Dinner parties rule

I know I'm always going on about the Thai food here—and it's definitely gush-worthy, don't get me wrong—but sometimes I have an overpowering craving for pizza or pasta. Usually pizza. But this time pasta. Isabella and Toby invited people to their apartment for dinner a few weeks ago and served a pasta dish so savory, I requested a repeat a couple of nights ago. Underneath that gorgeous bed of pasta is a heap of superfoods: steamed broccoli and cauliflower, grape tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, green, red and yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, black beans, pecans, green onion, basil and cilantro. She stirred it all up with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, then served it with bread, cheese, salami and wine. Mamma mia, I was spoon-(and glass)-to-mouth all evening.

And now for the news segment of the program...ta da da da...oh it's not that big, but I'm very excited. I'm going to teach next term (six weeks) at another branch, and this one's on the...wait for it...beach!! Okay, so it's not Krabi or Koh Samui—apparently not even close—but it's still a beach. It's actually only an hour from Bangkok in Bangsaen so I can visit the city if I need a fix. The school I teach for has branches all over Thailand and one of its great perks is that teachers have the opportunity to fill in when other branches need help. They'll pay for my apartment here and travel expenses (obviously a bigger perk if you venture farther away than an hour). So I have next week off between terms and start there the following Monday. People who have been to Bangsaen rave about the fresh seafood so expect to get an earful (er, eyeful?) about that pretty soon.


Midnight marathon and cheap tricks

Had an interesting taxi ride home last night. It was a little after midnight and we were waiting at a light when probably about a thousand runners (the cab driver said two thousand) came tearing out of the dark and up the other side of the street. There was something really funny about this unexpected sight. Our driver, almost certainly hopped up on something, thought it was exceptionally amusing and couldn't stop laughing and pointing. A marathon at that hour makes perfect sense, though, with no sun or heavy traffic to contend with.

The taxi fare for that ride home was 67 baht. Isabella handed the driver a 100 and asked for a 20 back. Then the conversation went like this:
Driver: Sorry, no change.
Isabella: (laughing) Yes you do, I know you do.
Me: Oh wait, here's 70.
Driver: What did you say? 70? (digging in his pocket) I have change.

Isabella took the picture above. I didn't want to reach over the cab driver so I handed the camera to her. I like the strange blending of some of the runners with the couple on a motorbike.