After telling myself for years that I would never succumb to energy drinks, I did cave in a bit when we drove in to Washuku, along the route I drove in northwestern Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. I had a couple of small bottles of the monks’ favorite drink: M-150.(Ingredients: water, sucrose, taurin, inositol, caffeine, niacinamide, panthathenol, pyridoxine HCL, riboflavin phosphate sodium, artificial flavor, citric acid, caramel and sodium benzoate as a preservative; basically B-vitamins, caffeine and sugar).
During the subsequent days of construction at Ajan Satien’s khu-thee, I also chewed betel nut (areca nut) [Lao: Màak or Mark (ໝາກ); Thai: Mahk (areca nut), plue (betel)] several times – something I had told myself 14 years ago (when I saw my wife’s grandmother in the act) that I would never do. The act itself struck me as gross because it involved spitting and stained teeth.
Local monk Lung Tah Som introduced betel nut chewing to me properly and I found that one could do it without looking like a lowlife. I actually liked it, although I would not go out of my way to seek it out.