Fresh Natural Apathy

It’s pretty clear that people differ in all of the ways that it is possible to vary. Ask any child if and how they’re set apart from another person, and they’ll come up with a list of traits. Eye color, height, and hey, that kid can fit his whole hand into his mouth. It’s a little less obvious if the quality in question isn’t a simple physical characteristic, but the pattern holds. The only real difference is in the amount of observation required to determine the disparity, but regardless of how long it takes, you can be sure that the diversity is there. Take taste for example. There’s been a fair amount of discussion regarding “supertasters,” who can taste a greater range of flavors than the average person. There are even entire professions, such as sommelier, open to these individuals that allow them to take advantage of their heightened sensitivity. But if there are supertasters in the population, it follows that there are also subtasters as well.

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I’ve been wandering around Chiang Mai for a few days now.
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It was the capital of the Lan Na Kingdom, before it became a tributary of Siam.

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There’s not a lot to say about subtasters. They don’t get new and interesting careers, and it’s hard to see how interest could be built around the lack of an ability. It’s not easy to sell poor performance, after all. You’re probably not aware of anyone with a weak sense of taste. For that matter, most people with a weak sense of taste are probably unaware that they have a different experience at all, since tastes and smells are much more difficult to describe than say, sights or sounds.

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With all that said, hello, my sense of taste is barely functional, and I’m travelling through the country that invented pad thai.

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This leaves me in an interesting position. A full half of all suggested activities for any given destination are food related. At least that proportion of travel bloggers dedicate a large amount of time and energy to photographing and describing the food they eat on the road. Entire careers have been launched by soup. I, on the other hand, can tell you if I liked something, and the answer is pretty much always “yes.” I don’t really have the vocabulary to describe how it tasted, but you can bet that if it had a flavor (or flavors), I was enjoying myself. You know that scene at the end of Back To The Future? I’m basically that Mr. Fusion machine. A few banana peels and a tin can, and I’m ready to go.

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Regardless, the food is a big part of why many people come here, and at the very least, I can talk about where I’ve found the best food. It’s very simple. Food is everywhere. Go outside, look around, and you’ve probably already found at least three things to eat. Vendors selling fresh fruit, meat on sticks, or small bowls of noodles can be found on nearly every street, and markets spring up in the evening in different parts of town on different days of the week. I’ve fed myself almost entirely from street food, since the restaurants, at least the ones with menus in English, tend to be a bit overpriced. Also, considering that Thailand doesn’t really have any food safety regulations, the fastest way to get very sick is to eat something you didn’t see prepared. Dinner usually just involves wandering into a market, smiling, pointing at something I can’t identify, and munching away.

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Even durian is good when you can’t taste anything.

So there you go. Thailand has all four kinds of food, sweet, spicy, salty, and… some other thing. Sorry foodie friends. You’ll have to come here and try it for yourselves.

 

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