the water pact

i witnessed something fantastic today. (not really).

i was at the top of my soi, waiting for my ride. across from me is a little noodle shop that uses chicken stock, so is highly muslim friendly. i’ve stood across from the shop almost every morning for the past year, whether it be waiting for a cab, or buying cigarettes at the ma and pa store.

next to the noodle cabinet thinger where the noodle maker gets their noodles from is a large red cooler. first i see a tuk tuk pull up. the driver walks straight to the cooler, gets a plastic cup and scoops up what seems like very unhygeinic water. he takes his cup, walks over to the vendor and orders his noodles, and takes a seat at the table. next i see a street hawker. he puts down the crap he’s carrying, gets another plastic cup and scoops up some water. takes a sip, and scoops some more.

is scoop the right word?

whatever. then i see a motorcycle taxi dude do the same thing. scoop, order, sit, eat. and in between the sitting and the eating they go up and get more water. from that cup. from that same cooler. and when they’re done they leave the cup on the table, and the vendor empties what’s left into the cup into the bowl, and puts the cup back next to the cooler.

do these people know what they’re doing? or am i overreacting about shared plastic cups? and communial water holes.

see, i grew up in bangkok. and i grew up eating noodles from street vendors like any other kid. sometimes i’d buy back and eat at home, sometimes i’d eat it right there at the wobbly table set up on the side of the road.

so i’m thinking, am i missing something? some secret code of noodle eaters and drinking dirty water? and the thing is now i’ve noticed this phenomena. i keep on seeing it everywhere, at other noodle stalls. and i wonder how i’ve missed it all these years.

totally am thinking twice next time i order water at a noodle stall. or any stall.

3 Comments so far

  1. Ben Harris (unregistered) on March 23rd, 2005 @ 8:35 pm

    One of the first things I had to learn when I arrived here was to develop a kind of blind spot for things like this.

  2. Peter (unregistered) on March 24th, 2005 @ 2:43 pm

    I am actually surprised that you haven’t seen something like this before. Try looking around in schools, small companies, food courts, etc. Maybe its not a large red cooler, but usually a water tank of some sort. Hanging off the spout of the tanks is usually a cup with a string tied to the handle.

  3. shy (unregistered) on March 25th, 2005 @ 1:17 am

    maybe they’re all trying to build up their immune system? :/ seriously though… i don’t have any answers to this.

    but i have to say that bangkok food vendors were the best. i miss it.

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