Work Man Ship?

This is a solar-lighted walking path at my university. I’m very happy they renewed them, since the old ones were not lighted and were a constant tetanus hazard, but, this type of shoddiness really bothers me. I’m pretty sure they will wither leave it as is or attempt a cosmetic fix, but I will check again soon to see if they’ve done anything.

The reason this bothers me is that I’ve seen the result of an improperly support column coming loose from its anchors. It killed some unlucky guy buying groceries and injured several others at a covered market right near our house, during a fierce windstorm. The support columns were pulled completely out by the wind, and the roof they supported acted as a sail and carried the entire steel and plexiglass structure into the adjacent highway. The structure was actually shaped just like this – just a long roof supported on one side, but on a much larger scale.

Potak Soup

“Potak” apparently means “shipwreck,” although I haven’t confirmed it beyond a Google search.*

This may be considered a variant of Tom Yum Goong, although it really depends on who’s making it. Some online recipes describe it as Tom Yum soup with nam phrik pao (roasted chili paste) added, but every version I’ve had has been much more than that – some are more sour, some have a pinkish stock, some are clear, and some, as above, are packed with herbs. Either way, when we find versions we like, they are usually superior to Tom Yum Goong (which also comes in many versions, the most popular overseas version being the creamy style with coconut milk). Just looking at this photo makes my mouth water with anticipated sour garlic spice explosions – we will visit this place (near Nam’s uni) again, soon.

*Update: After some more research, the “Po” in “potak” refers to a fishing pontoon used in the south of Thailand. “Tak” means “break.” So this word compound refers to when a pontoon breaks off (e.g. during a storm) and floats away. My best guess as to a specific kind of pontoon (there are many, including floating docks and piers) is described by this page as a “bamboo stake trap” set in shallow or deep water. I will archive some photos from that page and others here:

I need to go check these out in person sometime, they look fascinating.

Japanese Hyosatsu (Name Plate) in Thailand

When we built our house in Thailand 17 years ago, we had a Japanese-style name plate carved in granite. When we were thinking of selling our house and moving back to the states last year after the floods, we painted it it over and put an artsy plastic address number over it. Then, when we decided not to move back after all, I eventually scraped all the paint off it… No harm, no foul, I guess.