An adventurous meal

After spending a week in crowded Bangkok, boyfriend and I took a train from Hualamphong Station to stop in several cities and villages on our way to the south. This turned out to be the best decision ever. We discovered places we have never heard of, not knowing if there would be any place for us to sleep.

October 24th 2010. Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand.
This morning we left Hua-Hin, a beach-side town popular with those living in Bangkok for weekend getaways. Seeing the Gulf of Thailand for the first time I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t the turquoise water I had seen on the television watching documentaries about tourism in Thailand. But Hua Hin had this tranquil feel about it. Wide sandy beaches, where we had walked at sunset, a nice ocean breeze.. Nothing to complain about.
Again we took a train heading south. Ninety kilometers (56 miles) in three hours cost us forty Baht per person ($1,20). Riding a train in Thailand is an experience itself. Every five minutes a nice lady or gentleman will walk through the railcar with drinks, snacks or hot meals. Rice and sauces, all separately stored in little plastic bags, are kept warm in coolers and served in palm leaves.

Sunset at Hua Hin beach

 

Prachuap Khiri Khan is a fishing port with magnificent curving bays and steep mountaintops. We are here in the off-season but I don’t think there are ever many tourists here. I haven’t seen any hotels or restaurants and bars for that matter. We have found one Guesthouse, a beautiful traditional Thai home with big rooms and wooden floors and a lovely hostess: Maggie.
Because there are almost no tourists here, the rooms are very cheap. We want to stay for at least a few days here to save up some money for the more expensive places. We are traveling on a very tight budget so we can stay in Asia as long as possible. That is why we don’t eat in restaurants or sleep in hotels. We stay in so called Guesthouses where locals rent out their spare rooms and we eat from food carts in the streets.

Maggie’s neighbor has a food cart in her garden with enough patio-furniture so all of her friends and family can eat there in exchange for a few Baht. She made a roof of corrugated iron and plastic, there is no menu, just the products she could find that morning at the local market. The woman has only one burner and one wok, wherein she prepares all foods.
We, and all others, seem to be welcomed as if we are family. It was hard to communicate because in this town no-one speaks English but after a few minutes of monkey-language we got her to understand our wishes for dinner: Thai chicken curry!
In Bangkok I had savored this tasty dish, spicy but just enough, and loved it. Of course in Bangkok they are used to having foreigners tasting their specialties and mellow the curry down a bit. In Prachuap, they don’t.
It took the neighbor only two minutes to make our bowls of curry with rice and serve our diet cokes. So we began the adventure that is called -Thai cuisine-. After one one bite I noticed that this wasn’t the yellow curry, or even the green version that is a bit spicier but this was the Red Curry that makes many Thai recipes “Thai Spicy”. After bite three our cokes were no longer. At bite four we asked for a pitcher of ice-water.

Thai produce market

 

Boyfriend is so spice-intolerent that he doesn’t even eat mustard, so you can imagine what a nightmare this was for him. His face turned red, his eyes all moist.. The ladies at the table next to us seemed to enjoy his discomfort. They started laughing and yelling stuff in what was to us, gibberish. We apologized to the neighbor and payed for two other plates: Omelets on white rice.

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Aruna, the coming of day, temple of Dawn

 

 

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Aruna, the coming of day, temple of Dawn

October 19th 2010. Bangkok.
Today we took the riverboat to cross the Chao Praya river to visit Wat Arun, the temple of Dawn. Our guesthouse for tonight is about two blocks from the river so it should’ve been easy to locate the pier where the ferries and water-taxi’s depart.. No surprise that it took us nearly two hours to find!
Arriving at the foot of the temple from the water is amazing. From afar the towers stand tall and the shapes are not like any building I know in Europe. With every step I got closer to the temple, more and more details exposed itself to me: The guardians of the temple, the steep marches that go all the way to the top, the leaves and flowers made with ceramics that decorate every inch and corner of the construction and color it’s holy content.

wat arun 1

We encountered a pretty young lady of the “Royal Thai Tourism Education Bangkok” who came to Wat Arun with some of her classmates to propose free tours of Wat Arun and practice her English. We declined as we already lost a lot of time walking around looking for our ferry but I was very interested in the story behind Wat Arun, this is what I remember from her story:

Aruna and his brother, Garuda, were promised to become the powerful sons of Vinata, mother of all birds, if she was patient enough to let them hatch from their eggs. However, she didn’t want to wait any longer and her curiosity made her to break one of the eggs. A flash of light radiant and red as the morning sun arose from the broken shell. It was Aruna, the coming of day, not as powerful as the sun at noon but it’s spiritual powers are thought to be stonger than those of the light of day.

Boyfriend and me posing for the Auto-shutter of our point-and-shoot. I regret not having had a "real" camera back in the days.

Boyfriend and me posing for the Auto-shutter of our point-and-shoot. I regret not having had a “real” camera back in the days.

At the end of the day we came across a park named Saranrom Park, where I threw some left-over bread in the pond to see if there were any fish. In a few seconds my thoughts were confirmed, little fish came to the surface to snack of my egg-sandwich. A bit later these enormous koi-carps followed and to my cheerful stupefaction even turtles came swimming to eat.
Boyfriend was so impressed by the local sport we got introduced to in this park after looking it up I found out that it’s called Sepak Takraw. Takraw is the Thai word for the special woven wicker ball that is used to play. In this version of the game all players stand in a circle and kick the ball around, using feet, elbows, head, anything but their hands, without it touching the ground, in the most artistic and acrobatic way.

Mariska BANGKOK PARK

Got to go, time for some Thai curry and a few pitchers of water on the side!

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About the travel diaries..

In some of my travels I kept a diary in honor of all my adventures, encounters and emotions along the way, they may not be forgotten.
I regret not having a DSLR on my first years of exploring the world and regret even more having lost nearly all photo’s of our (boyfriend and me) six months backpacking-trip through South-East Asia.
The travel diaries is all what is left of my ventures: bits from my scribbles, pieces of what I remember and all that’s left over from the pictures that we took.


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