Artificially Induced Jet Lag

P1090529 If you had asked me on Wednesday or Thursday, I would have told you that I was finally over my jet lag.  My sleeping hours were back to normal, I didn’t need an unusually long afternoon siesta, and my appetite had returned. 

But then somewhere in the past thirty-six hours or so, I’ve managed to re-introduce jet lag into my life.

It started Friday night, when I had hour-long conference calls with the United States scheduled for 10:00 pm, 1:00 am and 3:00 am.  I should say, I had the calls scheduled for me, as I wouldn’t have voluntarily scheduled such late calls on a Friday night.

The first one I stayed up for, trying to spend a low-key hour or two before the call so I was still alert.  Then I went to sleep at 11:00 for about ninety minutes, waking up in time for the 1:00 call.  Second call went well but by this point I was dragging.  Finally, about 2:20 I chatted with my manager on MSN messenger and, upon hearing that I was planning on staying up for another call, insisted that it would be recorded and I could review it later.

So I finally went to sleep at about 2:40 Saturday morning.

Of course, I woke up by 8:00 because I’m just not made for sleeping in.  Something about the muted glow of sunlight from the curtains just turns on my internal clock.  Saturday was chock full of errands including a trip to the stone store to buy new marble tiles for the bathroom shower, which has to be redone.  (More on that in the future.)

The jet lag would have worked itself out had it been a single night, but Tehlin – a university classmate – her husband Chris and their two children were scheduled to arrive from Hong Kong at midnight Saturday.  Of course I wanted to be there to pick them up.  Arriving in a strange city late at night is tough, especially when you have two young children with you.

Because of the category nine typhoon in Hong Kong, their flight was delayed.  The first delay was to a 2:00 am arrival and the second was to 4:00.  Tehlin messaged me each time to keep me informed.  Between the messages, I slept in fits and spurts from 11:00 until 3:00.

Tawn was a good sport and accompanied me to the airport.  The good news about 4:00 am arrivals is that there isn’t any line at immigration!  Tehlin and Chris were out very shortly after landing, their two very sleepy children in tow.  By the time we arrived at their hotel along the river, it was 5:00.

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Since we were up and since we were in the heart of the old city, Tawn suggested we go to the flower market.  This is the wholesale district for flowers, which are abundant and relatively inexpensive.  The market stretches for about five blocks, trickles off down side streets and is interspersed with some fresh vegetable markets.  (Never sure where they put the edible blossoms: flower market or vegetable market.)

We browsed several blocks before finding three large bunches of flowers including some orchids, some carnations, and something I’ve never seen before.  Tawn doesn’t even know their name in Thai.  We just call them “pretty”.  The total cost was less than US$15 for all the flowers. 

Some pictures.  Below, Tawn waits for his first bunch of flowers to be wrapped.  This is in the section of the market with stores that sell arrangements to hotels, embassies and the like.

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Below, an elderly lady makes garlands, used at temples and spirit houses throughout the city to pay respects to whichever local deity, teacher, or other respected figure you choose to honor.  One whole section of the market has stall after stall of these yellow flowers, which I think are marigolds.  (Maybe?  Tawn says they are an Indian flower but doesn’t know their English name.  Dok dao duang in Thai, literally “shining star”.)

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One of the ladies selling orchids just piles her flowers on tables, halfway burying a telephone line junction box.  If your phone doesn’t work in this district, it may be due to moisture from the flowers.  Bunches of these purple orchids are about US$1 each.

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It was getting close to six and we decided to get something in our stomachs before returning home.  You’d be amazed the number of small restaurants and street vendors who are selling food at this hour, but when you look at the number of people who work throughout the night here in the City of Angels, maybe you wouldn’t be so surprised after all.

P1090534 Adjacent to Sam Yan Market, near Chulalongkorn University on Phayathai Road just around the corner from Rama IV Road, is a forty year-old institution that serves just one thing: jok

Also known as congeejok (pronounced “joke”) is rice that is boiled in stock until it is thick and creamy.  Some farang compare it distastefully with oatmeal, but I like oatmeal so it is no surprise that I find jok to be something of a comfort food.

Jok Sam Yan, as the restaurant is known, is popular with taxi drivers, university students, police officers, and all the other types who keep odd hours. 

The open air restaurant was full and we ordered two bowls of jok muu sai kaijok with pork and egg.  The secret to their jok is the pork, which is marinated in sweet soy sauce and mixed with ground toasted rice.  It is so good that you can buy it in bulk by the kilogram to take home and use in your own soups, stir fries, and dishes of spaghetti and meatballs.

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Garnished with some fresh spring onion, shreds of ginger and – if you want – fried Chinese croutons, the jok is filling, warm, soothing and very tasty.  A great way to end the night or start the morning, depending on how you are living your life.

In my case, I was a bit unsure which I was doing.

 

In other news…

So I managed to get an entry featured on Xanga’s front page.  After watching Kari, Zakiah, Steve and Sandelion’s front page fame, I was enjoying life in obscurity.  It is really weird to be receiving “friend” requests from totally unknown people.  I’ll visit their sites first just to see what they write about and a bit about who they are.

It is also funny because I notice that of the several thousand people who have read that one entry, very few took the time to look at any of the adjacent entries.  When you read a featured entry, do you ever ready anything else the author writes?  Maybe I’m just strange that way, but if the entry is any good at all, I read other entries on the author’s blog because I’m curious if that entry is representative of the type of things he or she normally writes.

Anyhow, welcome to those of you who are new readers and thanks to the longer term readers for recommending the entry in the first place.

 

There is a Chiang Mai based coffee chain called Wawee Coffee.  It is a small chain, locally owned and it serves really tasty coffee, much better and a bit more reasonably priced than the big green mermaid.  Their shops are also really beautiful.

They just opened their first Khrungthep branch near the Ari BTS station, literally a sixty-second walk from the station exit, in a beautifully restored 1950s-era house.

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This is going to be my new place to bring my laptop and work.  Isn’t it cute?

 

Progress was made on using up the rest of the chicken stock.  With two extra zucchini hanging around from the risotto, I decided to make zucchini and potato soup for lunch. 

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First I cooked the sliced zucchini in a pan with onions, shallots and garlic.  Spices included tumeric, curry powder, cardamom and cumin, lending a bit of an Indian flavor.

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Then I boiled the diced potatoes in the chicken stock until tender.  I added the zucchini and heated them through, then brought out the Kitchen Aid immersion blender and made quick work of the soup.  Two minutes later, I had a smooth soup.  I added about a half-cup of buttermilk to give it a tangy edge and a little bit of creamy richness and then corrected for the flavor.

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Let me just tell you, I love my immersion blender.  What a quick and easy way to make a healthful meal.

 

Okay, just received the word from Tehlin that they are up.  It is about 11:30 am Sunday morning, so they were able to get five hours or so of sleep.  I’ll go get them in a bit and we’ll see some palaces and temples.

 

29 thoughts on “Artificially Induced Jet Lag

  1. We haven’t met, but I am sooo envious!I’d love to go on a food tour through Asia… except I’m not sure about communication, so maybe Europe would be better; I’m thinking more people would speak English… at least I know they would in the UK and Ireland.

  2. I love Jok also, as it is great for breakfast!  Very happy to read your featured blog, excellant post.  Reading this in HK airport lounge on my way to Bangkok.  I woory I am slowly becoming a Xanga “addict”, lol.

  3. It was really nice of you to pick up your friends at such an early time in the morning.  And I LOVE the second picture.  Very cool.  And I’d surprised those flowers to catch on fire around that junction box.  LOL.

  4. Congrats on being featured.  When I read a feature, I do read the person’s other posts but I guess I’m not a typical example.  Congee or Jok is one of my favorite comfort food meals.

  5. @reallifedemo – You should do a food tour in both Europe and Asia… why limit yourself to one continent?  The language barrier would be less than you expect.  There’s a lot that gesturing, phrase books, a few choice words and a lot of smiles can communicate, especially when it comes to food.  Also, if you can meet people in the places you are visiting who can show you around or at least make recommendations, then all the better.

  6. @brooklyn2028 – Well, they are nice friends and I’ve stayed with them in HKG several times and probably will stay with them when they move to Melbourne, so I certainly owe them at least a 4 am pick-up.  The thing about the second picture is, it didn’t really capture how much was going on in the market.  It looks nice but there is a lot of energy and color left out of it.  When you come here one of these days, we’ll take you down there so you can see for yourself.

  7. @waiszeblogs – Thanks.  I’m glad to hear that so many people think jok is a comfort food.  I’m not alone!  By the way, I need to send you some information about a website that has online Thai language lessons, in case you guys want to learn a few phrases in advance of your trip here.  I’ll get around to that soon.

  8. I don’t believe I have eaten jok, but you have piqued my interest and I’ll scout around Thai restaurants in the area.  The flower market pictures are dazzling!

  9. @RakkaRay – Ray, actually jok is a Chinese dish, not really Thai.  Check with any Chinese restaurants near you that serve dim sum on weekend mornings; they will definitely have it, but may call is “congee”  (prnounced con-jee)  Enjoy!

  10. Jok Sam Yan is my fav place for late night hrs as well. I normally go there after clubbing or sometimes just a meal after long DVD hours at 4am. And of course, thing you can’t miss is Silom’s deep fried doughstick.
    Your soup look so yummy.

  11. I wish I could shop endlessly in a flower district! I tend to purchase fake flowers because of my laziness and dissatisfaction with their short life spans under my care. Haha. I like the style and ambience flowers provide to a space, but don’t like the high maintenance part. :o) What did you guys do with your flowers? We need photos!!!

  12. @kenpcho – I’ll include some photos one of these days.  Tawn does all sorts of arrangements from large to small, recycling them every few days as some blooms die off, until they end up as small cups of blooms in the bathroom or on a side table.  They we buy a few more bunches and start over.  I love having fresh flowers in the house but think they are too expensive in the US.  Here, they are a steal.

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