Phuket Breeze

It was a glorious sunset over the mountains and we walked the endless rows of fruitstands and tourist giftshops in search of seafood. As we neared the plaza concentrated with seafood stands, a young man approached and invited us over to one of his tables. Other stall owners caught movement out of the corners of their eyes as they performed various tasks – wiping down tables, setting out plates – and also came over to beg our patronage.
“Cheapcheap!”
“You want snapperfish?”
“You want crab?”
“Good seafood! Best!!”
We were the very first customers of the night in the whole plaza, and we were being greeted accordingly; we quickly became the center of a very large and growing crowd.
“We have freshest fish!”
“Lobster good!”
“Seafood stew!”
We were inundated with the pleas of a dozen business-hungry vendors. What a wonderfully empowering, yet embarassing sensation! How to choose among them all? We listened to more pitches:
“You like Tom Yum soup?”
“We have noodles, sir!”
“Japanese beer!”
“Kon-ni-chiwa!”
In a fit of desperation, the solution suddenly came to me:
“OKAY ALL Y’ALL NEED TO LISTEN UP! THE PERSON WHO CAN JUMP THE HIGHEST GETS OUR PATRONAGE!”
Nobody seemed to understand this brilliant concept, so I demonstrated, hands raised in the air, I started jumping up and down. My, how they got into it.
“HIGHER LADDIES, JUMP HIGHER!”
As the crowd got even larger, filling with jumping bodies wearing aprons and chef’s hats, I glanced sideways at my companions. They both looked kind of shellshocked, and I admit, it felt a bit like being trapped in a House of Pain video.
A real asshole, at this point, would have led his companions away and made everybody feel stupid for performing tricks for free. I, however, was hungry, and judged the winner of the jumping contest on the spot. We ended up having a very mediocre seafood dinner at his stand, so I learned something valuable that day: How a high a person can jump is a poor indicator of their cooking skills. I learn new things every single day, I tell you.
For the next trip somewhere similar, I’ll have to think of a new benchmark. Any suggestions?

6 thoughts on “Phuket Breeze”

  1. Jus, those are old dog tricks you used to do with the farm animals like ducks, chickens, remember?…dangling udon noodles for the rooster or hens and laughing hysterically when they’d fall over (particularly embarrassing for ducks, who look tail-wagglingly silly).
    You and Bill could open a really unique side-show type of vendor stand, plying customers with such Cirque de SoSilly antics.

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