analogue wednesday #179

one last frame from R4R-77, double-exposed in collaboration with felix (aka felixsurplus).

the green up plant shop

so why were we on the mall? because our friend joy runs a network of plant vending machines which are super cool!

she and her partner started the whole thing a few years ago, and it’s been a wild success. they have several of them set up around bangkok and can barely keep them stocked, as there’s always people around, admiring the plants or buying them. thai people love plants, so these make the perfect gift.

i also like the fact that they’re on a mall, in a format where you don’t have to interact with (or dodge) the salesperson just to buy something simple. and as is now common in asia, the payment interaction is 100% phone-based: just scan a QR code, door opens and you can collect your plant. convenience is the keyword here.

besides, it’s just so cool, and in a way, so very “joy”!

it’s hard to believe we hadn’t seen each other in over 10 years. time goes by so fast, and we’re both different people now from when we first met in erasmus, back in 2005. her hair got shorter as mine got longer, and these days we’re both running around trying to keep a business going while living our lives. but some things stay the same too, and we slipped back into easy conversation as soon as we saw each other.

it’s so comforting to see old friends, and to know they’re doing ok. we should do this more often!

perpendicular parking

on our first full day in bangkok, our friend joy drove us to a mall (i’ll tell you why later!). we were driving around the parking lot looking for a spot and noticed something weird: most of the cars were parked in rows like here, but there were other cars parked perpendicularly in front of them! how did that work? well, we were about to find out:

so, step by step:

– move perpendicular car out of the way
– park your own car in the spot you’ve found
– move perpendicular car back to where it was before

whoa! turns out, all the perpendicular cars are parked out of gear, so that they can be easily moved back and forth. it felt weird for us to move other people’s cars, and i’m not 100% convinced that it actually saves space. plus if you’re parking alone, it’s quite a bit more work… but still pretty cool! :D

riding a scooter

“seriously ana… did you do nothing but eat in thailand?!”

pretty much — but let’s give it a break and talk about something else for a change. in between meals, temple-hopping and other shenanigans, i discovered my love for riding on the back of a scooter!

these were practically the only way to cheaply move around the island (€5/day, gas not included), so we decided to give a try, and lo and behold, it was a blast. the first rides were scary, sure, holding onto the boy for dear life… but the strangeness of it quickly gave way to delight as we zoomed around with our friends. after a few rides, i could already navigate with one hand while taking pictures with the other! :D here’s a 10 second clip from the gopro:

the village roads are chaotic, with people and traffic coming in from all sides, but my favourites were the small roads between the coconut plantations, where water buffaloes grazed and birds did their thing.

the videos do a poor work of showing the pure joy that was riding then, and we found ourselves making excuses to ride just a bit more each day. i even (briefly) considered getting an electric vespa for our trips to the butcher or into town back home… but the traffic on the 125 is still way too scary for me to venture out like that. well, who knows — maybe someday! :)

unicorn ice-cream and other delights

i think sampling different ice-cream flavours is one of the requirements of traveling in a hot country. there were lots of them to try in thailand, so of course we had to test them all. for science!

the trio above was a mixed bag. taro is okayish, its squashy/jelly bits are definitely fun to bite into, but i found the flavour a bit underwhelming. durian is… well, durian. “tastes like fruity onions”, said our friend G who complained that he still had the flavour in his mouth hours later! if this had been jackfruit instead, i would have been all over that.

and the unicornetto was a thing of beauty. i had no idea this thing even existed in the world, but what a brilliant stroke of marketing! the boy wasn’t impressed with the flavour, but who cares about that when an ice-cream is (probably) made of unicorns and looks like this?

not pictured in my crap photo: the red wafer and the “strawberry jelly”-like core. it’s like it was made by (for?) teenage girls and i cannot stop looking at it… whoa. :D

moving on, one boring ice-cream on top, and one more exciting “black sticky rice with taro” option below, which was great. they put bits of chewy black rice on it, that popped up as you made your way through the ice-cream. i approve!

my favorite was this corn and coconut milk creation though:

putting coconut in anything is practically a guarantee that i will like it, but i don’t understand why corn is not more commonly used in desserts everywhere. it has three things going for it: nice color for food, naturally sweet (but not too much) and it has a nice bite to it. i vote for more corn! :)