Thursday, 4 June 2015

Terrific Thailand 2015 - Days 8 & 9

It is now day 8 of our Thailand getaway and I am starting to get home sick. As I look back over our photos and memories of our time away, one of the things that stands out in my mind is how warm it was in the glorious suns that shined, all day, each and every day.  It is now Winter at home and it is mighty cold, so writing these posts now kind of warms me up!  We continued to walk around Phuket, basking in the heat and as always, it continued to amaze us with it's sights and sounds.  We only had a couple of days left before we would head home and we were determined to make the most of it.
In the mornings, it was hot and would continue to be so all day.  I didn't feel like fried eggs on toast or anything like that, but each morning I would wake up with a big appetite. We didn't have much time left on our holiday and still had veggies in the fridge from our trip to the market.  So this morning I cooked some of them in my new wok.
These were delicious, mixed with noodles and scrambled eggs. On this Thailand experience, I really enjoyed staying in an apartment with its own kitchen as I could experiment a bit with cooking after shopping at the local shops and markets. I enjoyed trying to apply what I know about cooking at home and the challenge of buying local produce and making something out of it.
I was starting to feel a bit flat by this stage, missing my children and home and getting so very overwhelmed by the constant heat.  In an attempt to cheer up, we decided to head out on another walk across town to our favourite local hang out, Nicky's Handlebar Hotel.
As we walked around Phuket, there was always something to look at that was interesting and different from home.  Here we passed the Bangla Boxing Stadium.  Boxing is a big sport in Phuket, many tourists flock here to watch it.  It sits on top of the Tiger Bar.  At night, this place is lit up and a place where all the action is.
You can see here a Thai woman holding this wooden beam with a basket at each end. Locals would hold these and balance them on their shoulder, often walking long distances with them.  I can only imagine how heavy these are and quite often, the women carrying them appeared elderly.  Also carrying this long distances in that heat would be so very difficult and I admired the people I saw doing this for their stamina and determination.
It was about an half hour walk to Nicky's from the hotel and this sure was a good work out in the heat.  Whenever we walked across town, we would be completely saturated in perspiration, from head to toe.  Here I am, enjoying a cold drink, feeling very pleased that we had made it.
Here is Nicky's Thai version of a steak sandwich.  David was hungry for some lunch and this is what he had.  Washed down with a cold drink, he was a happy man.  We always enjoyed the meals at Nicky's.  We stayed there for an hour or so, cooling down under the fans and then it was time to walk back to the hotel for a swim in the pool.
One thing you don't see much of in Phuket in graffiti, not like at home.  I took a photo of this as I really liked it.  This is about as close to graffiti as you get in Phuket and even still, I would call it more 'street art' than graffiti.  It was bright, vibrant and colourful and a sharp contrast to the concrete of the paths and roads.

We spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool and in our air conditioned rooms.  That night, it was time to head out for dinner.  We liked to try a new place most nights and I loved wearing one of my new Thai dresses.  It is a very simple design, light weight and very comfortable.  I bought a couple of these, ideal to wear in the heat.  I really like the designs on the fabric and the fact that they are so easy to wear.  There is most certainly no such thing as socks and shoes in Phuket, it was always thongs for me and I loved this. 
Phuket doesn't stop, by day and by night.  There are many night markets like this, selling everything from shoes to fresh fruit.  There is always something to do here, even something as simple as walking around the block is full of many sights and sounds.
After dinner, we walked back to the hotel and one thing that struck me as very different was this beauty salon, open at 11 o'clock at night!  This was standard here, most shops stay open until midnight, or longer.  Fancy that, going out to get your hair done at 11pm? Only in Thailand, sensational!  We were hot and tired, after enjoying a delicious Thai meal and walking a long distance that day.  We would get a good night sleep and see what tomorrow had in store for us.
Day 9 of our Thailand getaway was great fun.  We started the day with another walk and found this most amazing place to eat.  It was a Japanese restaurant that specialised in Tepanyaki.  We had to go in and have some.  My mum had introduced me to this at home and I was very keen to try it, not quite being in Japan, but in Asia, just the same!
I find this a fantastic way to eat.  We selected a range of meats and vegetables and ordered some Singha beer.  We were in for a treat.
This meal is cooked in a pot, at the table, on a hot plate built into the table.  We chose a chicken broth to cook in.  We were offered a range of condiments to add to the pot, like fresh lime, garlic and chilli, complete with sweet chilli dipping sauce.  Yummo!
Now it was just a matter of adding it to the pot and letting it simmer.  We could cook it to our liking, adding the meat first.
Then I added the veggies and noodles, letting it simmer some more.
This is the finished product, a superb blend of flavours.  I really love eating like this and also enjoyed the soup.  You can make this as spicy as you like, I added plenty of chilli sauce to mine and washed it down with the Singha.  A brilliant, authentic experience, I will remember this with much pleasure.
The day was not over and this evening we had lots more fun.  We made our usual trip to the Phuket Night Market.  This is a must see if you travel to Thailand.  It is a large market and has lots on sale.  It is very busy and as it is always so very hot, can get tiring and a bit overwhelming.  But once you get the hang of it, you can pick up some bits and pieces to take home that will always remind you of Thailand.
Here you can see the rows and rows of stalls. It is a fun way to shop and if you enjoy going to markets, you will love this one.
It is so busy, there are big crowds and people everywhere.  Limit your time here to two hours at the most for the heat is stifling.  I don't like crowds much, so it didn't take me long to have had enough.
But before we left, we made sure that we stopped to buy what we call our 'Thai grooves'. Last time we were here, we bought some CDs of popular music and totally loved playing them back at home. These CDs are usually copies but the quality is good and the mixes are different and loads of fun.  So we went back to the same music stall and grabbed a few more.  We couldn't go back to the market without doing this.  In Summer when we are having our BBQs in our garden at home, we put our Thai music on, light our spit rotisserie, cook a roast and are almost transported back to our time in Thailand.....we love this.
At the Night Market, there is also plenty of food to try.  It is often very different to Western food and I didn't quite have the nerve to try anything.  But it is always cooked fresh on the day, there is so much to choose from and I know that the locals love it.

We arrived back at our hotel that night, very hot and tired.  We only had 2 days left before we had to fly home.  We were so satisfied that this holiday had been full of new experiences and completely fascinating and enjoyable.  I was looking forward to going home by this stage and seeing my children.  I was also looking forward to feeling the cold again.  I had almost forgotten what the cold was like.  But we would see out the last couple of days in fine style, soak up the sun just that bit more and continue to immerse ourselves in the total Thailand experience :) xxx