Friday, October 22, 2010


Mekong is a Thai whisky that isn't quite as good as Canadian Club, but is also not quite as good as V.O. or Royal Reserve or Black Velvet or... what do they have on the gun down at the Legion? Whatever it is, it's a little better than Mekong whisky.

Erin and I were having a beer at a bar at the night market last night, fighting off our urge to go to bed immediately and speculating about what impossibly late time it might already be. Was it 7PM yet? It must have been. (It wasn't.) It was getting so dark and sleepy in that market.

We looked over and saw the bartender and her helper pouring four shots of Mekong whisky. We thought this odd, as we were the only ones at the bar and we sure hadn't ordered it. Maybe somebody in a nearby market stall had ordered shots of whisky for delivery.

The bartender put the shots on little plates, and then she dished about two mouthfuls of fried rice into each of four tiny bowls and put them on the plates with the whisky. A drink and a little snack? What, was this some kind of exotic Thai drink, where you shoot the rice and then shoot the whisky? Or do you mix the two together in your mouth before you swallow them?

"What's that?" I asked.

"For Buddha," she said. "We put in little --" she mimed a little roof.

"A small wat," I suggested. (A wat is a temple.)

She nodded.

My exquisitely delicate cultural sensitivity was the only thing that prevented me from asking the follow up question: "Does Buddha like Mekong?"

I am very curious to know the answer to that question. Jesus' blood tastes a lot like wine, so you know that guy must tipple. Maybe he and Buddha hang out at the bar together, slugging back shots of Mekong. Vishnu would make a great bartender. Muhammed would be a total drag to have around, though. Twelve wives and not a drop of booze in the house, followed by an afterlife with 40 women who don't know what they're doing in bed and not a drop of booze in all of paradise. Talk about a grim worldview.

Erin and I dragged our asses through the night market for some half-hearted shopping and then took a tuk-tuk back to the hotel. We were proud of having stayed up so late. Then we found out it was 8:30.

Naturally, I was up at 3:30 again this morning. This isn't really jet lag. It's not like I'm a walking zombie during the day; I'm a well-rested, normally functioning cyclist and tourist during the day. I just happen to like to go to bed at 8:00 and then wake up at 3:30 in the morning. If I was in Kamchatka, I would be totally normal.

Erin and I went for a ride back up that fun mountain yesterday. I've posted photos below.

Right now Erin is interviewing someone in Canada for a story she needs to finish up. She also woke up at 11:00 last night for another interview. She's probably going to be totally wrecked, because she doesn't deal with sleep deprivation too well. However, we've decided that if she's feeling up to it, we're going to bike a two-day loop through Samoeng, west of here. We'll bring the camera so we can post more awesome full-colour photos like these ones.

Fuelling up for the ride. Spicy basil fried chicken for breakfast? You bet!

The climb. This was one of the rare times Erin was behind me, getting a load of this view. She's a faster hill climber than I am, I suspect largely because she's not carrying the luggage you see here.

The descent. Zoom!

Erin and our beautiful bikes.

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