Sunday, January 10, 2016

360 degrees of one of our local somtam stands

Sunday here and I went past the school to where I can buy street food to pick up breakfast for myself and Pae. The line for somtam (spicy papaya salad) was quite long, so while I waited for my order, I flipped my phone camera on and shot a few photos.

The camera on my phone used to be very usable and took decent pictures. Nowadays, the hoto quality is very poor, but it still works.
Above is the place we have been getting our somtam lately. It is only a ten minute walk from home and usually has plenty of meat as well as good somtam. It's basically a cart on wheels that the owners place outside of the apartment and sell their food out of it. When they are closed, they cover it with tarp and put all of the tables and chairs away somewhere.
Most places like this, which there are many, just pack up everything every evening and push their cart down the narrow streets and even on the major thoroughfares back to their homes, to prepare for the next day. Above is one such somtam cart five meters down from the one that we like to eat at.
These dinosaurs are used more as an outdoor toilet and billboards than for their intended use.
As I was standing there, I looked across the road at the photo above and asked myself just how obsolete or rarely used these prehistoric machines are? Haha, the payphone...I remember when I always knew where the nearest payphone was; Marine Corps days, one on every floor of our barracks. Hawaii days, which for me were the days when beepers (pagers) were the technological IN thing, I knew where they were everywhere in Waikiki and the Kahala area, not to mention downtown Honolulu and Kaka'ako Park where I would play roller hockey with friends from the Disney Store after our shifts.
And, if you're ever in need of a truck to haul your personal things when you move apartments or pretty much haul anything for any reason, all you have to do is call one of these numbers wired to the electric pole. So many of the small sois (roads) are littered with these signs. I find it both ugly and cool looking at the same time.
I've been noticing a lot lately as I sit in traffic (translated- everytime and anytime I drive) that people stick small mirrors on their homes or walls. I'm pretty sure it is out of superstition, to scare away spirits or something. Some of them have Chinese characters on them, some of them look like disco balls. This mirror was directly below some guy's apartment, above our somtam cart. I saw three or four yesterday on the way home from the vet.
We usually eat one of each of these, grilled chicken and grilled catfish, when we pick up food from this somtam cart. Today I went with steamed chicken instead. That's special for Sundays only.
Sometimes you're lucky enough, or unlucky in my case, to see the catfish marinating under the rusty greasy back side of the know, where you have to watch out for foot long rats. No joke.
And for blessings, they cart comes fully equipped with it's own "offering to the spirits" space right above the tomatoes, limes, papaya and beans.
Still not sure why Red Fanta has become the most popular offering to the spirits. We have a spirit house at our rented home and we put red soda out there for the spirits once or twice a year along with candles, incense and flowers. Guess they don't do caffeine ;)
So, these are the things that I saw, while standing in the same spot, waiting for lunch ;) Pretty cool when I think of how it felt when I first came here and saw the same things. Totally different atmosphere than being back home.

I think I'll do this every now and then ;) Maybe I'll call it something like "Sunday 360" as Sundays are generally free days for me...Whaddya think?


mardenheyjude said...

Nice story and pictures. I found the mirrors part of it interesting because I have heard of Feng Shui mirrors that are hung outside of homes in a certain and particular fashion and they direct positive energy into and around the home and negative energy away, I think. Some say it works for people too. ????

"Sunday 360" sounds like a good name. Hi to Pae. Love always, Auntie

Pae and Guy said...

Could be the same here as far as the mirrors go. I see them often enough to notice them and to be curious, but haven't really done any research into it.

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