Today on Uncensored English I talk about what makes me lose my head, how you can use the idiom and of course a lot more! This is a double episode. In the second half David Peachey comes on and shares stories from his latest vacation across South East Asia. The transcript is available for the second half of the podcast.
Hey everyone, how's it going? Welcome back to the podcast and today we have one of our all time favorite guests back on the podcast.
Ooh, I'm a favorite.
Yeah, Mr. David Peachy. How are you doing, David?
Hey, I'm going great Keiran, how are you going?
I am going great. Going great, that's such an Australian-ism.
It is, yeah. How are you going, how's it going. [crosstalk 00:00:25]
Yeah, that's all right both forms of English are valid, right? Um
David I haven't seen you for a while and I have kind of an odd little secret to confess.
I have a little bit of an obsession with your name. When I'm all alone in the house sometimes I just introduce you just for fun. I go "Ladies and gentlemen, David Peachy."
It's a great name to introduce.
Right. Right. And then I do it in French "Madames et Monsieurres, David Peachy."
And I would say "Bonjour."
So David you were on an exciting trip I imagine.
Yes I was AWOL, I was absent without leave for about three weeks.
Oh man, I mean I know where you went because you told me but why don't you tell the listeners where you took a trip to.
Okay, hello listeners. I decided to give myself a break before the year was out, so I gave myself three weeks, roughly around East Asia/ South East Asia. It's not much space you can cover with that, but I managed to visit Hong Kong and Macau, both for the first time, catch up with some old friends in Malaysia, and then, again for the first time, explore Myanmar.
So, what were you exploring in Myanmar? I'm pretty unfamiliar with it. I imagine, based on my little knowledge I have of Myanmar, that you would probably be visiting uh ... temples? I'm just throwing it out there. Am I right?
Absolutely. Yes. We were visiting, I went with my friend from Malaysia, and we visited a pile of temples in Yangon, that's the city in the South. Mandalay, I think it's the old capital, it's central North, and we also spent a couple of day halfway along the river, again central Myanmar, and it's a place called Bagan, and there are over 2000 temples in this 20 square kilometer space. You can't walk more than five minutes without falling over some kind of temple, really. It was very, very bizarre.
That's cool. Why are there so many temples in this area?
It was the ancient capitals. It was the ancient capital actually, and I think back then they built these little temples to... Honestly I really don't know, I think it was a show of power or riches. What we see now, it looks like a scene from Indiana Jones and, I don't know the hundred temples, the 2000 temples, because you see the landscape and then you see all of these ancient temples popping up. Apparently back then, a few hundred years ago, there were actual other buildings, like wooden structures, farmers, cities, around these temples, which we don't see, it just looks like these temples have popped up in the middle of some kind of jungle, but really it was a properly civilized and populated place.
Right. The temples, I just googled it now because I wanted to see what you were talking about.
Yeah, Bagan. B-A-G-A-N.
It just looks spectacular. It's amazing.
Yeah. I have to say it's really, really strange just to walk any direction for about five or ten minutes and you're suddenly at a temple of some sort.
Small or large.
Yeah, now I gotta ask you, I used to live in Vancouver and there was this small, little place that I always used to go to for cheap eats. It was called Hawkers Delight, I remember really well. It was a Malaysian restaurant, and the food there was insanely good, and I have a few students in Singapore and one of my students told me they went to Malaysia for a trip, I forget where it was, but they said... and I'm always skeptical when people tell me funny things about countries I don't know, but they said in Malaysia there tends to be more uhm I guess to put it in a funny way chunky monkeys, because their food is just so delicious, and I guess it's not the food you want to eat to maintain a thin form. But, I know this is a stretch but, what's your opinion on these ideas I've thrown out at you?
Uh, well, good question because I have two old friends there who are very good friends. And their plan for me before I landed was to basically fill me with food, as much food as possible. There are many types, many influences, so you've got the traditional Malaysian style, you've got your nasi lemak, which you see the fat riot for nasi lemak, and you've got a lot of Indian and Chinese influences as well, so I had a lot of Indian style food, Pakistan style food. It's actually, I understand, it's cheaper to eat out than to actually cook at home, in some cases.
That's one of the great parts about every part of Asia I've been in, it's just restaurants are so cheap and the quality of the food is awesome. It was always amazing. In Canada if I go to a restaurant with my wife, it's gonna cost us generally upwards of $60, which isn't really cheap for me.
Yeah that's steep.
Yeah, and I'm not always thrilled with the quality of the food so I think we get the low end of the stick in terms of fine dining over here.
Okay, I'm just going to do a quick calculation. I just went to work out how many ringgits, the Malaysian ringgits to the dollar. I'll follow the US dollar, my gosh so a full plate of food $1.12 US.
Oh my god, that's depressing.
You get a full plate of food. In Australia that would cost, five to six times as much. This was just a little place, I just walked around the corner and saw a large buffet.
I would never cook again if food was that price in Canada.
Yeah. It's wonderful.
So, David, what would say was the highlight of the trip? Or was there any interesting adventures or experiences you had?
Uhm... Good question. I think, because I and my foody friend went through Myanmar, we did a bit of a food exploration, and we realized Burmese food is, it's a little bit of influence from a bit from India, bit from China. It's not really too spicy. I think the thing with, if you're eating in Myanmar, you'll order your curry but it looks actually very, very small. Maybe three or four chunks of meat when it comes out and you're thinking "wow that's not a lot" and then you get about six or seven side dishes full of vegetables. Suddenly your table is absolutely full of all of these little side dishes and you get rice, and you get unending soup. And yeah you can fill yourself up really well for just a couple of US dollars per person.
Yeah, oh my god.
It makes living in North America so depressing.
I remember Korean restaurants are just amazing in the same sense. You would go and you'd get served immediately and the food's cooking in front of you but you would get the side dishes, which is called pancha, and you'd always get four or six of them and they'd fill them up when they're empty.
Yeah, it's unlimited side dishes. I really enjoyed that. Some of my Korean friends here in Brisbane took me out immediately for Korean food.
You don't pay extra for them, you're not punished by a hefty bill. At least not in Korea. I don't know about...
What's the price range of Korean restaurants in Australia?
Good question. You'd still pay around twenty to twenty five Australian dollars. What's that, maybe about just under twenty US dollars. Which isn't too bad, especially if you're having a hot pot which everyone shares.
Everyone's pretty satisfied at the end and you have your Soju or your Makolli, or just your regular Korean beers.
Oh yeah. Yeah I always try to stay away from the Soju. That stuff was dangerous if you had too much of it, because they come in such small bottles and in Korea the bottles are, I don't think they're more than two dollars each
Yes I remember that.
You go out with four or five people and by the end of the night your table's just covered in bottles and it's hard to stand up sometimes.
Yeah, good memories.
Or hazy memories, depending how much Soju you had.
Actually there was one food experience. I love exploring the food, that's obvious, talking about a food blog. Something I saw in Yangon in the south. We flew in to Yangon and we were flying out of Yangon, so I thought "alright I've got to find this again," it's a little street side store, the store holder has this bid bowl of broth and piled against the side is offal, nothing but offal. Kidneys and livers and intestines and tongue.
Sorry what was that word you said, I didn't hear it. "Piled on the side is" what?
Offal, offal. O-F-F-A-L, innards. Guts.
Can you spell it for me, I'm not familiar with it.
Yeah, O double F-A-L.
Okay. I learned something new, great. So explain again what it was, you said innards and intestines.
Okay, you'd see this little, how would I say a little counter just above the big bowl of broth, and you'd maybe identify some of these insides of the animals. Like tongue and your tripe, your intestines, kidneys, liver. The store holder I could say would cut these into little kebab sizes, throw them onto a little bamboo kebab and just sit them in the broth, and then you just sit down and start eating away, and you count out the little skewers that are left. It was really, really interesting. AND I believe in not wasting the animal.
Yeah, yeah right.
Yeah. A good example.
That sounds so interesting. That's one of the interesting parts about travelling is you always witness these things that are normal to the people who live in that area but they just blow your mind. This sounds really strange to me too, and I remember when I was in Mongolia, my wife is from Mongolia, her family I mean not her immediate family her uncles family have a sheep farm, and it's essentially a fence in the middle of the field with 700 sheep inside of a fence, and in the morning they just open the fence and all the sheep go out and they graze. And they tied one of the sheep up to the fence and I was confused, I was like "what are they doing with that sheep?" and that was our dinner.
But it's just one of those things that we don't see this, we don't witness this. I had a discussion with one of my Polish students, we don't see the process of the animal being killed and they kill it in a very quick way, and a very pain free way to the animal, out of respect for the animal, and they dismember the whole animal right there outside on the grass and I was just, I was just shocked, I was like "Oh my god, this is insane." We're not used to seeing that. At least I'm not. Right.
Definitely. They have a similar tradition in Slovakia, and I think also in the Czech Replublic. It's called a zabietska, which is "a little killing." And basically what happens is, just a family day, the family would have a pig that they had fed through the summer, it's getting cold, so for as winter sets in, they start about sunrise, they'll stone the pig, slaughter the pig, drain the blood, and then go through the process of converting the whole pig into basically pork products.
I was lucky enough that some of my students organized this zabietska for me and so I could see and join in the process from the beginning. In the morning we start with the brains, because that goes off quickly, fried up with scrambled eggs, put it on toast, that's your breakfast. Brain and egg on toast, yep. While we're cutting up onions and garlic for everything else, making sausages, making bacon, making pressed meat. It's really, really fascinating, the whole process.
Yeah, these are the experiences you don't have if you don't get out of the house and travel. Such an example, incredible way to experience life, to go around the world and see how other people live.
Exactly. Something you ya, in Australia everything pretty much comes from the supermarket.
Right, right. It's the same thing in Canada.
I think we just don't get to see the real the reality of food sometimes.
No, we just see the finely packaged piece of meat with a little label on it and a price. It's very uh, detached from what actually happens in the countries we live in, we don't see the whole process.
Yeah. Actually I have a little confession to make. This is from my first year in Slovakia, because there are fruit trees everywhere. Until I actually saw apples on a tree, I never realized that the apple fruit actually grew in clusters, because every cartoon I'd seen of an apple tree, the apples were evenly distributed around the tree.
When I saw apples for real I saw "hang on, the fruit are kind of clustered together, that's really strange."
Yeah, and there's nothing like eating apples fresh off the tree, they just taste so much different and so much better.
Oh yeah, absolutely.
Well, David we're running out of time here so I just want to thank you, again, for coming on the podcast and sharing your experiences travelling with us.
Yeah, thank you for having me again.
And guys, we're gonna do, for you listeners out there, we're gonna be doing the story telling challenge not too long in the future, so if you haven't signed up for the newsletter you can go do it on my Facebook page, you can go do it on uncensoredenglish.ca and of course we'll send you guys podcast updates with all the transcripts and all the announcements for upcoming events. Alright again, so again, thank you David, have a great day.
Will do, you too.
We'll catch you guys on the next episode of Uncensored English.