Last night in Thailand / Asia!

All good things come to an end.

Time to go home to the countries of pork eaters. It will be heavy winter food there, oh my god! How shall I survive? What shall I eat?

The last dinner in Asia for a long time tonight – in Hua Hin at the night market!

Fried fish with morning glory and green pepper. Mhmmm…

 

Prawns in tamarind sauce and cashew nuts. Not hot – but the tamarind gives a sugarless sweetness that even I like very much…

Simple squid in a Thai curry.

These three dishes plus two Chang beers nearly ruined me. I paid 480 Baht – about 12€…:P

I will miss you so much, my beloved Thai food. I will even cry into my cushion for Vietnamese food.

Talking about Vietnamese food: look at these monster lobsters. I have never seen such giants anywhere. You should know that it takes them about 40 years(!) to reach such sizes.

There are no such animals left in Thailand. Nor Europe nor along the US shores! I talked to the restaurant owners and it turned out that they import them from Vietnam! There they still have because so far the demand for lobster was not so big. Well, another two to three years and they will also be history in Vietnam. Sad – but inevitable :( They sell them for 1400 Baht per kg ( less than 35€) I did not eat any – out of  sheer respect for their age and because I do not want to support the mindless exploiting of the oceans without thinking of tomorrow.

But then, I may be a lunatic. Maybe the permanent intoxication of the seas by the Fukushima reactors will destroy/alter the life in them anyway within the next few years?! Better eat these lobsters now as long as they still exist ;) !

I have nearly finished the last bottle of Sang Som and coke. Now I will go for the last night swim in the “closed” pool and then retire. Tomorrow is another, the last, day…

 

 

 

 

Special Thai massage!

I see some of you grinning, mumbling something like “happy ending” and so. But no! When I say “special” massage I mean especially good and effective.

The other day I had a foot massage from him – that did not help me knee but was good for the rest of my leg(s). Yesterday I had some time on my hands and decided to have a one hour Thai massage with the same man. He has staff, of course, but I insisted on the boss himself – maybe a mistake ;)

The man is a “health therapist” and nobody has ever treated my body as cruelly as him! His reflexology concept requires pressure – and he applies more than you would expect from such a petit man. But his hands are made of steel. He crushed my body piece by piece – and after every one of his grips it was such a relieve when the pain subsided, hehe, that for the first time I got an idea what turns the masochists on.

Despite this my body feels great today. Not even sore muscles. He knows what he is doing – and I will be back today for a two hour massage :)

Hua Hin – more nightmarket…

I won’t bore you (or make you jealous ;) ) with more photos of my food at Moo Seafood. Suffice it to say that I had snapper with ginger for starters, a spicy squid salad and smoked abalone (the Asian version of St. Jacques/ Scallops) in the end. On my way back to the car I could not withstand having a glass noodle soup with sea food. It was a disappointment. The rotee however was a pleasure…

Happy Birthday, King Bhumibol!

While I am writing this the Thai king is celebrating his birthday or, rather, the Thai people are celebrating it. You could not possibly imagine what a fuzz they make about this.

For the first time his birthday will be celebrated in Hua Hin. The king has spent a long time in hospitals, is very fragile and has been in his summer palace in Hua Hin since his last release from hospital in August.

Today he is giving a “Grand Public Audience” near the palace and the road has been blocked since early this morning. Already days ago they decorated the road around the palace with lights and shrines and a lot of fabrics. Yesterday when I went to Hua Hin in the afternoon there were already loads and loads of people that had staked a piece of the side-walk where they camped till today to see the motorcade of the king pass by! You could not imagine the hype.

On my way home from Hua Hin there was such a traffic congestion on the road that it took me 1-1/2 hours for the 20km.

The king turned 86 today and he looks awful. But they cannot let him die. Not now. Without him Thailand would disintegrate. So, the wonders of modern medicine are used to keep him breathing and show him to the public from time to time. I wonder how long this can carry on…

There is no other country with one person that is loved and worshipped by so many people as Bhumbol in Thailand!

Thai Breakfast

Well, not entirely, but an early breakfast at 7.30 am.

The view from my breakfast table:

Rice soup with pork

Followed be a little curry

…and some fish for good measure

 

…after breakfast “beech time”

The water being very pleasant and no waves this morning. Everything still fairly quiet at 8.30 am. – at 10 am I buggered off. It gets more busy then and also noisy from the motorboats and jet skis. Time to move to the pool for a while.

I guess I will skip lunch (in exchange for an additional fish dish tonight ;) ) and will have a nap instead…

 

No more experiments!

My excursion to the fishing village last night was disappointing. The place was dead. Only a few big restaurants (I am sure they are packed on weekends with the Thai from Bangkok) were open. A look at the menu sobered me up. A very small choice of dishes and more than bold prices!

In the end I stopped at the last restaurant in the direction of my hotel and out of desperation I had some squid with garlic.

It was supposed to be fried squid – this one is obviously deep fried and consists only of tentacles. A few carrot and cabbage strips are on the side as well as the typical Thai tourist-sauce…

Today it is back to the Hua Hin Night Market – and until I leave.

Out of desperation I stopped at a food stall on the way home and had a little soup. At least that left a pleasant sensation in my stomach.

Fish? Yes!

When I came home from Hua Hin last night the road around the king’s summer residence was beautifully illuminated…

…but just as I was passing there the pain in the knee set in. Stronger than ever. Sh…! Obviously the massage was not the best possible thing for my leg! Fortunately I have enough medication for an ox and it even still works. Otherwise I would not have slept at all.

It was a nightmare to drag myself up and down a few steps like a limping snail to breakfast this morning. Therefore I sat there for a long time :P Today they even had a pork soup with glass noodles. Reminded me of Hanoi :P Different spices here, however. Celery stalks e.g…

I also spent more time at the pool because it was just too much to go back and forth. I only left once the pain become unbearable again and I had to go back to my room for the pills.

After recovering somewhat I went for a little excursion by car along the sea. Here is the Cha-Am fishing village, or rather the port with its hundreds of boats:

Mhmmm…lobster and crab traps :)

This is where all the good stuff comes from. So I have decided a change in plan!

I will skip the Hua Hin Night Market tonight – also because I am afraid of having to walk far. Instead I will go to the centre of the Cha-Am fishing village and indulge in some seafood there. I am sure that the preparation of the food will be very simple there – unlike at my “Moo” – but, hey, I can survive that – since I can park the car right next to the restaurant, I guess.

Hua Hin Food!

The reason why I flew to Thailand for the last few days of my stay in Asia is of course the food. And the reason why I chose specifically the Hua Hin area, where I know every bush and every stone by now, is the abundance of seafood there.

So, yesterday I suffered during the day at the pool and a little at the sea. I am in fact not in Hua Hin directly but in Cha-Am, about 20km before Hua Hin. I wanted something new, a change. And I stumbled across this hotel at the Cha-Am beach by accident. It has good ratings on Tripadvisor (probably that should have kept me away :) ) – and I had a back and forth email communication with the manager about the room price  which ended in me getting a good rate :)

To Hua Hin it’s about 15 minutes by car. I decided to go earlier as I wanted to check out a few things at a Mall in Hua Hin. There, of course, I could not get what I wanted at the price I was willing to pay but it did not make sense to return. Sadly, there was no parking near the night-market – despite that the market was still “non-existent”. I parked far away and thought: slowly I will crawl through the side streets to the market area – and maybe I will have a beer there before the market starts.

It was indeed a slow crawl and when I reached the far end of the market street I came across that section with all they tailors, jewellery shops and massage places. But no beer bars. I passed an old fashioned massage place with the elderly, skinny master sitting outside on a bench and a younger edition of him doing a foot massage inside. The man saw me limping along and offered me to sit next to him for a while. In fact, I had already slowed down when I saw him, because I know a professional when I see one :)

After a short “chat” I asked him for a foot massage. One hour. I think he did not grab what the exact problem with my knee was – but his massage removed the constant pain in the knee and basically whole leg as the pain spreads up to my thighs and down to my feet.

So, I limped happily in the direction of the night market which by now had started to operate.

What was the first thing I bought? Well, I saw a new ice parlour and as they had durian ice, I could not resist buying a cone. Silly me! As I was on the way to dinner I should have taken one scoop only and not two…

Now, this is where the fun starts: the Hua Hin Night Market. Every day. Many stalls with clothes, bric-a-brac and Thai crafts. I have stopped looking at them quite some years ago as I have seen it all and never buy anything.

But passed this lies food heaven! The second half of Dechanuchit road is full with food stalls and restaurants. My turf!

Birds:

Crispy chicken skin:

Delicious seafood soups with your choice of noodles – or rice:

And, of course, seafood…seafood…seafood:

Just look at these “monsters”:

A 2kg-plus lobster:

I used to have a favourite restaurant there with a gorgeous cook. But he left them 5 years ago or so and since then I don’t like the place any more. But 4 years ago or so I have found an alternative: “Moo Seafood” – a completely mobile restaurant. On the side-walk. During the day you would have no idea that it exists.

What I also like is that they display all their veggies that go into the dishes and don’t only brag with the biggest crayfish.

The man in yellow and the one on the right are the team of chefs. The yellow one prepares and chops everything and puts it in little bowls. The other one handles the wok. Look at their excellent mis en place!

As I had had too much durian ice cream I only had a modest dinner.

“Drunken fried fish with chillies” as a starter:

A luke-warm “Spicy Oyster Salad” as a follow up – and, boy, when they say “spicy” they mean it :)

After ordering my second Chang beer and browsing the menu I decided on something “little and light”: a fried soft-shell crab in Thai-curry:

This is MY kind of food! The type that I call: forget about everything else food. Sheer passion. For this stuff I travelled al the way. I just hope my leg will carry me through the next few days!

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Hua Hin, Thailand

The trip from Hanoi to Hua Hin lasted longer than anticipated. The morning flight to Bangkok was OK and immigration and baggage claim were a breeze, as always at this nice airport.

I had booked a car in advance and with the voucher had received wrong information about where to find the representative of the rental company. So, this delayed thing already a bit.

What was more annoying was that I got stuck in Sunday traffic in Bangkok due to the massive protests against the government…but listening to an audio-book kept me calm and relaxed.

And I made it to my hotel just before sunset. That was a pleasant relief as I am not hot on driving on Thai roads in the dark where you meet all kinds of vehicles without light and where the sides of the roads are not marked. In addition I was rather exhausted. And the reception at the hotel was very friendly and the room quite nice.

That’s where my luck ended :( For whatever reason, Buddha seems not pleased with me. On my way from the car to my room I tripped on the dimly lit garden path and – fireworks of pain in my head. The knee! Since then I am suffering – very badly.

So, I had to go out and buy some Sang Som and coke to wash down the Ibuprofen pills I had bought a few days ago in Hanoi. And I walked 100m along the beach and bought some take-away “dinner” to have on the terrace of my room…

A selection of three skewers with squid which they grilled “on the spot” for me (5 Leva or 2.55€ in “real money”)

And from nearby a Som Tam salad (green papaya) – hot! (2 Leva or 1.03€)

…and “rotee” as desert:

After that I had to soak in the pool a little (of course long “closed” at that time, but who cares)

And with enough alcohol and pills I could even sleep well….