Friday, February 6, 2009

Soup, Iced Coffee, and Nanobots

I said I would branch out from Phad Thai...and I guess posting that for the world (or my handful of readers) to see made me follow through! In fact, I haven't had it in at least 48 hours!

Last night, I got a call from my boss.
"Catherine, we have a 13 year old boy who wants to learn science. You know science, right?"
"Uhhh, I guess so. What does he want to learn?"
"Don't worry, he'll bring his book. It's for two hours, tomorrow from 2 to 4. Is that OK?"
Not one to turn down A) a challenge or B) money, I agreed to give it a shot.
WHAT AM I DOING!?!? I thought after I hung up the phone.

Fast forward to today. Ohhh my, what am I going to do with a 13 year old boy, who may or may not speak decent English, who wants to learn science (I mean, I do work for a language school, so I couldn't help but assume he needed assistance in that department).

About an hour and a half before I had to go to the school, I walked to one of my favorite restaurants (aka one with an English menu) and ordered this soup.

Wide rice noodles in a slightly thickened broth flavored with a hint of golden mountain sauce. Chunks of tender chicken and plenty of Chinese broccoli (I'm still not sure what the vegetable actually is, but that's my best guess).

When it arrives, I immediately cover it with red chili flakes (I no longer have any interest in food that isn't so spicy it almost makes my cry. My digestive system is still fighting me on this new development, but I won't back down).

That fresh baby corn... nobody should live without the pleasure of it in their lives.

After lunch I still had a little while so I went to my favorite cafe. It's popular with college students reading Manga, teenage girls gossiping and text messaging, and aging American expatriates, which is a weird mix but I still love it.

I ordered what I always do, a Thai Iced Coffee. I will NEVER tire of this beverage. And I used to drink my coffee black!

I soon realized it was time to get to school for this science lesson. The boy, it turns out, is half Thai, half Japanese, goes to the best International school in the area, speaks impeccable English and is pretty much a genius. He didn't end up bringing a book, so I asked him what interested him.
"Nanobots" he said.

"Riiiight. Those are....?" He's probably thinking wow, my parents are wasting their money!

"Microscopic robots. They are still being invented. I want to develop one that goes into the body and selectively exterminates cells infected with the HIV virus." Of course you do! Why wouldn't you?

Fortunately, I have a decent understanding of how the HIV virus works (thank you, Cal Poly biology department).
So, we figured out what the nanorobot would need to do by watching videos about HIV replication on YouTube. Then he decided he would disguise his nanorobot so it looked just like a red blood cell and the body wouldn't attack it.

You know, just your average 13 year old boy Friday afternoon activity.


Steph said...

It sounds like you're having so much fun!! I love reading all about your life in Thailand.

Liz said...

Is that vegetable Morning Glory?

Cate said...

LIZ! Thank you! It IS morning did I not figure that out!?

bensbaby116 said...

So what's the Iced Coffee like? Does it have spices and stuff in it? What a surprise at the science lesson.. I can't imagine thinking I was going to help a kid with science language or something and instead getting myself into a conversation about nanobots. :)

That Girl said...

I'm a both astonished and curious about this boy. I'm tempted to think he has had some personal experience with HIV in his life (not too far off an assumption given your current location) which makes me so sad for him.

Erin said...

Holy cow! I would probably of handed the money over to the boy as soon as he said Nanobots! Crazy!

And that iced coffee looks good! I might have one tomorrow as it's been in the high 60s here in TN.

Liz said...

I loved Morning Glory in Thai dishes. Your posts are really giving me an itch to hop on a plane to BKK!

Rebel said...

would you find out the thai name for that dish? I had it in Chiang Mai and loved it... but only ever ordered it from a place with English on the menu.

I'm impressed that you can eat spicy foods, I'm just not into food with a side of pain & tears.

PS - if you haven't noticed I'm just getting caught up with your blog, I kept forgetting to add it to my blog list, but you're there now so I won't miss your updates now! =)