The Journey Om

The Small Comforts

After an epic plane ride, car ride, boat ride, train ride, and moat walk, hunger was circling around us like a pack of wolves on an injured deer.  I know for a fact that Theresa and the kids had eaten less in the previous few days than they usually eat for lunch.  I for one had braved the train food, and was still starving.  It was thus in a state of hunger induced delirium that we came upon the Arts Café.

Right at the main corner opposite Tha Phae Gate, The Arts Café is a bastion of Western sanity in a world of Thai intensity.  The menu consists of items like pizza, pasta, French toast, and even hamburgers complete with relish, which had probably been smuggled into the country.  Of course, we wouldn’t want to take in a meal without some Thai influences.  The kids shared coconut juice from the coconut shell, and Theresa and I each had a Singha beer, which, judging by the elephant on the label, is obviously authentically Thai.

We hadn’t had pizza in a long time, as we try to avoid such unhealthy foods, but this was a special occasion, a culinary emergency, one might say.  So dough and cheese and sauce and veggies baked to golden perfection provided the salvation for our salivation.  Pizza never tasted so good.

The food was so good in fact, that we returned the next morning for breakfast.  Waffles and pancakes for the kids, and muesli with fruit and yogurt for me, not to mention the first real coffee we had sipped since Hawaii, made us feel right at home.  Not that we didn’t want to experience the local cuisine and culture, but sometimes easing yourself into things is a good idea.

Take, for example, Starbucks.  In Canada, we considered Starbucks an “Oh my god, I’m going to fall asleep at the wheel and die, I need coffee now, I guess I’ll give in and have Starbucks” kind of place.  Corporate dominance at the expense of individual freedom of choice and expression is just one reason we are not fans of Seattle’s second best coffee, not to mention the lack of organic or fair trade beans in their brew.  Besides, Seattle is kind of a gloomy place.

But come the morning, tired from trekking the area around Tha Phae Gate, Starbucks started to look pretty good.  For those craving an ‘authentic Thai’ experience, they even have banana chip frappa-mocha-chino-lattes.  Luckily, we soon found the ‘Starbucks of Asia’, a nice little coffee shop called Black Canyon coffee.  They served Organic and Fair Trade coffees from Hill Tribe villages, and had a great menu of Thai fusion foods.  And they were located just inside the great doors of Tha Phae Gate, a truly magical place to savour a sweet sip of the magical Java and watch the hustle and bustle of the Heart of Lanna.

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