Good Wednesday everyone!
This week I’m going to tell you a bit about our week away in Thailand, some well earned R and R. Be prepared for some jealousy-inducing pictures and carefully-worded innuendo, there to mask certain elements of Thailand’s culture…. you know what I mean.
Leaving Changchun chilled to the bones we arrived to an entirely agreeable 25 degrees in Bangkok- at 1 in the morning. After hearing stories of heightening tensions amid the Thai elections due later in the week, we decided to head directly south to our first bar of call- Pattaya. Pattaya, for those who would like a European frame of reference, is comparable to Benidorm in Spain, with a similar ex-pat-local ratio and a bar scene to rival it. Upon arrival, we decided to venture out to sample some of the delights that the place had to offer. The local economy is based upon the nightlife, which is sensible because it does a roaring trade, but I fear they have become too successful because most people serve drinks in buckets instead of glasses.
I can only assume that they have ran out of appropriate vessels. The bar scene does all it can to draw in customers and this is backed up by entertainment such as drag queen shows (!!!) and what I think were nightly table tennis tournaments in some places (note: this may have been something else). The cunning Thai people have also tapped into the local bee population, too, and promote their products through the medium of t-shirt slogans, offering down right obvious advice, along the main strip.
Anyhow, Pattaya (and particularly the notorious Walking Street) offers a full range of debaucherous activity, which wasn’t any of our group’s cup of tea- so we moved on.
With the ‘attractions’ of Pattaya firmly behind us, we concentrated on the real draws of Thailand and promptly sank ourselves neck-deep into all the beauties the this enticing country has to offer. We went to Koh Chang ‘Elephant Island’ so called because of the supposed shape of the island, and not because the animal is native to the island. In fact, there are some, but serve purely as a tourist attraction. However what it did have, in abundance is what most think of when we think of Thailand- the beaches, the endless menus of delicious food and all the outdoor sports and accompanying scenery to boot.
We were there on a full relax diet of sun, sea and sport, my good self rarely being spotted without a mango juice in hand. Lovely stuff. Aside from the usual beach pursuits we embarked upon an epic 7-hour kayak expedition to explore the south tip of the Koh Chang. Paying little more than a pound apiece, we left in high spirits to begin the adventure. Unfortunately, we didn’t take the tide into account, meaning that we spent the first 3 exhausting hours reaching our destination, before collapsing into a heap for a couple of hours before deciding to return. The southern part of the island offers some mind blowing sights and sounds, but my buffoon of a friend decided to test my cameras ability to swim and retain salt water, so it was out of action for the afternoon. Luckily, a full 48 hour surgery (or bowl of rice) saved the camera and therefore the rest of the pictures, but it was touch and go for a while.
I do, on the other hand, have some pictures of our snorkeling trip, so that will have to do!
The food is something to behold, and the freshness of ingredients add a whole new dimension so we decided to go on a cooking course to get a flavour of how..
The emphasis in Thai cooking is in the preparation of quality ingredients and this can radically change the end result. In fact, many Thai dishes spent no more than a few minutes cooking but need several hours of preparation. The dish above is my favourite, called Tom Yum (and I can confirm that it is Yum for a reason!). The hearty soup is a perfect combination of spices, herbs, veggies and meat, couple with a thin slice of what I claim to be heaven. I absolutely urge you to have a go if you are so taken, but beware the ingredients are sometimes a devil to find outside of Thailand…
Aside from the real food, I had the chance to sample some scorpion, which I have the proof of below…
My best advice. Don’t. For me, being deep-fried didn’t help mask the taste of it’s chewy innards and my face resembled a wasp-chewing pitbull during several parts of consumption.
After being in a cold climate for so long, we indulged a little too heavily in the sun and surroundings, losing time and sun cream effectiveness, allowing one of us to make a pretty sublime impression of an embarrassed tomato…. Guess who?
They say all good things must come to an end, and was lamentably true for my Thailand experience…. The gentleness of the people and natural and cooked wonders of the country rival a lot of what I have seen.
So with that in mind, as the sun set of the holiday, it left me with just a few more reasons to travel again! Sorry Mum and Dad!!
Have a great week everyone. Stay safe!!