May 31, 2013

I went to Vida Vegan Con in Portland

I've taken a few days to digest (both literally and figuratively) the weekend of Vida Vegan Con. It's almost too much to write about coherently — so many experiences jammed into so short a time — that I may just opt for one review post, and a post to highlight a few of the samples from the mind-boggling number of vegan items I tried. You really just have to go yourself next year because it's too hard to encapsulate and share with mere words. Just go.

VVC officially began on Friday morning, but there was a meet and greet Thursday night that we missed. My husband and I took the train from Seattle to Portland and arrived Thursday evening in time to check into our hotel and find a place for dinner, but too late for the meet and greet and movie. After the exciting hubbub of last year's venue where everyone stayed in the same place, the small, empty hotel lobby area seemed strangely quiet and devoid of vegans when we arrived. Most likely, all the early arrivers were still at the film or headed out to dinner. We were hungry and took Kittee's advice to eat at the wonderful Bette-Lukas Ethiopian restaurant. Every item on the plate (pictured above) was so delicious I wanted to eat all our meals there, but of course that couldn't happen.

The next morning we left the hotel to walk to Prasad Cafe for a late breakfast and were almost there when I realized I'd left my phone charging back in the room, so we turned around and walked back to the hotel to retrieve it. I didn't think we had enough time to go back to the cafe and then to the Art Museum conference site, so we headed directly to the conference to check in. We were each handed a huge, heavy bag of swag, and after realizing that I'd miscalculated the time, we headed back to the hotel again to leave the bag in the room. There was a full-sized box of Erewhon supergrains buckwheat and hemp organic gluten-free cereal in the collection of samples so I had a little impromptu breakfast before heading back to the art museum. Once there, we tasted our way around the vendor sample tables, and it was clear that there would be no hunger at the conference. We gathered yet more swag and slurped everything from ice cream to chocolate-peanut butter to kale chips. I have a little confession to make. During the VVC weekend I believe I ate my weight in ice cream and cake.

Stuffed in spite of not officially making it out to breakfast, we went to our first session — Blog Writing as Writing: Take Your Blog to the Next Level presented by Gena Hamshaw from Choosing Raw. If you read Gena's blog you know how articulate she is, and her ideas and suggestions for improving blog narratives were insightful and enriching. Next I attended a session on Monetizing Your Blog offered by Nava Atlas and Susan Voisin. I've never been particularly good at monetizing anything, so listening to two successful women who are earning a living from their blogs (and other related activities) was inspiring. I've always had mixed feelings about monetizing my blog but the way they explained it made a lot of sense. For example, if someone uses an Amazon link on your blog to make a purchase, they encounter no extra charges or other inconvenience — it just means that Amazon is forced to share a small amount of their profit with you instead of keeping it all. Susan always goes though a blog link to make purchases so a fellow blogger benefits. I like that idea.

My third session was Why and How to Expand Your Message to Include Animal Rights, offered by Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan. These two dynamos are so good at what they do even an animal-hating crud who wouldn't spend a second of chew-time pondering the miserable life and sad death of his lunch would find himself heading to the nearest vegan restaurant before he knew what had hit him. Did you know that 1,000,000 animals are killed for food per hour in the U.S.? Seriously. Check them out.

At 5 we attended a welcome address and a reception sponsored by Veggie Grill. I had a small plate of tasty gluten-free kale salad and my husband had kale salad and whatever you see on the plate to the left. He said it was delicious. After the reception we headed back to the hotel for rest, meditation and to get ready for dinner for 12 at Blossoming Lotus.

Remember my ice cream and cake confession? A friend of mine whose goal seemed to be to visit every vegan bakery in Portland while I was dutifully attending sessions, kept bringing me back cake presents. I only meant to taste the chocolate cake a little before dinner but damn, I ate the whole thing. As you can imagine, I wasn't starving at dinner even though we were eating kind of late, and this turned out to be a good thing.

Usually at Blossoming Lotus I always order the Crispy Thai BBQ Salad but I was kind of forcing myself to try something different, so I ordered a special — a live green curry. It was very beautiful, and the veggies were crisp and fresh, but it was mostly air, and the sauce was almost too rich and spicy for me. I wasn't very hungry so it was enough food, but I probably wouldn't order it again. I know it looks big in the photo, but like I said, lots of air.

I'd order this — the Thai Barbecue Salad that Bethany got. (She always orders it.) Or the Channa Masala. Let me see if I can remember who we had dinner with.

It was so dark in the restaurant that taking photos was a challenge so I only managed a couple. From left to right we have the From A to Vegan duo, Mauro and Lydia; my husband; Tofu Mom, Martiand Bethany from Spotted Devil Cat. Not in the photos are Bethany's husband Andy, Marti's friend Shaun, Dan from The Gay Vegans; Howard Jacobson, co-author with T. Colin Campbell of "Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition;" two Seattle bloggers, Molly and Megan, and of course, me.

Saturday started with a Portland Vegan Breakfast Showcase sponsored by several revered Portland restaurants. I ate something wonderful and savory — nutloaf with pesto-tofu scramble and Hollandaise sauce — that I believe came from A.N.D. Cafe. I guess I ate it without thinking about photographing it. I must have really been slacking or really hungry.  We were with Dan, Lydia and Mauro — I remember them telling me about a fabulous Portobello quiche that was already gone when we got there, and I told them to get the little square of coffee cake, but I can't remember the bakery. Oh well.

After breakfast I tried to get into Fran Costigan's class but it was full. The first Saturday session I attended was Privacy Lines and Oversharing presented by Sayward Rebhal, Dreena Burton, Joanna Vaught and Susan Voisin. The panelists were quite different in their personal blog privacy rules, and the discussion gave me much to think about. In fact, as soon as I got home I changed the photos in my last post, and will consider more carefully what I post in the future. Maybe. Then it was time for lunch, and once again I forgot to take photos. After lunch was the fabulous Vegan Battle Royale hosted by Amey, Kittee and Mo. Two teams and numerous members of the audience tested their food and blog trivia knowledge for stacks of prizes. Hilarious!

My husband and I played hooky for a little bit and walked to the Chinese Garden. It had finally stopped raining, the sun was shining and we wanted some fresh air. It was peaceful and beautiful.

Anyone know what any of these plants are?

When we returned to the conference I attended a very lively and creative presentation by Cadry called Incorporating Your Other Creative Talents into Your Blog. It was the perfect way to end the day's sessions on a high note.

Saturday night was the Galarama — a dress-up (or not) party and silent auction. (The auction raised $4,000 for the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest) The venue was kind of outdoors but under a roof and even though I got dressed up, I didn't ever get my coat off. I must have talked too much, too, because the next morning I woke up hoarse, but the evening was a lot of fun. Here I am with Cadry and Dreena.

Amey took a one-handed self-pic of us that turned out great so I tried to do it too, with her tutoring. As you can see, I'm not so good at the selfie thing, but after trying multiple times since I got home, I have to conclude it's not due to a lack of skill, but a lack of arm length. Amey is supposed to send me her version and when she does, I'll share it.

I apologize for posting this photo but by the time I remembered to take a picture of the gorgeous cheese platter created by Miyoko Schinner, this is what it looked like. Turn a huge roomful of vegans loose near a board of Artisan Vegan Cheese and what can you expect? Still, you can imagine it in its earlier glory, can't you? Can you? Sorry, sorry. Miyoko told me that the cheeses she served at the Galarama aren't in her book. She's constantly experimenting and her refrigerator is always filled with new cheeses.

So Delicious provided sundaes to top off the evening, and shortly after is where I really went astray. As we were leaving, one of the So Delicious people was standing next to a small mountain of leftover ice cream cartons and she asked me if I had a freezer and if I wanted one. Did we have a freezer in our little hotel fridge? I had no idea but I took a pint anyway.

After a bit of a cab snafu, we finally arrived at the hotel and no, there was no freezer, so instead of wasting good ice cream, I ate half a pint — maybe more. Probably more. My husband ate a little too. I thought I wouldn't be able to eat ice cream again for a long time, but of course I was wrong ... (to be continued.)

May 23, 2013

What do vegan kids eat?

Miss E with a burger-potato-slice sandwich.

The long-ago summer when my oldest son was 11 months old, we stopped to visit friends in Upstate New York on our way to visit family in Pennsylvania. As lunch was being prepared, I was worried about how he would react to the menu — garlicky hummus and pita with a side of raw veggies. It's hard to believe, I know, that as a vegetarian I hadn't yet given him any hummus, but it just didn't seem like baby food to me. My friend's daughter was 14 months old, and hummus was OK with her. We put the little guy into a high chair and handed him a plate with hummus and pita and he immediately dipped the bread into the spread and chowed down. After that, he just got whatever we had, and he was fine with that. The second son was pretty easy to feed, too, as he liked everything we gave him. Both boys had healthy appetites and it used to irk me a little that at restaurants our friends could give their kids tidbits from their own plates while we had to buy our kids complete meals. The two of them would eat anything we gave them, no matter how weird. It kind of spoiled me into thinking feeding kids was easy. Just start them young on whatever you eat and that's that.

I remember once when we were traveling around England and the boys had gotten overtired and over-hungry to the point they wouldn't stop squabbling, and we felt we couldn't take them to a restaurant. My husband went to the nearest Indian restaurant and brought home takeout. I was horrified when I tasted it because although it was delicious, it was super spicy. I gave it to the boys anyway and they devoured it. I looked at my husband and asked, "is this child abuse?" He shrugged and answered, "maybe."

My third son wouldn't eat anything until he was 12 months old. He was nursing, and that was enough for him. When he was seven months old we were living in Australia, and I was dutifully making applesauce and mashing bananas like the other moms I met, but he refused everything. One day I gave him a taste of miso soup and broccoli, and he ate it. That was all he would eat for the next few months, and I wish you could see the looks I got when others saw me feeding my toddler. Eventually he joined his brothers as a connoisseur of world cuisine. The three boys are grown now and all are excellent cooks.

My granddaughter is kind of a picky eater. She's very particular about what she will eat unless it's something sweet — she has a mega sweet tooth. I'm always trying to figure out what to feed her when she comes to visit. We have a standard meal of chickpeas, broccoli and quinoa that she likes, but I don't want to always make the same thing. With her in mind, I purchased a copy of Dreena Burton's Plant-Powered 15 e-book, hoping to find some child-friendly ideas from a vegan cook known for her delicious, child-friendly recipes.

My first try was sneaky chickpea burgers. I served it with roasted potato slices and asparagus — all carefully separated on the plate the way she likes. I was thrilled that Miss E tasted the burger and didn't outright reject it on sight, but she wasn't exactly enthusiastic. I encouraged her to make a sandwich with the potato slices and, although I hated myself for doing it and won't do it again (I hope), bribed her with dessert. (Bah.) She ate it but refused the leftovers the next day. I'll keep offering her foods I know she likes as well as new foods that she may eventually like. With variety and gentleness, she may come to be more open-minded about her food choices.

Miss E's little brother hasn't started solid food yet so it will be interesting to see what his preferences will be.

I hope he is a little more adventurous than his big sister, but who knows? I still believe that offering children healthy, real, whole foods, and avoiding sugary foods, is the best approach to inspiring a lifetime of healthy eating. And I think feeding them foods free from animal ingredients is the best. (Just for the record, our granddaughter isn't vegan or even vegetarian. Her mother is an omnivore and Miss E occasionally eats fish.)


Today I'm on my way to Portland for Vida Vegan Con. If you're going too, don't forget to say "hi!"

May 20, 2013

Just feed me noodles ..,.

I recently went through a love affair with mung bean noodles — you know, the skinny white rolled up noodles that come in the pink nylon string packages. I love those things, and they are so easy to make I can have a savory stir-fry ready in about 20 minutes. I start soaking the noodles in warm water, and then prepare the veggies. The vegetables get stir-fried in my wok in a little oil. The sauce is added, and then the noodles are tossed into the wok and stir-fried briefly to soften them and mix them with the sauce. 

My favorite vegetables to add in are Chinese cabbage and broccoli, but I try to vary the combinations for each dish so it won't get boring, and also I like to eat a variety of different veggies. The sauces are usually mixed from sriracha or chili paste plus a little sweetener, or sometimes from a prepared Thai curry paste. My favorite brand is Thai and True — love the Massamun curry paste! I add a small chunk to the wok and chop at it with the spatula while sprinkling on small amounts of water, mixing until a sauce is formed.

Tofu is often the protein of choice because it's so fast and easy, and I like it a lot. But beans or tempeh might make an appearance, or as in the bowl above, soy curls. Sometimes it's just veggies.

Garnishing with peanuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts or my favorite, pumpkin seeds adds another level of interest and nutrition.

Fresh veggies can be combined with leftovers, or even frozen choices like in the kale, (frozen) corn and bean dish above.  There's really no need to eat boring food when you can whip up something delicious (and vegan!) in such a short time.


 Sometimes, when I'm not cooking or eating, I hang out with my two little grandchildren. Here we are recently relaxing on a lazy afternoon.

So, who is going to Vida Vegan Con? I want to meet you!

May 14, 2013

Nayo or mayo — Nasoya Nayonnaise review | chickpea salad, salsa dressing, bean burgers

When my oldest son was five or six, he came home from school one day giggling with glee. "You'll never believe this Mom," he laughed, "Raza thinks it's called mayonnaise, not Nayonaise. I tried to convince him but he wouldn't believe me. Isn't that funny?" Ah. Another unplanned moment in vegan parenting — it was pretty funny but not for the reason he thought. From the time they were small, I always made a point of talking to our kids about why we made certain food choices about what to eat or not eat. I wanted them to understand about animal kindness and about healthy eating, and to know that the hotdog they ate at a barbecue was not the same as the ones their friends were eating. At the same time, I didn't want them to be judgmental towards others. I'd say something like, "this is what our family believes, but not everyone agrees. Other people may decide to eat very different foods from what we eat. Everyone has to make their own decisions. I told my son that in the case of mayonnaise, Raza was right — his family used a brand made with eggs and it was called mayonnaise, but he was right, too, because we used a brand that didn't have eggs and was called Nayonaise.

Back in those days, there weren't a whole lot of vegan convenience foods. One of the brands available at the time was Nasoya, and when we had mayonnaise in the house it was usually Nayonaise. When Nasoya contacted me recently to see if I'd be interested in trying their Nayowhipped sandwich spread and their regular Nayonaise, I was happy to agree. We don't usually have mayo in the house unless we have a specific recipe in mind, and we hadn't had Nayonaise in a long time.

I dragged out an old favorite chickpea salad recipe from the blog (circa 2008) to test the whipped dressing. The dressing didn't come from the jar like the airy, whipped, creamy dressing I was expecting. It had a stiffer, jelled consistency that's hard to describe. However, when I beat it a little with a fork or stirred it with a spoon, it softened and got creamy. The important thing, though, was the taste. When I tried some plain, it was like a time travel experience back to a long-ago kitchen where whipped mayo salad dressing was being served. It tasted exactly like I remembered that stuff tasting — in a good way — and I was impressed. An involuntary "oh!" escaped my lips. The chickpea salad was especially vibrant and fresh, and I think you would enjoy it.

Chickpea salad
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons Nayowhipped dressing
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek or Sriracha
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon agavé nectar
  • 2 cans chickpeas (no salt added preferred) or 2-1/2 to 3 cups home-cooked, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
  1. To make the dressing, mix together the mustard, mayo, lime, sambal or sriracha and agavé in a small bowl.
  2. Mash by hand, or pulse the chickpeas in a food processor until they are roughly broken up. (If your chickpeas are very soft, mash them by hand so they retain some texture.)
  3. Mix the chickpeas, carrot, onion, celery and raisins or cranberries in a medium bowl.
  4. Add about 5 tablespoons of the dressing (or to taste) to the salad, and mix until combined. Use the rest of the dressing within three days.
note: Eden brand beans soaks and cooks their beans with kombu (dried kelp) which is supposed to make them more digestible and less likely to cause gas. If you have problems with digesting beans, try this brand, or cook them at home. Soak the beans overnight then drain and rinse them before cooking them in fresh water with a strip of kombu. A natural source of glutamic acid, kombu not only makes the beans more digestible, it also tenderizes, enhances flavor and adds invaluable vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals. Remove the seaweed before serving, if you wish. Although I like most seaweed a lot, the texture of kelp is a little creepy to me and I prefer not to eat it.

My next Nayonaise test was a dressing to top bean burgers. The dressing was a simple mix of about half red salsa and half Nayowhipped dressing (you can vary the proportions to taste), and it tasted fabulous on the burgers in spite of its humble nature. The burgers were made without a recipe but they were so good I wrote down approximately what I had used. I've made them again to test the recipe and it seems pretty correct, but burger recipes are very flexible and it's hard to go wrong if you want to change it a little.

Bean burgers with salsa dressing
  • 1 can rinsed and drained kidney beans
  • 1/2 of a chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup leftover tomato sauce
  • approx. 1 cup to 1-1/3 cups GF rolled oats
  • gingerroot, about 1" or to taste, grated
  • tamarind paste, about 1 teaspoon or to taste
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • salt, to taste
  • crushed red pepper, to taste 
  • Nayonaise or Nayowhipped
  • mild or hot red salsa
  1. Place all ingredients except the oats, Nayonaise and salsa in a food processor. Pulse until well-combined.
  2. Pulse in enough oats to get a firm but not too dry texture.
  3. Refrigerate in a bowl for 40 minutes so burgers will be easy to form.
  4. Form into patties and cook on a hot, oiled cast iron griddle until browned and firm.
  5. Mix a sauce of one part Nasoya Nayowhipped salad dressing and one part mild or spicy red salsa to top the burgers. 
  6. Serve burgers on a plate with salad and a vegetable, or in a bun with sliced onion and lettuce.
The burgers will be spicy because of the gingerroot and red pepper flakes. Serves four.

I don't usually add sauces to vegetables unless they are part of a stir-fry or other dish, but for the sake of my review I mixed up a simple Russian dressing with Nayonnaise and ketchup, and fancied up my broccoli with creamy, delicious flavor and texture.

My husband and I were both impressed with the taste of the Nasoya Nayonaise products we sampled, and recommend them.

Nasoya original Nayonaise
INGREDIENTS: Soymilk, Expeller Pressed Soybean Oil, Vinegar, Salt, Dried Cane Syrup, Natural Flavors, Mustard Flour, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Sodium Alginate, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Turmeric, Paprika, Spice, Garlic Powder and Vitamin B12.

Nasoya Nayowhipped
INGREDIENTS: Soymilk, Expeller Pressed Soybean Oil, Vinegar, Dried Cane Syrup, Salt, Mustard Flour, Spices, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Sodium Alginate, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavors, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Turmeric and Vitamin B12.

Both products are vegan and non-GMO. The Nasoya Web site has more information and recipes.

Disclaimer: The product was sent to me free of charge. All opinions are my own.

May 07, 2013

Vegan Thai food | visiting a school in Thailand | cooking with kids | dinner and a show

The weather in Seattle has been uncharacteristically gorgeous the past week — yesterday we had the highest temperature of any city in the U.S. It was 87˚ and sunny with blue skies and a gentle breeze! Today it started out cloudy but is now sunny, and the forecast for the week looks the same — sunny and 70s. Who can sit at a computer and write blog posts under these circumstances? Nope. It's gardening, walking, reading on the porch weather. I'm making an exception today before I go out and plant strawberries because it's been so long since I posted and I want to finish my travelog so I can start posting current doings.

As I was processing the photos for the post, I was reliving some fabulous eating experiences and wishing I could taste some of the foods again, especially the spring rolls you see in the above photo. They were made by the owner and principal of a school we visited, and were the best (best, best, best) spring rolls I've ever tasted. Period.

On our last day in Thailand we were driven to Ban Bueng district to visit a school owned and operated by the mother of two of our host's former and current doctoral students, who also work at the school with their mother. Ban Bueng is near the city of Chonburi, on the Gulf of Thailand about 100 km east of Bangkok. The school's curriculum is based on the King's plan for children's education, which I understand includes an emphasis on life skills and self-sufficiency as well as basic academic subjects.

We observed the children practicing cooking skills. The teachers explained that the children were learning how to use products that were abundant in the area. The knowledge was shared with parents, who could then create more products they could sell. We saw the children making preserved duck eggs which we politely declined to sample, and in the photo above, we saw them learning to make rice paper packets filled with garlic scapes, also known as green garlic. The garlic scapes had been chopped and sautéed with a small amount of oil. A dampened rice paper square (about a 4" square) was placed onto a hand, topped with garlic scapes, and folded into a packet. The packets were then steamed for about five minutes, at which point we got to sample them. Delicious! And easy to recreate at home.

My favorite child-made treat was khanom krok, a delectable coconut and rice flour confection. I've never seen young children allowed to get so close to a super hot surface before, and it sure made me nervous, but they handled it without mishap.

The can held a heat source and the khanom krok pan was sizzling hot. There are two batters that go into the pan — a thick bottom layer and a thin top layer.  When the bottom is crispy and the top set, the cakes are removed — pried out is probably a more accurate description — and set out to cool a bit before being eaten. They are usually stacked in pairs but eaten separately. My husband tried to bite into both of them at once and they spurted all over his shirt. They firm up as they cool and his were probably still too hot.

These are so good. One of my sons actually owns the special pan needed to make khanom krok so I may try this. In the meantime, I found two links to recipes if you're curious. (The ones we ate didn't have green onions added.) Link #1.  Link #2.

After watching the kids cook, it was time for our lunch. The omnivores were at one table and the vegans at another! The school owner/principal and one of the staff sat with us veggie types. The school owner made all of our food and it was the very best food of the entire trip. Sensational.

Because there were so many specifically Thai ingredients that I was unfamiliar with, I can't tell you what exactly made each dish special. This one is green beans over noodles ganished with peanuts and ... something.

On the left is a vegetable dish with snow peas, carrots, zucchini and pepper, and on the right? Beats me.

While we were eating I was asked why I was vegan. I don't usually like to discuss veganism over food, but since all the food at our table was plant-based, and I wouldn't really have an opportunity to talk with our lunch mates again, I gave a brief explanation of why I don't eat animals. It was just a basic animal rights, environment, health thing delivered as politely as possible.

My plate.
Can you hear the crispy spring rolls crying, "Eat me! Eat me!"? I can.

Here's a closer look at the best spring rolls ever. I couldn't stop eating them even though I was stuffed. I want more. I want more.

If you've been following my blog, you know I've highlighted some very odd desserts. I think there were some at this lunch as well, but we also had sticky rice and khanom krok (see the children making it near the top of the post), and these were desserts I was happy to indulge in, even though I could barely breathe after all I'd already eaten. The rice is greenish because it's flavored with pandan, a sweet plant that plays heavily as a flavoring and sweetening agent in Thai beverages and desserts.

After lunch we observed more of the school activities, including the children learning about gardening.

After watching them work with seedlings, we went out into the garden where the children were harvesting fruits and vegetables with their teachers.

We also observed a lesson in meditation.

This was pretty much how I felt.

There were three lucky dogs living at the school. All had been rescued from the streets outside the school, and nursed back to health. The largest dog was a little skittish around strangers but the two little ones were as thrilled to meet me as I was to meet them.

After our day at the school, we were hustled into a limo and driven some distance to a huge shopping center because our hosts decided we needed a Thai spa experience. I was given a mani-pedi and my husband received a full-body massage. Too bad I didn't take any photos of my newly pedicured and polished feet, since they're all back to normal now. I didn't get polish on my fingernails because I knew it would start chipping too fast and would drive me crazy.

Our drive back to Bangkok at the end of a very long, very hot day, passed by The Ancient City (from my first Thailand post) and we stopped there for dinner and a show.

If you recall, the Ancient City is owned and operated by our host's brother and nephew, and we were scheduled to eat at the hotel and watch a traditional Thai evening outdoor performance. We had been warned to expect lots of mosquitoes but fortunately there was a good breeze and none appeared.

After the performance, members of the audience were invited up to the stage to have their photos taken with the cast. I had my picture taken, too, but every photo of me taken on our trip came out blurred.

My dinner plate. Too tired to shoot the other 97 plates of food.

When we finished taking photos, we walked to the hotel for dinner. I was still full from lunch but what could I do? In Thailand finishing all the food on your plate is rude and a signal to your host that there wasn't enough food provided. I was more worried about eating enough so they would know we liked the dinner. Let me just say that the food was so good that we managed to eat a substantial amount.

As we dined overlooking the canal, the performances continued both on the water and on a stage across the water.

We couldn't understand a word of the performance which was probably just as well in the opinion of our host. She said it was shockingly raunchy and she seemed very surprised.

When the performances ended, vendors in boats  passed by selling various souvenirs, foods and drinks.It was a very unique evening, to say the least.

Just before we headed back to Bangkok I spied a colorful bus in the parking lot; Thailand is a very color-intensive country, and even the buses are likely to be vibrant.

Back at our hotel, we had a few hours to sleep before being picked up at 3:30 a.m. to head to the airport, but before signing off on Thailand, I want to show you one more thing — the bathroom. In Thailand, as in other countries I've visited, the sewage system cannot handle toilet paper. Our hotel and bathroom were very modern, but the sign is clear.

You can see the little can on the bottom right, but the situation is not as grim as it seems, because the bathrooms are equipped with a handy little spray hose next to the toilet which you use before blotting dry with the toilet paper. When I returned home, one of the things I missed was the hose. I know there are bidets, but I really liked the efficiency of the hose. I want one.

More posts about our trip to Thailand:
Thailand post #1  
Thailand post #2  
Thailand post #3  
Thailand post #4
Thailand post #5