I bet you can guess what it is…
I have been (perhaps excessively) excited to see The Hangover II. Since arriving in Bangkok and seeing the trailers with images of Thailand, I have been curious to see our new home portrayed on the big screen through a Western lens. Even though the movie seems to be getting universally bad reviews, I thought it was funny…in the same way that all of those same jokes were funny in the first one.
And although I enjoyed the shots of Bangkok and of Thailand’s fabulous beaches, what struck me most was the fact that some of the jokes were awkwardly culturally inappropriate. Nothing makes that jump out at you more like seeing it in a theater in the country where it was filmed. Did they really need quite so many jokes about monks? They certainly, too, went out of their way to depict every stereotype of Bangkok’s seediest areas and to hype up the most old-school perceptions of the city. Grimy hotels and lady-boys are easy go-tos for jokes about Bangkok. But then there were the shots of the elephant walking through downtown. I’ve been here for six months – no chance could an elephant make it down the street here. The taxis can’t even make it through the traffic. And daily brownouts? Our electricity has only gone out twice – both times for less than 10 minutes. The heat though….that appeared to be portrayed quite accurately.
We don’t get every English-language movie in Bangkok, but we are certain to get all of the movies of the blockbuster, blowing things up, fast car, big time action sort. I normally would have minimal interest in that type of movie, but here in Bangkok there is one thing that makes practically any movie much more appealing…movie snacks. Some are the same as we have at home, but there are lots of different treats to ponder. I am always fascinated with the many fish-flavored crunchy snacks, like the Fisho advertised below.
But the best movie-going snack in Thailand is the popcorn. Popcorn in Thailand is much more fun than back home, largely because it comes in four flavors that you can request to have mixed up in any combination. There’s regular Salted Popcorn and a delicious crunchy Caramel version. And then things get surprising because, even though barbecue (at least the way we think of barbecue sauce back home) is not common here, the third Popcorn flavor is “BBQ”. It’s orange, and has a smoky paprika flavor.
And then there’s my Thai Popcorn flavor of choice. Corn Cheese. It doesn’t really taste like corn…or like cheese for that matter. It sort of just tastes like itself in the same way the Cool Ranch Doritos taste only like Cool Ranch Doritos and not like anything that could possibly be naturally derived.
I think that Frank might rather eat steamed broccoli during the movie than share my Corn Cheese Popcorn. I like it that way. More Corn Cheese for me.