There is a lot of road to cover between Bangkok and the pier where we’ll catch our ferry to the Koh Surin Marine National Park (Mu Ko Surin). We’ll shop and eat our way down the Malay Peninsula and overnight in Ranong, as I did in 2005, 2006, 2010, and 2012. But what appears “same same” on paper always seems to have some variation.
I recalibrated my mental calendar to ensure that I was ready for an on-time departure. Mission accomplished: twenty minutes early rather than ten minutes late. We headed down the highway toward Ranong, where we would lay over for the evening. Our first stop was at a roadside stand specializing in kapi, the shrimp paste that forms an important component of many Thai curries and other dishes. Tiny shrimp are laid out in the sun to dry, then salted and allowed to ferment. The better grades smell best (more “like the sea” and less “rotten”). I picked up a small jar that should last me a while.
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.
Bangkok (Sunday, January 22, 2006)
I woke before 4:00, feeling a bit sore from the massage (or the bed?). Time to clean up and pack for a day of driving and snacking. I miscalculated the time needed to pack and ended up the last to check out — 10 minutes late. Kasma gave me her most disapproving look; I must do better from now on.