Feb 102010

Bangkok (February 10, 2010)

I awoke very early, and decided to catch up on some notes and recharging. This always is dangerous because delaying a shower and packing can least to last minute madness. And so it went. Luckily, a few fellow travelers were able to accommodate my overflow of clothing in their duffel bags, so I didn’t need to visit the shrink wrap machine at the airport to improvise a larger bag. Continue reading »

Two Final Feasts

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Feb 092010

Krabi (February 9, 2010)

After one last visit to the breakfast buffet for a last bowl of simple rice porridge (with vinegar, chillies, cilantro, ginger shreds, and pork meatballs), we loaded into two vans for the ride to the Krabi airport. Its souvenir shops seemed somehow more authentic (and certainly were more homey) than the large luxury brand duty free shops that dominate the airport terminal in Bangkok. Alas, there was not enough time to try out the massage station, but I did pick up a reflexology chart (and wooden stick) showing how a Thai foot massage is supposed to relate to the rest of the body. Continue reading »

Free Day

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Feb 082010

Krabi (February 8, 2010)

We dropped by the breakfast buffet for a little fruit and caffeine before heading out to the morning market for more substantial fare. The hotel would shuttle us there for 40 baht per head (about $1.20), but we decided to take one of the local red “buses” (more like a pickup truck with a camper shell) for 15 baht. We accidentally got a blue one, which was a taxi, so the fare worked out to 20 baht; still not bad, except for the near accident when the truck made a very sudden and hard stop and everyone slid sideways on the slick seat cushions. Ouch, severe butt compaction. Continue reading »

Completing the Snorkel Marathon

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Feb 072010

Pak Bara (February 4, 2010)

My morning leisure time was consumed with a small project for work, so I had no time for sunscreen as we rushed our bags into the van and headed down to the pier. Breakfast was a small plate of pad thai noodles with shrimp, supplemented with a ripe tangerine and a delicious coconut custard on sticky rice. Before boarding our boat, we shopped the local boutiques for shirts. Continue reading »

Freshwater Adventures

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Feb 032010

Krabi (February 3, 2010)

We left the comforts of the Maritime and headed South for the final leg of our snorkel journey. Our first stop was for a lunch-like breakfast of noodles and fried chicken. When we arrived at Nua Klong, we outnumbered the available pieces of chicken, so a new order went into the fryer. Hot and deliciously crispy, the secret to this recipe, besides palm oil in the fryer and a dusting of rice flour on the chicken, is the type of lean, strong, free range chickens in this region. As we worked on our chicken, bowls of noodles in a pale green sauce began to arrive. These thin rice noodles, known as khanom jin, are made with a slightly fermented rice flour dough and traditionally served in a light coconut milk curry with ground fish. The noodles here are made on the premises, and have a nice texture; also the sauce is very tasty.

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Idyllic Islands

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Feb 022010

Krabi (January 30, 2010)

While the Maritime is lovely, its breakfast buffet has little Thai flavor. Eggs, hot dogs (“sausages”), potatoes, waffles, and porridge are available for the international traveler seeking the comforts of home. The porridge with a few pork meatballs and a soft-boiled egg was about as exotic as I could get.

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Snorkelers Out of Water

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Jan 292010

Kuraburi (January 29, 2010)

The Greenview’s breakfast buffet was a bit boring, but congee with pork meatballs was available upon request, and I was able to mix in a raw egg from the omelet bar (cooked by the hot soup). With some crushed dried chillies, it made a pretty solid meal. That, hot tea, and fresh fruit would have to tide me over until our mid-morning snack.

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Jan 282010

Ranong (January 25, 2010)

The hotel said they would open their dining room at 6:15 am to accommodate our schedule. However, they failed to mention that the food would not arrive until 6:30. Perhaps that is unfair to the white bread and sliced fruit — they are foods, too — but the extra 15 minutes built into our schedule already was being squeezed out.

As we headed to the pier at Ban Hin Lahd, we passed through at least 3 checkpoints. There is a serious effort here to crack down on Burmese immigrants. Fortunately, none of us merited close inspection.

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Jan 242010

Bangkok (January 24, 2010)

Leaving Bangkok under cover of darkness, we made good time on the major highway toward Southern Thailand. Our first stop was a roadside stand selling shrimp paste (kapi) and sea salt. The products are complementary, in that salt is an important element of turning tiny fresh shrimp into the fermented paste that forms the base for many Thai curries and relishes. Although I still have a jar from 2008, for just over a dollar, it makes sense to get a fresh jar. And thus begins another day of barely justifiable shopping.

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Jan 232010

Bangkok (January 23, 2010)

We only have one full day in Bangkok on this trip, and because we will mostly be snorkeling from here on out, we need to squeeze in as much souvenir shopping as possible. Or other shopping: I would like to find some magical pants that provide good sun and mosquito protection, and yet are very lightweight and breathable, and clean themselves. Well, at least some of these things might be possible.

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It’s a Whole New Trip

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Jan 222010

Bangkok (January 22, 2010)

Today we begin our Southern Trip! But I have most of the day to myself for running errands, further recovering from my cold, and eating.

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Laying Low

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Jan 212010

Bangkok (January 19, 2010)

My sniffles of the past couple of days turned into a very unpleasant cold overnight. Nevertheless, I scrambled downstairs to say goodbye and beg for baht. (Thanks to all who sold or donated!)

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