Sunday, July 24, 2005

As I write this, a puddle is forming at my feet. Its raining. It has been raining off and on since Saturday.

I spent an hour this morning at the Pagoda. The Abbot invited me into his office and explained a new program they have to distribute food and school supplies to some poor communities. I didn't realize it was the Abbot I was talking to until I was describing him to Nikki. While we were talking, a little girl who appeared to be four years old came in and he dropped what he was doing and talked with her. She was cute and he made her giggle and they practiced their numbers (my by...). After she left he explained that she is 7, has HIV, that her mother, a prostitute, was dead and her grandmother was so crazy and unreliable that the doctors couldn't trust her with the medications. I took their pictures. He gave her a few thousand riel (about $2) and she solemnly took out an envelope so he could write the sum on the front.

I ran into one of the other young monks and he told me he waited for me all day on Saturday. (GUILT GUILT!!) I told him it was raining and we stayed inside. I thought he was going to cry. I felt just wretched.

N made loc lam for lunch, and I am going to include the recipe here so I don't forget it.

steamed rice

sauce:
juice of one lemon
salt
pepper
chopped garlic

on a bed of lettuce arrange:
finely sliced onion
finely sliced tomato
and the meat

meat
cube the steak
in a hot wok add:
oil
tsp sugar
and garlic.

cook the garlic till it is brown, then add the meat, and cook it until is is brown on all sides. Add a little water at the end to loosen the sauce.

On the floor arrange the veg+meat plate, the pot of steamed rice, and a little reservoir for the sauce. Each eater gets a soup spoon and a fork. Arrange yourselves in a circle, so all the participants can reach the communal bowl without falling over.

participants gather around with their bowls as the hostess gives them a helping of rice (but not too much, to get up without eating two bowls is rude)

1: seperate a little pile of rice in your bowl from the rest of the pile.
2: reach over into the veg+meat plate and select a tomato with your spoon. Do the same with an onion and a piece of meat.
3: carefully stack the ingredients on your little pile.
4: with your spoon, take a little sauce and dab it on your pile.

you have prepared your first bite, carefully sweep it onto your spoon with the fork and nonchalantly, like it doesn't take any effort, bring it to your mouth and put the whole mess in. Don't spill. Eat slowly so you don't appear unsocial or greedy.

This is the way polite people eat (notice I didn't say anything about not slurping, or chewing with your mouth closed or double-dipping or putting your dirty spoon in the communal bowls).

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