It was a busy Sunday morning in another hip cafe on Nimman Road, Chiang Mai, and the only waitress to be seen took her time to bring the bill of my Western-style breakfast. Only a day and a half into my first visit to Thailand, my mind engaged in the useful pastime of converting Thai prices to my familiar Euro. Small bottle of mineral water: 25 cents. Cold soda or iced tea: 50-75 cents. Songthaew from Nimman to the Old City: 80 cents after some haggling. Yesterday’s delicious Pad Thai at a small restaurant with air-con and free WIFI: just over a Euro. JUST OVER A EURO? Please bring me another one, khob khun khrap!
Let’s continue. Small beer at the 7-11: same as the Pad Thai. A beer at a bar on the dark side of happy hour: 2 Pad Thais. Cafe Latte: Pad Thai and a half. A taxi to, or from, the airport: about 4 Pad Thais. Thai traditional massage: between five and seven Pad Thais. (Now that’s another thing that’s great value here…)
The bill was finally produced in front of me. I did some more conversion: The so-called “American breakfast”, featuring scrambled eggs, pancakes, homemade jam and so on, cost me… 5 euro, topped by another… 1.5 euro for my coffee. An outrageous sum of almost…SEVEN delicious, nourishing Pad Thais!
I was not expecting to break my precious 500 Baht bill, but there it went. After all this number-crunching, I decided that my challenge for tomorrow was to find out what Thais have for breakfast and, if possible, where I could join them at it.