What is it with breakfast?
Take the breakfast buffet as the Pullman in Khon Kaen. There is enough food here for the hungry German participants in a major convention, but there is no major convention. There are about four of us. Huge serves of veggies, salads, meats, soups, cheese, fish (last night's sushi? no thanks) are lying untouched in bain-maries and on plates all around the place. Who is going to eat all this?
Let E@L think of the mathematical description of this inverted homeopathic situation --- How about the ratio of unnecessary food to guests decreases according to the inverse exponential of the number of guests. A graph that slides from a number approaching infinity at the Y-axis (when there are zero guests) in a curve down to the X-axis (Y=0) as the number of guests approaches an appropriate number for the amount of food, and it then goes -Y when there is not enough breakfast. (Tom, am I anywhere near right?)
E@L makes barely a dent in this Siamese Babette's feast. He has a bowl of muesli, diced fruit and yoghurt, and he dehydrates two pieces of wholemeal bread in the "toaster". (What? No Vegemite?) The seventeen staff give him a Sawadee as he leaves for his 9am pick-up.
Outside, the poor struggle for 30Bht or so to get a bowl of noodle soup or a som-tam at the roadside stalls (and bloody delicious they are too).
E@L's sales guy has a gleaming black Beemer. It looks new, but shows 260,000km on the clock. He drives like Mark Webber in pole position, and E@L is thrown several centimetres into the faux leather seat as we accelerate up the nearly empty main street. This is OK except that the dashboard displays a *CHECK BRAKE FLUID LEVEL* warning in read-me red. E@L points this out.
"Fluid leaking, ABS dual system," he says.
"Are we able to stop?" E@L asks, somewhere between amused and fearful for his life.
"Yes," he replies and smiles. E@L wonders about emergency evacuation to Singapore.
That conversation was a lot of English for him. Almost everything E@L says to him is answered with a faux smile and "Yes." E@L is not saying this as a criticism, as his Thai, despite 13 years of visiting Thailand is a pathetic nit noi, mak.
"I couldn't get to sleep last night. There is a club somewhere, boom boom boom, music," complains E@L as a way of making conversation in the dreadfully quiet car.
"Are there girls there?"
He is silent.
"Girls, ladies, at the club?"
"Club? Ladies, yes," he says and smiles again.
E@L's evening is sorted.
True to form for E@L's hospital visits to inconveniently distant places, the customer will not be available until tomorrow. "You free morning," he says. "I pick you afternoon, we go KKU."
They head back to town, but E@L sees the turn-off to his hotel whiz by.
"Where are we going?" E@L asks.
"Service. Car brake problem."
"Well, do you really expect me to sit and wait for your brakes to be fixed?"
"Yes," he says. It that yes, I do want you to wait, or yes, as in I have no idea what you just asked?
"Can't you take me back to the hotel?"
"You want go hotel?"
E@L nods with an incredulous eyebrow raised.
"OK, I pick you up afternoon."
"What time?" E@L asks.
"Yes," he answers.
E@L holds up his watch and tap it. "What time will you pick me up?"
He smiles and nods, he gets it. "Seven," he says. He corrects himself, "Twenty o'clock." Then again, "Twelve."
E@L smiles and pats him on the shoulder. "OK, see you midday."
"Yes," he says.
E@L has time to write this blog and to charge all of his gadgets. Excellently typical morning on the road in Thailand.