showed her a picture of my last mango sticky rice from Chiang Mai. It was the same woman.
Since leaving Chiang Mai, Elizabeth too had searched but found no one to compare to our mutual beloved. Sure, we experimented once we left her cool and sweet charms. It’s only natural. But in the end, no one compares to our lady of the assertive mole and brusque tenderness. Her rice, her firm and sweet mangoes are incomparable.
The world is a small and beautiful place. Especially when you find people who share the same passions along the way.
Our rental car, possibly the oldest and loudest car in all of Aruba, already has squeaky (dodgy) brakes, so the sudden stop in the middle of the road accompanied by the Mom Arm across the chest was a bit of a surprise. I thought we had at least risked life and limb for a mountain goat, maybe one of those frightening stray dogs that stroll up to unfamiliar cars and piss on them. But no, just a lizard.