Saturday, 29 October 2011

What the?

A number of times this holiday I have been glad to be male but mostly when it comes to using the restaurant toilets. I like to think i am pretty adventurous but that doesn't extend to calls of nature in strange places. I have no idea how to use this one and am hoping I don't have to learn. Tina being the trooper that she is seems to manage fine. I don't ask questions...

Laundry Service and Beers for $15

While I was putting Charlie to sleep Tina ran across to collect our laundry and grab a couple of beers from the local shop. She was very impressed to be able to get about 5kg of laundry washed, ironed and folded plus 2 beers for $15. The final package was so impressive I had to take a photo.

Red Chair

Last night we went for dinner at Red Chair, a local restaurant recommended by our driver and not to be confused with Red Chair Plus which is across the road and judging by the fact it was empty it is probably not so plus! Red Chair was a little bit western but nowhere near as much as all the other places in Kata, it was probably a 50/50 Thai/Farang (Foreigner) crowd. The food was great and the place had a lovely balmy atmosphere. We ate chicken Panang curry with rice and fried egg. This was great and came out very quickly. Charlie immediately claimed the egg so we asked for another which arrived in less than 10 seconds! The curry was light and not too spicy, we haven't had a lot if rice dishes so far but I'm sure this will change when we return to Bangkok. Next was Pad See Euw (pretty sure that is the wrong spelling) which is a wide flat noodle stir fry. I don't usually go for the wide flat Thai noodles but this was delicious. Of course we had to have something deep fried as it seems no meal is complete without it so tonight it was prawns accompanied by the usual sweet chilli dipping sauce. This was crispy and yummy as you would expect but probably not too authentic, it did go well with our beers though. Charlie had fried chicken and chips which is always a winner. Of course I tried some of the chicken, it was deliciously succulent. Our driver returned to take us home and we the whole deal took an hour which was perfect as Charlie was worn out as usual and crashed once we got back to the room.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Kata Noi Beach

I have managed to sneak down for a swim each afternoon and as always the salt water is so invigorating. I am looking forward to the beaches at Phi Phi. This is a few pics of Kata Noi beach which our resort fronts on to. It's spectacular!

Charlie Super Swimmer

We just got back from the pool swimming with Charlie. Something happens to her in the pool and she just goes crazy. We had a ball playing monsters, jumping in from the edge playing rock the baby and even throwing her up in the air and waiting for her to surface asking to do it again and of course playing in the bubbles. It's just great to see her having so much fun and her monster impression is very serious but also pretty cute. I will try and get a photo of it, it's pretty scary!

Fool me once...

You probably all know the old saying 'fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me' or perhaps just the infamous George Bush mangled attempt at using it at a press conference.

Well after lunch we wandered around the old town district of Phuket Town as we had some time left until we met our driver. I bought Charlie a cool lizard made from folded cardboard. We then were accosted by tuk tuk drivers as seems to be the norm. He offered to take us to a nearby market for 10 Baht each. Maybe because it was very hot or maybe we were just excited about some cheap transport for a change but we foolishly agreed. Of course he didn't take us to a local market but to another tourist centre where he would no doubt receive a fuel voucher or some other kickback. At least this time we were wise to the scam and didn't get out of the tuk tuk. We asked to be returned to where he picked us up and he was happy to do that for us so all in all it wasn't too bad. We paid him 20 Baht and were happy to have had a short rest from walking. We made our way back to the meeting point and purchased a hat for Charlie which we had been annoyed at ourselves for not doing much earlier. She is heavily lathered in sunscreen each day though. It's a Thai girls school hat and she loves it. On the way back to the hotel we quizzed our driver for local dinner options that don't cater specially for tourists. Once he realised we weren't going to pay him for a trip to Patong or Phuket Town he showed us a restaurant nearby where the locals eat and agreed to come and get us for dinner and take us home for 300 Baht. We are pleased to have dinner sorted and also very happy not to have to eat at the Kata tourist restaurants again.

Phuket Town and Pad Krapow

After breakfast we called our driver from yesterday only to find he was already taken for the day. This meant another trudge over the hill to the independent taxi stand. Fortunately we found a short cut along the beach which Charlie was most displeased about. She doesn't seem to like the beach much which doesn't look positive for our 5 days in Phi Phi. We aren't to worried though as she has a way of overcoming these kinds of issues pretty quickly. The taxi negotiations were tough and I explained to Tina that the Thai are very proud and busting out laughing when they tell you the price is a bit of a loss of face for them and not the best negotiating tactic. We got a return trip to Phuket Town for 900 Baht which really shows that not laughing at them probably doesn't work any better! Oh well the driver was nice with good English so we were happy enough. He took us to a local restaurant food court and we had an amazing feast srtarting with a bowl of traditional noodle soup and a bowl of Tom Yam noodle soup. I had the Tom Yam and it was deliciously spicy with Hokkien style noodles, prawns and red pork. Normally these aren't my favourite noodles but this meal was wonderful and I quickly polished it off. Tina's meal was similar with a different broth that looked equally tasty. Charlie had noodles with pork and no soup. We also ordered 10 chicken satays that we all loved. The sauce was much sweeter that I am used to and not so peanutty. Next was a serve of something I know as a Malaysian meal Loh Bak which a fried rice paper stuffed with pork, similar to a spring roll. I was still hungry so after a closer look at the menu I found Pad Krapow! Of course I ordered it immediately. It was superb! The basil was definitely Bai Krapow and it also had chopped snake beans which added some extra crunch. It came with a chilli vinegar just to add some extra heat, and of course a lovely fried egg which once again I begrudgingly shared with Charlie. I washed this down (and cooled myself down) with a watermelon smoothie. I enjoyed this immensely, it was so refreshing. I have charged Tina with learning how to make these at home. They are not dairy based so I feel like they are a pretty healthy option. After all that I couldn't resist the black and clear jelly with shaved ice, kidney beans and red cordial. Obviously this has a proper name but I don't know it. Once again it was perfect, with a little help from Tina and Charlie this was soon gone. I had read about the pink paper napkins which are dyed pink as this the the cheapest colour to dye recycled paper and it looks pretty which is very important to the Thai, cheap and pretty. All up the bill was 300 Baht ($10) and included two cokes also. incredibly cheap if you ignore the $30 taxi fare there!

Shopping Frenzy at Patong

After a few cocktails the balcony in the afternoon we decided to head to Patong in the evening as our driver told us the department store there was the best shopping in Phuket. We resigned ourselves to the overpriced taxi fare there (500 Baht = $15 one way) and decided to worry about dinner later. We both went pretty crazy and took turns trying things on and looking after Charlie. I bought a few Nike shorts and tops for gym and Tina got a couple of gym outfits and some nice summer dresses. I felt the prices were vey reasonable but the range was also so much better. When we looked at the time it was after 8 so I took Charlie to McDonalds for nuggets and fries. Yes she liked both. Feeling happy with our efforts we negotiated a taxi back to Kata for 400 Baht but when we mentioned the name of the hotel the price rose to 500 Baht! The taxis are a definite racket in Phuket and I can understand why everyone hires scooter however this obviously isn't an option for us. At least they are all air conditioned with seatbelts. Strangely there is no difference in price for a tuk tuk or a taxi which is a bit weird given the obvious difference in comfort and safety. Needing food once we got home we optedrw for crab fried rice and garlic pepper chicken takeaway from across the road. It was cheap and unmemorable. We didn't mind though as it was our best day shopping so far.

Sunbed Saving

Another strange behavior at the resort is the practice of getting up early and reserving one of the sunbeds by the pool with your towel. I remember one of my English friends complaining about the Germans doing this at the European resorts many years ago. It seems the practice has caught on as they all do it here. It doesn't affect us as we aren't in the type to sit by the pool all day but it stills seems a bit strange.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Charlie pics

I though I'd post a couple of pics of Charlie. She insisted on having her photo taken in front of this buffalo at the airport. The other is from when she presented my with the laundry basket and said 'Happy Birthday' and then took it and put it on her head.