Tag Archives: bangkok

Sweet Thais

In more ways than one.

As a generalization, the Thai people are more outwardly sweet than most cultures.  It’s evident in the way they greet others, including their own, by folding their hands while slightly bowing their heads.  They are typically smiling, pleasant, and respectful.  Compared to other societies, the sweetness of the Thai people stands out.  The Land of Smiles, while it may be an outward appearance, is one of the many charms of Thailand.

One of the other attractions is the distinctiveness of their food.  But, and it’s a big but, over the past couple of generations, Thai’s have embraced the use of sugar in most of their meals.  Almost every prepared dish has sugar as an added ingredient.  Even sautéed vegetables are sugared.  Most savory dishes have added sugar.  It’s a phenomenon.

These buckets of sugars (and msg) are at the ready for all Thai street food.

When I see young school-age Thai folk, it’s evident that a large chunk does not appear in ideal physical condition.  A bulk of them look out of shape, with more extra weight in the wrong places than young people should have, especially youthful Asians.  If I didn’t know better, I’d predict that Thailand is headed for a health crisis in the next few generations.

Out of interest, I took several Thai cooking courses at different Bangkok schools.  In each, the students prepare and eat their individual dishes.  In each, I declared that I  wanted to cook without sugar.  I was the oddball out in every workshop.  In one class, six students were grouped together to prepare a dish, but I was castigated on my own due to my sugarless request.  The chef in that school tasted the sugar-free chili paste, peanut sauce, and Tom Yam soup I had prepared and liked them all.  Of course, she could have been fibbing to be polite.  But then again she admitted she had eliminated sugar from her diet the prior year to slim down.  An instructor in another school disclosed that her sister, a doctor, recommended that she stop cooking with sugar because it was unhealthy.  (Hmm,…yet she continues to instruct cooking with sugar).

Pad Thai Noodles, may be prepared with a double dose of sweetness.

When I ask Thai chefs/cooks why they add sugar to most dishes, the answer almost uniformly is “it makes the food tastes better.”  Really?  Adding sweetness to already flavorful food so it tastes even better?  Couldn’t that be considered a form of crafty trickery?

As a fan of Thai food, it’s more than a little disconcerting to know that sugar is being added to most dishes.   To be clear, I’m not referring to desserts and sweet treats, of which, as in most cultures these days, there are plenty.  In Thai dishes, sugar is added to main meal dishes, those that typically don’t have, or need, added sugar.  Popular dishes such as Pad Thai and green papaya salad, (Som Tum) — both have added sugar.  Peanut sauce used for sauteés — added sugar.   Stir-fried vegetables — added sugar.  Savory soups — added sugar.

Stir-fried vegetables with sugar. Really?

The Thai food on the street is damn tasty.  But to order a dish with no sugar is a challenge.  When I do, the smile is replaced by forehead wrinkles.  If sugar is left out, the tendency is to add more msg, Maggie seasoning, and/or honey.  It’s become reflexive to add processed flavoring to the food.  There are so many natural spices available that adding a tablespoon or two of sugar and msg seems like overkill.  And indeed it might be.

Smart people who study cognitive neuroscience know that sugar is a deceptive drug and acts on the brain the same way that cocaine, opioids, and for that matter, any other pleasure substance does.  The more we have, the more we want, and the more it takes to satisfy us.  Credible researchers have shown that the world’s consumption of sugar has grown almost exponentially over the last few hundred years.  Concerning evolution, that means we’ve just started gorging (overdosing?) on sweetness.  During that same time, we’ve seen a parallel increase in lifestyle diseases, as well as epigenetic disorders (which we now know are hereditary).

In a savory dish, it can be hard to detect the addition of a teaspoon of white sugar.  Sure the dish tastes good.  Everyone in the world loves a subtle touch of sweetness.  We gobble down good tasting food without a second thought.  But if we are to believe an extensive body of recent evidence showing that processed sugar in our diet promotes toxicity and has detrimental long-term health effects, then it may be prudent to pay attention.  All foods have natural trace amounts of sugars.  So if food can’t stand on its own without the added sweetness, then the results may eventually turn slightly sour.

In the ideal world, we’d see a revolution in Thailand with the elimination of sugar as a key ingredient.  But given that won’t happen anytime soon, the Thai’s will stay double sweet.

Not to pick on Thais, this sign on 23rd Street in Manhattan last week says it all.

Bangkok, the attraction

Like every large city, there is the good, bad, and ugly.  And like most metropolises, Bangkok is congested with lots of traffic, pollution, and undesirable aspects.  Such is the nature of megacities anywhere outside of oz.

coming down the steps from the Asok BTS station

coming down the steps from the Asok BTS station

But there is also a richness to this city that runs deep.  The people are gracious, the culture is embracing, the food delectably complex & spicy, the shopping expansive (from the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market with over 8,000 stalls to malls like EmQuartier housing some of the worlds most exclusive brands), and the weather deliciously hot.  Bangkok is centrally located with flights to almost anywhere in SE Asia and globally, it has a unique cosmopolitan feel, it’s raucous yet sophisticated, has a clean & organized public transportation system, plenty of parks, a lively and dynamic street-vibe appeal, it’s attractively affordable and relatively safe.  It’s a city damn hard not to like.

one of my goto dishes at Suk 11, stir fried morning glory, soft shell crab in yellow curry, and fried shrimp.

one of my goto dishes at Suk 11, stir fried morning glory, soft shell crab in yellow curry, and fried shrimp.

For those reasons, if I have an excuse to pass through I grab it without hesitation.  I usually find myself staying somewhere in the lower Sukhumvit area (between Nana and Asok) for several reasons:  1) to take advantage of the backdoor, greenway route to Lumpini Park for daily morning workouts, 2) it’s a walking area with no shortage of almost anything, including many one-of-a-kind uniquely cool coffee shops (many found from The LeeDay blog) offering seriously good hand-crafted brewed coffee and a variety of expressos (not for the frozen frappe crowd), and 3) the extensive variety of mouthwatering street food is crazy good.

But don’t take it from me.  To love Bangkok means spending time there, sniffing around and getting lost, not in a hurry, not trying to see too much, or too little.

pull up bars at one of Lumpini's many exercise areas

pull up bars at one of Lumpini’s many exercise areas

Backdoor route to Lumpini & Benjakiti Parks from Sukhumvit Road

At the end of Soi 10, past the guard and over a small wooden bridge, is a direct walkway to two parks.  A right after the bridge lies a one kilometer cycling/walking green path direct to Lumpini.  Or, straight after the bridge dumps you directly into Benjakiti Park, with it’s 1.8 km loop walking/running/bicycling loop around a serene lake.

bicycle lumpini

Lumpini

On the wooden bridge looking down the canal with adjacent greenway

On the wooden bridge looking down the canal with adjacent greenway

expresso at Sofa Cafe, Soi 63 Ekamai

expresso at Sofa Cafe, Soi 63 Ekamai

greenway to Lumpini

greenway to Lumpini

greenway

greenway

form the greenway

from the greenway

Benjakiti Park

Benjakiti Park

not too spicy please

not too spicy please

Benjakiti Park

Benjakiti Park

Benjakiti Park loop

Benjakiti Park loop

Bangkok Dental

It must be a karmic debt that I’ve had issues inside my mouth since I can remember. The first recallable episode was at five years old. While carrying a sledge hammer up the outdoor concrete basement stairs at our home in Baltimore, I slipped on a step which somehow resulted in a deep slice in my tongue. The tongue scar is still there. Why the sledgehammer? Must have been my workout at that time. At ten or eleven, while sledding downhill after a snowfall, I ran into a stone wall, teeth first. A few years later, an elbow during a pick-up basketball game had me spitting out another piece of front tooth. And so on, and so on.

Sure, every kid has their accident stories. Mine seemed to involve the mouth and lots dentists.

Most dentists have good intentions. What I didn’t realize soon enough, is that the medical community in general is paid, not for brilliant fixes, but for the amount of work they perform. When I first went away to college after high school, the ache from an impacted wisdom tooth took me to a nearby dentist. He said it needed to be pulled. He also explained that pulling all four wisdom teeth at once would be as easy as pulling one. Not only would I avoid an additional pulling process later, but it would also eliminate the issue with the opposing tooth coming loose. I’d be preventing future issues with a one-shot deal, he said. So like a naive 18 year old, I submitted to his laughing gas and walked out an hour later with four holes in my mouth, one in each quadrant.

Much later, in my early 30’s when I lived in San Francisco, the west coast hare-krishna-like dentist I visited in the Marina District recommended that the last bottom molar come out. It was just a bad tooth, he said. Like I never learned my lesson, I agreed. He struggled getting it out. He was sweating so much he had to take a ‘tooth pulling’ break. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling seeing him sweating and wrestling with a tooth in my mouth, or seeing he needed a breather, and worse, the sudden realization that because it was so difficult to remove that maybe it didn’t need to be extracted. When it was all said and done, he recommended shaving the tooth next to the vacancy and installing a cantilever bridge in gold metal. What could I say, “go pound sand?” I negotiated with him for the next several weeks until he agreed to a two-for-one price since it was a one-piece bridge. That bridge held for the next 25 years, until this past week.

It must have been a yen for comfort food, as dear ole mom used to put it, that I found a pint of organic New Zealand ice-cream packed with chocolate chunks. As soon as I (too eagerly) dug into the not-quite-at-ideal thaw temperature pre-bed treat three nights ago, the bond that had lasted so many years finally gave way while clamping down on the cold, hard chocolate. I was thankful, at least, that I didn’t swallow the gold piece.

Internet to the rescue. I didn’t want to wait until I was back in New York and preferred to avoid getting the fix done in China. I felt fortunate it happened in Bangkok.

After a quick search, there were several recommendations, but Dental Hospital, in Soi 49 of Sukhumvit, was not far from where I am staying. I emailed them details of the issue the following morning and received a response within the hour complete with an explanation of their process, prices, and tentative appointment times with two doctors set up for that afternoon. I had overall evaluation, an X-ray of the tooth in question, the tooth and the bridge cleaned of old cement, and the bridge re-cemented — all for $40 usd. In New York, it would have been $40 just for greeting the receptionist.

you could do laps in this pool if it wasn't a soothing waterfall

you could do laps in this pool if it wasn’t a soothing waterfall in the hospital lobby

The place was impressive — five stories, with a large waterfall pool in the lobby. It appeared that everyone working there, from administration, to assistants to the dentists were female — all smart, professional, and efficient. The place was alive with patients. If you can feel at ease about having dental work done, they’ve created that environment.

Bottom line, it’s comforting to know that if a dental issue comes up while in Bangkok, Dental Hospital is an option certainly worth checking out.

P.S. I had no problem bridgelessly finishing the pint NZ organic cream.

mapo

I’m not a professional food critic, just that the last two posts deserved the mention of a couple of delicious ethnic saucy dishes.  Last week I was fortunate enough to partake in a Mapo dish (twice) at a place called Suk 11.  Served in many Chinese restaurants, this mildly spicy dish had a Thai twist, and is made with either tofu or eggplant.  It was so good that it had me coming back for two consecutive days.

Suk 11's menu opens to this page

Suk 11’s menu opens to this page

Suk 11, in Soi 11 off Sukhumvit, is an inviting all-outdoor alley restaurant.  Several well-placed fans help with the heat and it’s a step -up from many of the makeshift restaurants.  And, you’ve gotta love a street-side joint that takes credit cards.

All the dishes, from the simple stir-fry mixed vegetables to the soft shell crabs prepared in at least eight different sauces make Suk 11 worth the visit.

the view up soi 11, the restaurant is in the alley to the left

the view up soi 11, the restaurant is in the alley to the left

It tends to get busy so if  you are you are in the area, hungry, and see an empty table, grab it and enjoy.  Oh, did I mention you should be in Bangkok?

The next time I’m back I’ll make it a point to return, most probably more than once.

For the pure veg-head, here is a non-meat version.

Go get yourself a mapo.

a most excellent fish in yellow curry sauce

a most excellent fish in yellow curry sauce served at Suk 11

bicycling in two thai cities

In China, I’m fortunate enough to be able to pedal daily, so it was a nice break while in Bangkok and Chiang Mai to spend the good part of a day in each city on a bicycle.   Following is a short summary of those experiences:

inside of old town

inside of old town

Chiang Mai

Bicycle rentals are plentiful in Chiang Mai.  It would be hard anywhere else in the world to find the cost more reasonable.  The going rental rate is the equivalent of $1.55 usd per day.

The province of Chiang Mai has roughly 1.6 million people, but the city is only about 172,000, making cycling around town an enjoyable activity.

Old Town is a wide and particularly nice area to bike through.  You could, as I did, spend hours roaming around inside the fort-like perimeter where you’ll find lots of temples, restaurants, museums, guesthouses, massage houses, and plenty of character watching. It’s also quite easy to head out of town in any direction without getting (too) lost.

lunch on the way out of town

lunch on the way out of town

I rented a bike late morning and returned it by 5pm and had a leisurely 30 mile day spending several hours in Old Town and the balance riding out of town following the Ping river, up one side and down the other, while stopping for lunch at a local conglomeration of food stands/tables that don’t see many foreigners.

Outside of Chiang Mai, there are tons of areas to do some serious riding.  One day, (while trapped in a car) heading past Mae Rim (outside of CM), I saw a trio of road cyclists, complete with spandex training gear, riding 23 mm tire bikes, and moving at a good clip.  I wanted so much to catch them and talk with them to see what they were up to, where they were going, how far, etc, etc. but….

my rented bike for the day

my rented bike for the day in CM

along the ping river

along the ping river, Chiang Mai

In short, biking either in Chiang Mai or around the area is a big giant plus that I’d heavily recommend.

Bangkok

Bangkok is estimated at about 8.4 million population, which makes it almost the exact same size as New York City.  One significant difference is that NYC has made huge strides in the last few years turning the city in a bicycle friendly direction.  What NYC has done in the last 10 years is remarkable.  Bangkok, on the other hand, not so bike friendly.

There are bikes, and in fact where I stayed I saw several foreigners during this trip who looked to be commuters.  They also looked like they knew which roads to take.  Many of the main roads are “ride at your own risk” as in many cities, but BKK is one of those cities where the risk factor is considerably higher than average.  I was therefore thrilled to receive a recommendation about a bicycle tour of Bangkok, so I immediately signed up.

The last time I had signed up for a bike tour was in Madrid, several years ago, which took our group through key areas of the city, stopping for short explanatory moments, but they managed to keep us peddling most of the day.  It was a city tour well done.

one of the wider alleys

we did not take this alley as it was (evidently) too wide with not enough people and obstacles

The bike tour I took in Bangkok was on of the most difficult times I’ve had — staying awake.  It was soooo sloooow.

The tour was 5 hours, and the cost was equivalent to $50 usd, bike included.  To be fair, the tour company and guides were professional and polite.  They run two 5-hour tours daily, from 7-12 and from 1-6.  There seems to be quite a demand.  If the groups are too large (more than 10), they split them up.  Our group was a total of nine, all of them from Europe except for me, the oddball American.

The tour starts at the company’s headquarters adjacent to Chinatown and proceeds directly into tiny alleys just wide enough for a bicycle.  The riding is slow enough that you can barely get a full peddle stroke in before needing to brake. Most of the ride was: slow single peddle stroke, coast, tap brake; slow single peddle stroke, coast, tap brake….  If you’ve seen one Chinatown alley you’ve seen them all so why the tour needed to zigzagged through so many of them was beyond me.  The riding was slow enough that riders often had to put a foot down for balance.

the part of the bike tour wasn't bad

the part of the bike tour wasn’t bad

Luckily, a large part of the bike tour was taken up cruising through canals on a long-boat, which was refreshing.  There was also a 45 minute lunch stop at 3pm which was not advertised.  Even though I had eaten lunch prior, the break was preferable to falling asleep on the ultra-slow tour.

At the lunch table, the group, mostly from Denmark, spoke their own language.  As they passed the dishes, one of the guys said, “hey, Mr. America, would you like some rice?”  I looked at him with a deadpan stare and said, “no thanks.  And that would be Captain America to you pal.”  The entire table stopped and stared at me, mouths half open.  A few seconds later I smiled to let them know it was humor.  I think they (kind of) got it, but to be safe, I let them eat and went to feed the fish in the canal.

following the tour leader

following the tour leader

After lunch the peddling was equally slow, this time along small canal paths outside of Bangkok.  The scenery was nice as was the lack of city noise, but again, sloooow.  Out of the 19.5 total miles clocked by Strava, by far, most of the distance was covered by boat.  Subtracting boat and lunch time, perhaps a total of two hours riding covered roughly 8 miles, making average speed about 4 miles per hour, or the speed of a brisk walk.  Actually, it would have been an easier walk than ride.

If what you are hankering for is a diversion, not really a bike tour, then this may be just what you are looking for.  But if you are into peddling, get ready to fall asleep. I was, nevertheless, most grateful for the recommendation and the chance to peddle.  It’s an experience I’ll keep safely tucked in my back pocket.

along the river

along the river

feeding the fish during the lunch break

feeding the fish during the lunch break

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tour brochure

tour brochure

Lumpini Park

Any city worth living in has at least one large park at or near its center.  Bangkok is no exception.  Lumpini Park is in the Silom area, close to both the BRT skytrain and the MRT subway system.

IMG_4224Not as large as some parks, (Central Park’s loop is an even 10 km), Lumpini is still substantial, with a loop around a requisite lake of 2.5 km, with pavement markers every 10 meters, attracting a moderate share of bikers, runners, and exercise walkers.  The park has two outdoor weight-lifting gyms, one indoor gym, and plenty of other exercise machines, as well as strategically placed bathrooms, refreshment areas, two stretching stations, playgrounds for kids, and lots of shade trees.

Like every lake park, paddle boats are available for those who care to maneuver around the lake.  The one thing you’ve got to watch out for are the errant monitor lizards, of which there are plenty.  People don’t seem to bother them too much and they are harmless even though they look like small crocodiles.  I almost didn’t see a four-foot varanus creature today as it was crossing in front of me, or I in front of it.

one of the two weight training areas

one of the two weight training areas

If you end up in Bangkok and are hankering for some tranquility, a change of pace from the noisy city sounds, or a quota of fresh air, Lumpini Park is a welcome destination.

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As an aside:

When I asked the hotel reception (Sukhumvit Soi 11) how far it was to the park walking, jaws dropped as they said “omg it’s way too far, you can’t do that.”  Moreover, they were not sure how to get there.  In fact it is a perfect L with only one turn — an easy 2.4 mile door-to-park stroll following the shade of the BRT line.  Their amazed reaction is not uncommon from most walking direction responses I’ve received in other cities.  We’ve gotten to be unaccustomed to walking more than a couple of blocks.

bike riders of all sorts, mainly training

bike riders of all sorts, mainly training

lots of these machines

lots of these machines

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lots of room for stretching

lots of room for stretching

always a group of chinese practicing slow movements

always a group of chinese practicing slow movements

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plenty of refreshments

plenty of refreshments

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indoor gym for those who prefer aircon

indoor gym for those who prefer aircon

one of the two weight training areas

one of the two weight training areas

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playground

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the main park entrance

the main park entrance

looking out toward Sala Daeng

looking out toward Sala Daeng

the parks inner road circumference.

the parks inner road circumference.

 

 

 

 

I almost tripped over this guy

I almost tripped over this guy

to engage, or…..

For most of us, positive verbal engagement with strangers requires a tiny bit of effort.  We have a tendency to run through life at our own cadence, preferring not have that rhythm interrupted by a stranger, unless it’s convenient or for good cause.

Periodically engaging with our fellow humans, for no good reason and without an agenda — what a concept.  It might be engaging with the person next to you on the plane, in line at the grocery store, or waiting in a coffee shop, but engaging is an activity many don’t partake in as much as we could.

The other morning I stopped into a coffee shop, L’amore, in Chiang Mai on my way to rent a bicycle for the day.  The coffee seemed to take forever and the place was not busy.  A mate or bloke, another customer who was seated inside, casually walked out to the terrace where I was patiently waiting and told me he was in the same boat, and that he too didn’t understand why it took so long, but that the coffee was good.  He made the effort to actively engage.  I had asked for coffee to go, but ended up staying for an engaging conversation with Dr. John, who has been splitting his time about 50/50 for the last 15 years between his home in Australia, where he runs a business, has a family and grandkids, and his newer home in Thailand, where he teaches English to masters students.  We had a lively and delightful chat about english, geography, and human nature.  John mentioned how lucky he was to have a wife and family who understood his deep desire to pursue his part-time career in another culture.  It was a nugget of time I would not have had had Dr. John not made the engaging effort.  Afterwards I was determined to improve my own capacity for initiating engagement.

they know how to make darn good coffee in chiang mai

they know how to make darn good coffee in chiang mai

I walked away thinking that if I had to rate myself as either being a good engager or a poor one, improvement was definitely in order.  I engage more than many, but not as much as I could.  Sure I engage once in a while, but my engaging receptors, vis-a-vis an appearance of aloofness, I’m sure dissuades possible or probable engagement stimulation from coming my way.  I’m rolling over nuggets of richness buried right beneath the surface.

Dear Ole Mom was an expert engager.  She stimulated conversation with strangers, and more often than not, made people think, or react, or take delightful pause.  In some areas of the USA, people will walk past total strangers, smile, and say ‘hello.’  In other parts, and in other countries, that type of engagement is strange.

Engagements are not pursuits, rather morsels of enriching or nourishing thought food.  Just like we eat throughout the day, so too does our mind respond well to consistent nourishment — which many times can come from some form of engagement.

I’m not talking about the “how do you get from here to there” type of engagement.  If I was, I might wonder if I have a sign on my head “ask me for directions” as it seems everywhere and anywhere I am I get asked for directions.

At the busy Air Link rail station at Suvarnabhumi airport as I was returning to Bangkok from CM buying my train token, a traveler from Italy approached me asked whether I knew Bangkok well.  “Somewhat,” I told him.  He had three hours to kill before his next flight, he said, and wondered whether it was worth taking the train to the city to browse or have a drink before his flight.  I told him yes there were plenty of places, but as I was next in line at the token machine, I cut short the engagement then took off to the train.  Afterwards I was somewhat disappointed that I didn’t do a better engaging job.  An example, I thought, of needed improvement.  He was  not asking for directions, but for a push or a suggestion.  I could have been more receptive and felt like I let him, and myself, down.  Life is way too short to pass up value nuggets.  There were plenty of trains and I had no pressing commitments.  My cadence was interrupted, but so what?

After all, it takes two to complete the engagement process.  Engagement doesn’t always work like Albert’s theory of “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”  You throw stimulation out, sometimes it creates a reaction and other times it doesn’t.

I’ve known a person or two who over-engage, and for reasons beyond me, try to stimulate conversation with anyone crossing their path.  It can be tedious, all the constant interruptions in our own flow.  Engagement works when it’s balanced and natural and there is a wide swath of this middle ground.

Later in the day, I was meandering in a small alley between Soi 5 & 7 behind Sukhumvit Road and was stopped by a rich sounding music video of Eric Clapton playing on a large flat screen.  It was an alley bar, so I stopped for a beer, fresh boiled nuts, and the music.  A few stools over was a mature, conservatively dressed man, with his newspapers and briefcase, keeping to himself.  After a few minutes or so, I thought of Dr. John’s engagement the day before, so I decided to get off my duff and do the same.

Professor John Q has lived in Thailand for 30 years.  His prior home was rural somewhere in North Carolina.  He has degrees in economics, statistics and engineering.  By his own admission, he’s not a creative guy (although I don’t believe that for a minute), as he likes things measurable.  After an early career in the Army with time spent in Vietnam during that war, he was a professor at the University of North Carolina teaching statistics and economics before deciding to sell everything and move to Thailand where he did contract work for the Embassy.  Now, prof John Q teaches English to professional Thais as a way to support himself and stay active.  As he was telling me about his Thai girlfriend of 12 years, where he’s lived in Thailand, and his Asia travels, I felt like a captor to rich morsels I would otherwise not tasted had I not engaged.

one of the many bars along a small alley behind Sukhumvit Road

one of the many bars along a small alley behind Sukhumvit Road

Later that evening, as I was eating dinner alone at a makeshift, roadside restaurant on Soi 11 of Sukhumvit, a woman joined my table (it’s normal to sit with someone at crowded places).  We immediately struck up an engaging dialogue which made the time fly.  Eva, from Holland, is returning home tonight where she helps maintain the communication systems for the National Police, and with her IT team, services control rooms for all the safety-related departments in the country.  We shared bicycle stories (it’s hard to find a Dutch person who doesn’t own several bikes), and she gave me a valuable tip where I could find bicycle tours in Bangkok (founded by a dutchman).

Eva told me how she’s been wanting to begin writing, perhaps a blog, but has had difficulty getting started.  We discussed cracking the fear nut and stretching the comfort zone which so often results in exposing those value nuggets right below the surface.  We also grazed around this topic of engaging.  I think we both walked away from our roadside meal richer than we were before we sat down.

roadside restaurant, one of the many, in Soi 11 of Sukhumvit

roadside restaurant, one of the many, in Soi 11 of Sukhumvit

Engagement is such a small thing.  Some people are out there pushing creative limits with amazing accomplishments.  It’s not much to throw out small positive engagement hooks once in a while — or to reciprocate.  What is life if not a culmination of bits and pieces of (hopefully rich) experiences.

So thanks Dr. John, for reminding me that I don’t always need to be in my own head.  Little did you know that your coffee shop engagement three mornings ago would have a domino effect. I’m going to try to throw out a little more stimulation, more often.  And thanks for reminding me that when we are receptive to engagement we expose potential morsels of value.