Bugs around Food

Thursdays are relaxing days for me at school. I teach 4 hours on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, but on Thursdays I only teach 1 hour. Of course, I have a lot of work to do when I’m not teaching. Thursdays are a good day to catch up on grading and plan for the following week.

I usually take a trip to the complex on Thursday afternoons just to get out of the office for awhile. I can send letters from the post office, go to the bank, and buy some coffee there. I always go to the same coffee shop, Coffee Mania. I first visited Coffee Mania on my 1st morning in Khon Kaen. I woke up very early and walked to the complex. I had my Thai phrase book with me, and I ordered a cup of coffee. The two women who worked there were very nice to me, and I started going there for iced coffee every morning. When I finally got some good coffee that I could make at home, I stopped making daily trips to Coffee Mania. I was a little sad about it because I always enjoyed trying to talk with the ladies there. Now I go there every Thursday, so I still get to see them and have a nice glass of iced coffee.

Coffee Mania also sells fruit juices. They have about 15 kinds of juice, and the juice is always sitting out in jars. Today I noticed that there was a bee drowning in one of the fruit juice jars. There was also another bee stuck to the side of the jar. I wanted to point it out to the people who work there, but I didn’t want to do it in front of their other customers. While I was waiting for the other customers to go away so I could tell them about the bees in their fruit juice, a customer ordered a glass of the fruit juice that the bees were in. The woman who works there scooped up some fruit juice for the customer and then scooped out the bees like it was no big deal to have bugs floating in a beverage.

In Thailand it isn’t a big deal to have bugs in and around food. Bugs are just part of life here. There are so many of them that you can’t avoid them, so people end up ignoring them. I’ve found myself ignoring them too. BKK Grill, where I buy cheeseburgers, often has ants crawling around on the ketchup bottles. I would be grossed out by that in the U.S., but it doesn’t phase me in Thailand. I just shake the ants off before I pour the ketchup on my cheeseburger. Don’t get me wrong. I still HATE the ants in my apartment. I’m just noticing that I’m a little more relaxed about these things than I used to be.

I should add that since Thai people like to eat insects, they really don’t mind having an ant or two fall into their food. I once pointed out to a friend that the pineapple she was chopping up had an ant crawling on it. She laughed and said “no problem! Extra protein!”.

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