Friday, November 10, 2017

Return to Paradise - See

Sept. 2-3, 2017

A couple of kick-back-and-relax days were spent playing in the sand, lounging in the pool and playing some chinese checkers.  Tim created a mini Seven Kingdoms - well, two kingdoms anyway.  Ted and Hiustyn cooked some Venezuelan arepas for us, creatively substituting for some of the usual ingredients.

King's Landing

Winterfell


Arepas con huevos
While the sun was out, we got lots of great group shots in the pool.  And our adopted pet hermit crab hung out in a plastic water bottle on the table.







In the afternoon, most of the group walked down the beach to the swim-up bar and had a swimming contest.  I walked down toward the other end of the beach to check out the clubhouse.  It was fairly deserted, with a few staff at an outdoor kayak rental stand, and some others setting up their massage stations.




People took turns taking the somewhat unstable kayak out into the water.  I nervously watched from the shore, lest someone should capsize and no one was paying attention.

Mick wanted to take Ted out fishing in the kayak, so they loaded up the vessel with fishing gear and a cooler stocked with squid for bait and beer for...well, you know.  They paddled out into the bay.  They sat for a bit in one spot, then lifted anchor to move to another place.  However, the lifting was a little too destabilizing (not naming names,) and soon two men and a cooler were in the water.  Fortunately the water was quite shallow, so they just walked the boat back into shore.



Mick and June grilled up the squid that was intended as bait
We had lots of food to use up, including the leftover chicken wings from Mick and June's party, so we stayed in for dinner.  People turned in early so they could wake up for the Michigan football game at 2 a.m.  I passed on that opportunity.

One more sunset...


Tim and I were up early on the last morning, and waded far out into the water at low tide.  Hermit crabs were everywhere, as well as beautiful, perfect shells in all shades of white and gray.  We enjoyed watching one of the local dogs fishing in the shallow water - something I imagine must happen every time the tide is out.

...and one more sunrise










We returned the motorbike, paid our bills, and packed as much of the leftover food as we could into the van for the journey back to Pattaya.  We didn't have to wait long for the ferry, and had an easy sail across to the mainland, then a three-hour drive back home.






We took the group to one of our favorite eateries, the Wooden Box, for dinner.  We got the royal treatment from our "regular" waitress, Muay.  The food was delicious as always.



They toned down the spice in the salmon larb to "farang spicy," but it still packed a punch!





Monday, October 9, 2017

Return to Paradise - Saam

Sept. 1, 2017

The first morning on Koh Chang - some who were fighting jet lag were up before sunrise, and enjoyed an early morning walk on the beach.



jellyfish


lots of hermit crabs
 We had rented a motorbike for K. Mick and K. June to use, to make travel between the properties a little more manageable.  They came by in the morning, and told us that the TV didn't work and that they were the only ones in the entire complex.  It was clearly not the experience we were hoping to give them.  I felt really bad - the place looked so nice online.

Tim and I discussed the difficult housing arrangements with K. Mick, and we decided to try to cancel the remaining nights at the deserted condo.  The local manager said she couldn't give us a refund, of course, but let Tim talk to the owner over the phone.  The guy was a first-class jerk, and saw no reason he should refund anything.  The local manager wound up giving us a partial refund from her own pocket, I think because she recognized the unfairness of the situation.

That morning, nearly everyone piled into the van to go shopping for food.  They came back about an hour later with enough food to feed an army!  We crammed everything into the fridge as best as we could, and everyone grabbed some breakfast.

Soon after, a makeshift game of water volleyball was arranged.  No net was available, so they used the rope attached to the property's kayak and stretched it across the pool - clever.  Tim Jr had picked up a small ball from the store, so they were all set.  The game was well under way when a mighty downpour moved in.  The players were undaunted, and continued playing in the rain, "big ol' fat rain" splashing water up into their faces.  It reminded me of the scene in Forrest Gump when the title character describes the different kinds of rain in Vietnam.  "Sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath."





The rain (literal and metaphorical) soon cleared, leaving some nice, wet sand for sculpting.  I love the feel of wet sand and seeing what takes shape.



The sun was soon setting, and K. Mick had just gotten his fishing line in the water - K. June stood at the shore and he rowed out in the little kayak with the line - when we announced it was time to go.  (Guess we should have communicated our plans a little better.)  We heard about a fire show on the beach further down the coast, and decided it would be a fun place to have dinner.




When we pulled up in front of the Sabay Bar, the staff gladly helped find us a parking spot.  I'm sure they were happy to have a van full of customers.  The Tiki-style front is decorated with walls of bamboo, and leads to the beachfront dining area.  Everyone ordered drinks, and took some time pouring over the large menu.  The waiter had jokes, ones I'm sure he'd used a thousand times before, but I was amused.  Some people ordered chicken pad thai, and he asked them if they didn't want pad thai chicken.  Colored lights that looked like jellyfish hung from the trees.  A good soundtrack added to the ambiance.


No babies under twenty?  No grenades?
No eating poison??













Before the fire show began, we watched a man stack wine glasses into a pyramid.  He poured some kind of alcohol into the top, and watched it cascade down into the other glasses, then set the alcohol on fire.

The food was pretty good, but the fire show was the highlight for sure.  Young men spinning and whirling with flaming props - hoops, swords, ropes, etc.  It was a feast for the eyes.




After the show, we took a walk along the main street, and some picked up some souvenirs.  Hiustyn decided she needed a giant floating donut for the pool.



We enjoyed sharing the evening with great company.