Two Final Feasts

 Posted by  Southern Thailand, Southern Trip 2010  Comments Off on Two Final Feasts
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 »

Back to Bangkok for a Final Feast

 Posted by  Northern Thailand, Northern Trip 2010  Comments Off on Back to Bangkok for a Final Feast
Jan 182010

Chiang Mai (January 18, 2010)

Our drivers were well on their way to Bangkok by now, so we took the hotel’s dilapidated van to the airport — after a quick bite of congee and fried noodles from the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Security at Chiang Mai International didn’t require shoe or laptop removal, and no one cared about the weight of my backpack. Thus, the lines moved swiftly and we had plenty of time to watch (but we could not really hear) the telecast of the Golden Globe Awards, and to check out the local English-language paper. While our 747 was packed with passengers, the Thai Airways cabin crew was very efficient and dispatched a snack and hot and cold beverages with a smile. I’m fairly certain this was my first creamed spinach sandwich (if that’s what it was), and it wasn’t bad. I passed the time by reading Buddha, by Karen Armstrong. I’ll probably have a better chance of finishing it this week or on the less hectic Southern trip. Whether I personally will be any more enlightened seems doubtful: extinguishing the ego sounds like hard work.

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The Grand Finale

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Jan 142008

After a quick nibble at the Diamond RiverSide’s breakfast buffet, we made our way to the Chiang Mai airport in the most dilapidated van I have ever seen. The split upholstery revealed a broken-down foam cushion; I think my cheeks were clenched all the way to the terminal just holding the seat together. After a little tea tasting in one of the gift shops, and browsing the others, we eventually boarded. One trip member somehow managed to fit in a foot massage before boarding. The flight was uneventful, and we amused ourselves in our little row with some trip photos from the laptop.

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Last Moments of Freedom

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Dec 282007

Today I would be checking out and checking back in with the group. But first I thought I would head back to Aw Taw Kaw market. The coolest way to get to the market is to transfer from the BTS Skytrain system to the MRT subway system. The hotter way is to walk from the BTS Mo Chit station, and that’s how I found my way to the market. I was shocked to find the large empty end of the market full of vendors showcasing handicrafts and other merchandise. I later learned that this was a temporary exhibition; the market is not much larger than it was on my last visit in February 2006. It did not take me long to find my beloved freeze-dried jackfruit chips (so addictive, let’s call them crackfruit). The ones I find at this market are not oily like the ones I find in the U.S. I am very happy, and I celebrate with a roasted young coconut. The seller waves off my request for a spoon, so I sip the juice and stash the coconut meat for later consumption. I also purchased a kit with all the ingredients for a miang, which is a snack consisting of a leaf you form into a little cup and fill with strongly flavored little tastes such as dried shrimp, ginger, lime, shallot, hot chillies, toasted coconut, and a little sweet soy sauce. The Swiss Army Knife will come in handy.

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