We finally are leaving Thailand tomorrow. Out of Suvarnabhumi, to my father’s relief. Getting up at 4 a.m. to go to Bitec check-in point for U-tapao would be torturous for the poor man.
My planned 2-week vacation was extended to 19 days of bliss laced with frustration, thanks to the airport closures. However, it’s always good to be home. Things are always changing around here in the Land of Smiles. For better or worse.
So here’s my best/worst list of my recent trip home.
Best: Extended vacation.
Worst: Brandon’s extra week of time off he actually didn’t really have…and therefore eating into the time I was to spend alone with my family and not having to worry about him. It was fun, nonetheless.
Best: Tony Jaa’s action and fight choreography in Ong-Bak 2.
Worst: Ong-Bak 2 as a movie. Seriously. It sucked as a movie but awesome action sequence clips. The story of the last heir, lost in the jungle, seeking revenge, had potential but it was not well developed nor well told. Oh, and digital blood? That was fun to spot too.
Best: Fusion massage at Angsana Spa at Sheraton Grand Laguna Phuket. The best massage I’ve ever gotten in my whole life. (Ask for the therapist named “Cherry”. She’s awesome!) I mean, I was a little jetlag still that afternoon, but I fell asleep so hard she tried to wake me up a few times to flip over.
Worst: The price. Let’s just say that for the amount I paid, I could’ve gotten 10 traditional Thai massage on the beach or 5-7 “oil massage” elsewhere. It was still worth it to me.
Best: Food. Oh my god the food. Not just Thai food but everything else too. I can’t possibly tell you of all the places we’ve eaten so, I’ll break it down gently here.
First, the two standards. We had Thai at my friend’s Kinnaree Gourmet Thai in Sukhumvit Soi 8–always an excellent place with creative and spectacular cocktails. We had to go back twice to Greyhound Cafe for the bacon and egg fried rice, prawns and soba salad, and their Pink Cooler blended juice blend, once at the Emporium and another at Central Chidlom.
We had Vietnamese at Thang Long at the end of Soi Langsuan–mediocre food with exception of a few items.
We had Italian at Torlente, also at the end of Langsuan–old staff and chef of now defunct Pan Pan, delicious but nothing to write home about.
We had a barrage of Japanese grilled goodness at Kuu at Central World–place was packed but the bitty skewers were really good with impressive sake list.
We had hand-cut, freshly made ramen at Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao at the Erawan’s Urban Kitchen on the corner of Rajdamri and Ploenchit–yummy noodles, bleh service.
We had the best of Thai and Western food at Thai Airways Catering out by Don Muang Airport, close to Jay Leng outlet–this is what they serve first class passengers and all VIP at their lounges, wonderful food and desserts. Ladies, make your way here. The waiters are sooo gorgeous! (Word is their general manager picked the good looking ones…)
We had French fusion at Angelina at Central Chidlom–a bit pricey, hit-or-miss with the food, but oh so right and oh so French-tastic with dessert and pommes frites and garlic aioli.
We had German brats and sausages, pork legs, and saurkraut and potatoes at the Goethe Institute off of Sathorn Road. I must say the German style pork leg tossed in Thai “yum” spices was better than the original.
We had popcorn at the Central World movie theater. I was perplexed when the attendant asked “What flavor of popcorn would you like?” Apparently, you can get it in salty (plain + salt), sour cream, caramel, and barbecue. American popcorn is better despite the variety of flavors, I have to say.
Off the boats at the Damneun Saduak Floating Market, we had egg rolls, young coconut water, coconut pancakes, pork noodle soup, and Kanom Bueang aka Thai dessert tacos.
We also had food on the side of the road to Khao Yai National Park. Not sure exactly where we were, but the place is famous for their ham and ham steaks. They fry up their ribs + steak to crispy goodness and..a;lskjd;o; Sorry. I had to wipe the drool of the keyboard there for a second…
Worst: Our stomachs just aren’t big enough to eat everything.
Best: Hanging out with my mom’s best friends and served as my late mother’s proxy on a few of the essential trips. They missed her on their excursions and having me there seemed to fill a little bit of the void. The Aunties took us out for lunch at the aforementioned Goethe Institute. Then to do some shopping for silk at The Old Siam. And finally, they took us on a day trip to Khao Yai National Park.
Worst: Having to hold our tongues the whole time as the Aunties tell stories of joining the “mobs” and all other yellow-shirted tid bits. Endearing, but frustrating at times.
Best: Got to see Khao Yai National Park at its greenest. Gorgeous jungle covered mountains and valleys. Roads owned by monkeys. Braking for deer and screaming inside the van for the other car to stop for the deer. (Poor Brandon and our driver possibly lost their hearing for the next hour after that incident.)
Worst: Shelling out for Brandon’s entry fee of 400 baht, ten times of the local entry fee of 40. One of the aunties said we could’ve stuffed him in the back of the van, and nobody would’ve known.
Best: We were pulled over for allegedly speeding up to the tollway booth. As our driver discreetly offer him money, the officer said, “Thai police these days don’t take any bribe.” The van full of aunties exploded in applause.
Partly, our driver mentioned that he works for a “Madame Or”–which is the nickname of Thaksin’s now ex-wife–which is not really a lie as my aunty is also named Or. Haha! Partly, as the aunties believe, is because Brandon was up front with the driver and the cops don’t want to make bad impression. Obviously, none of us believe the officer was truly “honest”. It is sad how we’ve become so jaded.
Worst: Spotting more check points coming back from Khao Yai through Saraburi. Agricultural trucks were being pulled over. Our driver told us that the cops pulled those guys over, inspect the cargo, and ask for their produce instead of money, or sometimes in addition to.
Best: My postponed return date allowed me spend Father’s Day and weekend with my dad. We went shopping, had dinner, and saw Ong-Bak 2, something he would probably wouldn’t have done on his own. Now THAT was the best part of the trip.
Worst: Because we were staying at my house, we didn’t get to enjoy the 2,000 baht a day stipend other stranded tourists get at their hotels. Oh well.