Saturday, June 1, 2013

the century egg

Well, today was a day off so that Julie could write her proposal and so that we could meet the PI of the project. We were supposed to have lunch. Well, he came in, soaking wet from the field since he just HAD to see the gibbons first thing, at 1:30 pm and Julie was starving waiting on him. I was okay because I'd had a late breakfast. He walked around in his soggy field clothes in absolute shock and disbelief at the conditions we were living in. Julie and I just kept giving one another glances and little smiles because really, to us its not a big deal. Except maybe the no kitchen thing, and even that isn't really a problem now that we've adapted. Yeah, we have cold showers because the rangers are too lazy to fix the heater, yeah we do dishes in the bathroom sink, yeah I have a curtain for a wall, and yeah, we have no kitchen. Really though its not a big deal and (at this point) Julie and I figure its easier just to get along with what we have than to make a big fuss.  To me, from what I've heard of at other fields sites, this is cushy, easy living. I mean, we have a washing machine with a centrifuge thing that gets our clothes almost dry for Pete's sake! Dr. Gibbon (I'll call him since I don't really want to mention his name while complaining about him...) had an absolute conniption. He took photos of my room, while my stinky running clothes from this morning hung up for everyone to see/smell, to show our Thai collaborator. He whined and said this was absolutely unacceptable before FINALLY pealing off his wet clothes and taking a shower. Then, he and Julie went to talk to the park chief about this. Julie shouted at me as she went out the door after him, "EAT EAT EAT!" as it was already two and apparently we were NOT going to be going to get lunch together. Poor Julie, I knew how hungry she was and at this point it was already 2:30. What is silly and annoying to me about all of this, is that Julie sent countless emails to Dr. Gibbon about this situation; how the research house was emptied and she was told we could no longer use it, how we were thrown into makeshift arrangements at the search and rescue center. He didn't seem so bothered by this until he arrived, quite unprepared despite Julie's warnings "you will have nowhere to sleep!"

Anyway, now I'm just mad because what came out of the meeting with the park chief is that a wall will be built, yay! No, not yay, because in fact two walls will be built. One to separate what is currently my area from the rescue center patient area (which rarely sees patients), which just fine. The other will cut my current living space in half so the Dr. Gibbon can sleep on the other side. GREAT. My stuff is jumbled around all over anyway, I'm living out of my suitcase. The only place for me to hang my clothes line is on that side of the "room". I am currently USING a lot of that space for my own stuff. So, with the creation of this new wall, I'll be living in 10x10 feet of space that is going to be stuffy as all get out. I actually LIKE my current curtain situation because it lets in so much breeze. So, I'm a little peeved. Dr. Gibbon is only going to be here for a month, does he really have to cut my room in half with a new WALL for his month-long stay?

End rant.

The only other thing that happened today was that I tasted my century egg. Google it please. Anyway, its a nasty preserved egg, and in Thailand they paint them pink. Julie made me get one at the market last week just to try.
Look at that pink egg looking all innocent like Easter.

MAYBE if you like hard boiled eggs this is for you, but if you're a person disgusted by the smell of those, then century eggs are VERY far outside of your comfort zone. So, I decided that I didn't want to eat it cold. I think normally they are eaten in like soups or salads, but I didn't feel like ruining other good food for this. So, I just heated it up in some boiling water and pealed the shell off.

 oh no, oh no.
 not excited.

Well, once you peal off the shell, you realize that this thing stinks, not any stronger than a boiled egg, but its maybe more of a chemically smell. So like rotten egg smell plus toxic chemicals. Which isn't surprising considering how they're preserved: "in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime and rice hulls for several weeks to several months." Also, according to Wikipedia this chemical smell is probably an ammonia and sulfur odor. Then you cut it open and see the nasty yolk which has sort of a creamy, frosting-like consistency.

Then, if you're me, you take the teensiest sliver of a bite possible and decide, well that was not for me! It leaves a chemical taste in your mouth too. So, the end. Probably won't be doing that again. Luckily if a Thai person ever tries to force me to eat this again I can say "oh I've already tried it and I don't like them that much". But don't be too turned off by my disgust. I honestly think if I liked hard boiled eggs I wouldn't have been so grossed out. The egg white has a jello-like texture, which isn't bad. The gooey yolk is weird though. I also shouldn't write it off so quickly, perhaps if prepared in a way that suits my taste I would like it a bit better.

So, tomorrow Julie will attempt to finish the proposal, I will check over it for her (since its in English and she's French). Hopefully, we will go to Pak Chong in the afternoon to get food and the bow we're going to use to set ropes with.

To finish, some pictures of butterflies! According to Julie, we will start to see more and more butterflies as time goes on. This is great because I was a bit disappointed when I first arrived to only see a few teeny brown ones. I thought, this is a tropical rainforest, there has to be more butterflies than this!

 boring and brown...
until they fly! pretty blue!

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