Today I left the studio early with my design staff - five plus me - for an outing to downtown Bangkok to visit the Thailand Creative and Design Center, known affectionately and in the interest of brevity as the TCDC. It is basically a world class resource and research center located on the top floor, which it shares with a multiplex cinema, of an upscale mall chock full of big name designer shops and a top flight department store. I had planned it as both a project research exercise and a bonding experience plus just something to break their routine. I took a cab into work this morning so I could join them in the company van to downtown.
On the way we stopped for lunch at a place that my team leader and frequent interpreter Sani knew and had selected. She had warned me that it was "not modern" and very local, which of course was fine with me. The place was indeed rustic as are many Thai restaurants. This one had unfinished wooden tables and chairs and had a thatched roof and no walls. The menu was varied: noodles with beef or noodles with pork - but you could opt for thick noodles or thin noodles. No one had the thick noodles. And they were out of beef so everyone had pork except Ann, who is Muslim and doesn't eat pork. So she had a vegetarian version. Of course the noodles were delicious. They come in a large soup bowl drowned in broth with pieces of meat, greens and some meatball like things. Mine came farang style (for foreigners) - not too spicy hot and very well seasoned. And here's the cool part - for the full time we were there they were playing classic Johnny Cash songs. It was a surreal experience - I was in another world and right at home. And so was my Thai staff, whether they realized it or not. Brilliant, I loved it.