Freedom, Friends & Fruit: In Bangkok with Dave’s Travel Corner

with our friend David Thompson in Bangkok

Mr. Spice and I connected with our tall friend David Thompson at the Bangkokian Folklore Museum for an audio interview. “No shoe!”

We visited South East Asia in winter 2018 and thoroughly enjoyed our journey focused on friends, culture, relaxation, and food. From the friendly citizens who were always ready to help a couple of confused tourists, to the unique and delicious foods we sampled during our two-week adventure, we returned from our trip with an over-stuffed backpack of fun memories and tasty good times.

Mr. Spice and I traveled from California through Taipei on our way to Thailand’s biggest and most bustling city—Bangkok—where we joined our globe-trotting friend David Thompson. Our friend Dave is the “Dave” in DavesTravelCorner.com, one of the oldest travel sites on the internet that features journals, guides, and useful online information for exploring the world IRL. With his lengthy experience writing about global travel and publishing guides, stories, and photo essays from all the corners of the world, he’s an excellent guide and concierge for visas and other logistics. He also encouraged us to change our itinerary and visit Myanmar before this long-closed country inevitably changes and becomes more westernized. We’re grateful for the suggestion that helped us begin to discover this interesting and complex country filled with welcoming and warm hearted people.

Green Garden Cooking School exterior

One of our trip highlights: learning to make traditional Thai dishes from Ms. Pon at Green Garden

It’s my first visit to this part of the world, so everything was new and exciting. From traveling on Bangkok’s slick SkyTrain public transportation system to learning how to prepare traditional Thai dishes at Green Garden Cooking School, we found the differences and similarities between our cultures delicious and interesting. What an electrifying experience to explore new flavors, visit amazing places, and meet such welcoming people across our entire trip.

Truly, the world would be a more kind and interesting place if we all of us explored outside of the lines that seemingly enclose our lives. As Mark Twain wrote in Innocents Abroad/Roughing It, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Passport up to date? Let’s go!

This interview was initially broadcast during Issues & Ideas on KCBX public radio.

lemongrass fish and grilled prawns for breakfast at Bangkok's floating market
a pineapple professional at a farmers market in Thailand
Dave helps prep ingredients for dinner in rural Thailand
ingredients for cooking school class include galangal, kaffir limes & leaves, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, shallots and chilis
Tom yum soup: do try this at home
Mr. Spice with Green Garden Cooking School teacher Ms. Pon at her favorite outdoor market
in a floating village on Myanmar's Inle Lake, this woman makes an amazing fermented tea leaf salad
we found weavings for tablecloths at this excellent shop in Yangon that sells handmade textiles from the Chin region of Myanmar
at Bangkok's excellent Eat Me restaurant, the Laab-Moo cocktail highlights flavors from Northeast Thai cuisine: mint, shallot, cilantro, roasted rice, Serrano ham & vodka

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