Tuesday, January 25, 2022


Turns out I need not have worried. The new doctor is a very engaging lady, who didn't even mention smoking once! And I had already prepared a speech: "Do you see this pipe? It used to belong to my commanding officer, it was all that was left of him plus the hand clutching it after that accident with the exploding frogs! I have to keep it! If I don't smoke it, bad things happen! The Loma Prieta earthquake, iguanas falling from trees, and presidential elections!" Instead, we talked about the yearly round of bloodtests, and a possible peripheral angioplasty of the lower extremities.

And I should mention that I like going to the hospital where the doctor is; I'm surrounded by intelligent and competent people there who are all wearing masks. And not a single damn' crazy ass screaming that they want ivermectin (those might be down at General, not sure).

Several languages were utilized today. Cantonese for most of the staff I came in contact with (they're used to me now), English for talking with the doctor (naturally, my Cantonese is not good enough for a medical discussion), Mandarin (listening in while office manager discussed sending a patient to a specialist while keeping the regular care physician the same on the phone), Dutch and German (swearing at maskless cretins on the street under my breath), and Indonesian (discussing the 'bersiap' period with someone who knows meatball congee).
Bakso bubur. Congee with meatballs, minced scallion, and fried shallots.
With a nice crispy fresh fried yautiu.

An old time taste, almost antique, very home town.


The linguistic failure was lunch. Given the word for the cooking technique used (炒 'chaau'; to sauté or stir-fry), what I expected was shrimp and pumpkin strips stir fried and sauced. Perhaps with some scallion strewn over, and a whiff of sesame oil. What I got was whole shrimp and pumpkin chunks battered and deep-fried (炸 'jaa'). It was very good, with rice and a hefty sploodge of Sriracha.
Gam chaau naam gwaa haa kau (金炒南瓜蝦球) is, to my mind, a misnomer. It is not chaaued, but jaaed. Chaau does not come into play. Even if garnished, like in the painting above, with chopped hot chili and scallion (both missing), as if it were salt and pepper chicken wings, the added stuffs are not chaaued, but fresh and raw on top of the succulent shrimp.

In Florida, when the temperature sinks too low, the iguanas become torpid.
And their grasp on the branches of the trees relaxes.
Falling comatose lizards.

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