Siam in-between: Isaan barbecue in pitch-black

After having cleaned the house today, the aircon-unit started making beeping noises. Next, the lights started stuttering and wifi went out for a few minutes. By the time night fell, there was a huge black-out in our neighborhood. One hasn’t experienced darkness until one experiences it on the Thai countryside. What followed was an unexpectedly lovely evening. Not really remarkable, nor ordinary, but somewhere in-between.


There we were, in a house all spic-and-span, smelling all kinds of fresh. One sense really heightens when another fails. But one scent we could not pick up on: the odor of a freshly cooked meal. The grocery run hadn’t happened today. We slept in late, and the noodle stands in our street would be out of commission as well. To the local market it was!

Once in the street the darkness really took hold of me. With all the light pollution, I seriously doubt that Belgium has any location that is dark at night, to this extent. The slightly frantic movement of the occasional motorcycle headlight gave away that the locals were out of their element too.

Once at the market the atmosphere was different. No luuk thung music blasting at a painful level, almost no light … it immediately dawned on us that the outage included the market. Darn. ‘Hey, are you Steven?’ someone asked in an excited manner, while we wandered the isles in despair. ‘I am Old School‘. Even during a black-out someone was able to blind side me. ‘From Facebook. You like to post comments and likes about locals cars, right?’. Turns out he was an acquaintance of my fiancée. I had been impressed by pictures of his custom car on social media. ‘Would you like to see my cars and workshop, it is right around the corner?’.

That is how Khwantippa and myself found ourselves standing between familiar and less familiar shapes of Asian vintage cars and their spare parts. My interest got me an invitation to return at a time with better visibility. My enthusiasm got us invited to a local drive with other automobile aficionados. To be continued. Sadly, we had to leave, as mosquitoes were eating us alive.

But that still left us with a sizable appetite, riding around aimlessly. ‘Wait a minute’, a thought sparked. ‘The Isaan Barbecue place uses coal!’.

That is how we ended up having a lovely half-grilled half-cooked meal in a restaurant bathed in candle light.

When the light bulbs started blinking into operation, I regretted the return of electricity. Well, almost, I would have missed the air conditioner, at night 🙂


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