too hot to handle
03.02.2013 - 12.02.2013 33 °C
“Tom yum soup not for children” our guide said to us as she put down a huge bowl of noodle soup in front of me. We were sitting in a floating restaurant in Phang nga bay. Now, my Mum always told me to eat up what was on your plate so with a happy smile I set about eating the soup, a few minutes later my eyes streaming my children ask “whats a matter mummy?” “Spicy “ I hiss through a large gulp of water and a handy napkin. I should know by now when it comes to spicy food I am not much more adventurous than my children. “Tom yum noodles definitely not for children” I agree with my guide.
My children are the most fussy eaters in the world...no really! I always said I wouldn't be one of those parents who pandered to their children's fussyness, I was going to eat what I wanted and if they didn't want to starve they would do the same. But they have turned out to be as un moving as stone and I have been beaten into submission, spicy foods are now only on the menu on the rare occasion Dave and I get a take away.
Bearing this in mind I was worried about how they would get on in Thailand where fish fingers and pasta and cheese are defintely not on the menu. Pre occupied with thinking about their fussiness I hadn't even considered the possibility that it might be me that was fussy. So what did we eat? The answer ...alot of rice pancakes.
For the first week we survived fairly well on pancakes, eggs and lots and lots of fruit. Luckily in the towns there are fruit vendors everywhere but in the countryside it is trickier. You need a bit of local knowledge to find any food at all, In the second week we were due to head to a homestay where such luxurys as fussyness would not be possible. It was with a deep nervousness that I met the lady from Andaman Discoveries [an organisation who try to promote community based tourism and volunteers].She whisked us off to the local market for breakfast. With trepidation I watched Finn and Daniels faces when presented with parcels of sticky rice wrapped in leaves, willing them, please don't do or say anything rude. On the table there was also an assortment of donught like shapes and some fruit which I had stupidly mistaken for new potatoes. Inside the fruit is white. I had wondered why everyone on the train was carrying new potatoes (more edgit points for me). I was heartened to find that the kids had a really good attempt at eating what was put infront of them even Finn who has a habit of saying exactly what he thinks very loudly.
Finns habit of saying things loudly has caused us quite a lot of embarrasement for example his blow by blow account of how one wipes your bottom after toileting in Thailand. I'm sure I don't need to go into as great detail for you the reader as he did when staying at our homestay. Unfortuately the toilet was right next to the kitchen where our hostess was squatting next to the burner preparing tea, fortunately they spoke no English although i'm sure they got the gist! I felt great empathy with my sister who has just regailed us with her hilarious stories of trying to go to the toilet wearing an abaya in Saudi Arabia, the whole process is fraught with hazards to the uninitiated.
During our homestay food was a constant presence Nat our translattor (yes we had our own translattor how cool is that?) she was keen that we should try new things and not wanting to dissappoint we tried our best. As things have been a bit crazy the last few weeks I must admit that in addition to still not having bought a map I also hadn't re read the itinery for our homestay. If I had I would have noticed that on day one it said 'go fishing to catch your tea', fine, great ...except I am not the worlds greatest fan of fish and I hate to kill something just for the sake of it. Oh how I wished Dave was there he loves fish and would have eaten all of the flappy cute things with big goggly eyes. Luckily for me we didn't catch a great lot, the biggest one was apparently poisonous. The method we used to catch these cute little nemos was a drag net which two people hold with their hands and toes then wade in to shoulder height dragging the net back to the shore, to add to the amusement of my children I was also fully clothed as the village is muslim, this creates 'drag' in more ways than one. Having dropped the net off my toes a number of time due to complete ineptness I was amazed how many fish, crabs and other things lived (well had done) really near to the shore. Sleast sorry fishes. At least nothing was wasted as the rest went into fertilizer.
The village used to be spread along the edge of this beautiful beach along with a resort at the end but the lot was wiped out in the 1994 Tsuami. Having lost a number of their population the villagers are not keen for it to happen again and have moved the village about a kilometre back from the shore. There are still a few reminders of that fateful day with the twisted metal and concrete of the old resort and the frame of the old school in seemingly such an idyllic spot. Unfortunately there were a few children in the school that day 10 years ago practicing for a Christmas/ New year show. The new school is thankfully situated on a hill. When we visited the kids were all busy on brand new tablets (the electronic kind not drugs although both result in a wonderful silence!) A rather forward thinking government are trying to provide every school child in Thailand with a tablet . Can you imagine our government being able to do that?
We are now near the end of our travels. As a treat for our last few days we are in a resort in a place called Khao lak. I am writing this sitting by a cool blue swimming pool, palm trees and the Andaman sea in the background. It sounds idyllic, it is, but strangely it isn't how I would normally choose to spend my holidays. I could be anywhere in the world There are chips and pizza on the menu and people wander around scantily clad. Although still far removed from the debauchery of places like Phuket or the full moon parties on some of the islands it is not the Thailand that I came to see, however on my 6th day in this particular slice of paradise I think I might just be getting used to it, oh well it's a shame I have to leave tomorrow.
see you soon
See you soon