Globalization is a funny thing.  Academics and newspapers always focus on the commercial and economic consequences, but what is more interesting to me are the cultural outcomes.  I was recently reminded of this as we saw the consequences of cultures meshing at an ever faster pace.

All within an hour at a non-descript, touristy, juice joint called Mr. Juicy, 3 incidents occurred that could only happen in 2010 because of the increasing smallness and interconnection of the world.

Ham and Cheese Waffle
Why did I not think of the waffle sandwich?
Waffle + Lunch Meat = Awesome

When somebody hands me a menu and one of the menu items is "Ham and Cheese Waffle", you know I have to order it.  It's just logical.  I like cheese.  I like ham.  I like waffles.  Therefore, I must like ham, cheese, and waffles together

What I got exceeded all my expectations.  In between two piping hot pieces of sweet, sweet waffle tastiness was a fully stacked sandwich complete with lettuce, tomatoes, ham, cheese, and some ketchup and mayonnaise to top it off.  In other words, it's what people dream about when they're on a diet.

A food critic might say that the sweetness of the waffles and tomatoes blends together nicely with the savory tastes of lunch meat ham and the crisp, refreshing taste of the fresh lettuce.  I'm not a food critic, but I can say that I now have a new recipe to impress (or disgust) my friends in the future.

Although, I think it needs a better name.  I'm going with WamCheese.  Catchy, right?

Hey, Monk, Can You Spare Some Internet?

We were busily working away in our own little world made from the middle booth at Mr. Juicy, when a monk, complete with the shaved head and saffron robes walks in.  All the employees give him the proper respect, bowing with their hands together high in front of their face and the monk sits at a booth next to us.  He orders a juice, then pulls out a laptop and starts surfing the web.

This in itself is not out of the ordinary.  Contrary to popular belief, a lot of monks in Thailand do not live a completely minimalist life and many use the internet, have cellphones, and are probably more hip to the cool gadgets than I am.  However, this particular monk decided to start streaming Thai television dramas, thereby slowing down the internet for the rest of us to the speed of a turtle on its deathbed.

In a normal situation like this, I would probably give them a dirty look or politely tell them that their usage is hurting the internet for everyone else.  But, with the internet hogger being a monk, I don't know what to do.  He doesn't seem to appear to speak English and I have not learned enough Thai to properly speak to a monk without violating all kinds of centuries old cultural norms.  Even if I could speak perfect Thai, what would I say?

A) Subtle Sarcasm: "Hey, do you think the laws of karma extend to internet usage?"
B) Blatant Humor: "The internet over here is about as abundant as the hair on your head!"
C) Compassion: "No internet in the temples?!  Terrible.  Terrible.  I understand that you would want to use it now.  Can I have a little bit of it, though?"
D) Jersey: "Hey, pal.  I don't care if you're the freakin' Dali Lama, stop hoggin' all the internet before I do something that'll put my karma way in the negative."

In the end, I went with option E, which is wait until he finishes watching his shows.  You know, just to prove my restraint and patience and all that. 

Now that I think of it, I think it could have been a subtle way of the monk to get us to detach from the virtual world of the internet and live in the present moment of our natural world.  Those monks are clever people. 

I Want to Dance to This Smooth Jazz

Quite often while hanging out at various coffee and juice houses, we hear some of the most interesting songs come over the speaker systems.  For some reason, these songs tend to be watered-down smooth jazz versions of American pop songs.  Imagine Jewell playing piano and crooning "Anarchy in the UK" and you'll understand what I mean. (Note: This is actually one of the covers that we hear often.  I can't even imagine what Johnny Rotten thinks about this.)

On this particular day, the song cued up was Beyonce's "Single Ladies".  With lightly struck cords on the piano, the singer crooning without any hint of irony, I had to record it.

My Argument for Globalization

Next time some of your pointy-headed intellectual friends get into a heated discussion on the pros and cons of globalization in the 21st century, I would bring up the "Ham and Cheese Waffle" argument.  After all, without globalization, humanity would not have the this genius culinary invention and that's a step back for the taste buds of people worldwide!


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