On Saturday–twenty four hours before we were leaving–I was up early to get the house cleaned from Friday’s community dinner and finish packing and preparing to go. Jee Miew came over just after 8am and asked if I could drive her and a friend to the market.
I was a little confused why, but she just kept asking, so I agreed. It was a little chance to spend some time with these ladies, and I figured we’d sort out our details later. And by later, I mean after midnight when we were just aching to go to sleep, but that’s neither here nor there!
About 9:30 three of us piled into our little Zuk and headed to the market. I was trying to put the pieces together of what they needed and why now. It was pretty unclear through the whole trip: they bought large amounts of rice flour, MSG, sugar, oil, ghee, and what looked like sand.
I was pretty confused, but figured it wasn’t really vital. We spent the time together, laughed about how I shouldn’t get confused and end up at Mae Tao, and called it a trip.
I went back to finish packing and cleaning.
About three hours later, Jee Miew came to the door. She said we should come “look at this–come look!” We found a group of men and women gathered around a huge fire and a huge wok, stirring what looked like a large glob of taffy.
And with much explaining, we learned that they were making a Burmese snack for us to take back to America and share with our friends and family! All the ingredients they had purchased that morning were for this snack for us to take back with us. They had been cooking and stirring over the fire for three hours!
And we sat while they continued to work for another hour, mixing in a few more ingredients while the substance got thicker and thicker.
You could tell it was a delicacy of sorts–all the kids were excited for a bite and the adults were wiping clean the pot and licking off the spoons. Not something they make or get to have everyday.
And in the end, we were delivered two HUGE containers of this snack to take back with us to America! A whopping 14.5 pounds worth of it, in fact!
We were a little worried about taking it all back with us, namely because it was a suspicious looking substance in an unmarked container. What would TSA think? And will this container even hold? How will we ever get that sticky, oily substance out of our bags, clothes, and shoes if it spills?
But, y’know, they had sacrificed so much to make this for us–a large amount of money in their world, a day of labor, and whole lot of love.
I put a container into a Ziploc and then into a trash bag. I put it in a box with Ziplocs filled with air to pad it. And then we strapped it into our checked bag, with a few prayers that it stays sealed and we aren’t questioned.
Within five minutes of getting in the door at Chiang Mai Airport, we were pulled aside to inspect it.
Hmm…this love snack could make this trip interesting!