Wednesday, February 23, 2011

we'd just eat more

This post is just a recap of the most memorable meals from my trip. I tend to take pictures of my food.

This was the strangest airplane meal(?) I've ever seen. It included hickory bits, dried radish, onion cookies(!) and chocolate covered wafers. This was from the flight from Shanghai to Bangkok.

The first night in Bangkok, my friend Jason showed me a great German restaurant. I had goulash, hefeweizen, and this. Sauerkraut is not at all like kimchi, except for the part where it's rotten cabbage.

Rice comes in shapes in Thailand. This was at the Hippie De Bar on Khao San Road. I think I had Pad Kapow (fried basil leaves and chili peppers--with shrimp in my case) with it. Yum.

Twice at Jep's on Ko Samet I have ordered Panang Talay (Panang curry with seafood) and gotten Panang Gai (gai is chicken.) Whatever. It's good.

This is the Christie's Mak Mak. I don't know if anyone ever ordered this cocktail before me. It's pretty, though.

But fried red curry with prawns and long beans at Bedrock is the best meal in the world. I felt sorry for everyone around me whose tongues had not just experienced what my tongue had just experienced.

And this was what Elle ordered for dessert on my last night. It's at a fancy place in Bangkok called Spring Summer. It's cake, which is thick and chewy like a brownie, baked into a cup with ice cream on top. Amazing. I ordered a chocolate souffle cake. It was not as good as this.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

to Bangkok

I spent my last night in Bangkok in this guesthouse room that is so very typical that I had to take a picture to show you exactly where you'll stay if you stay on Khao San Road.
(This is actually the Star Dome Inn on Rambuttri Road, one block from Khao San. It's much quieter and prettier and cobblestoney.)

This is the very typical view from my typical room.
Khao San Road runs left to right in front of that short, rusty roof.

I spent my last day at the park on the river that's near Khao San. There was some sort of school camp going on. These girls have pigtails with big yellow ribbons as part of their uniform.


In the evening, I had dinner and dessert with Elle! Do you remember Elle? She is one of the girls I went to Cambodia with last October. She's still working in Bangkok.

That dessert place was amazing, but honestly I took pictures of about 2/3 of all the meals I ate on this trip, so tomorrow I think I'll recap my gastronomical adventures.

I headed right from dessert to the airport, for a 2 am flight. My taxi driver...I think was drunk. He kept forgetting my name ("What you name teacher?") but he liked me enough that when he stopped at a light to buy a jasmine and rose garland for his rear view mirror (they satisfy the spirits of transportation) he bought one for me too! I tried to explain that I couldn't take flowers through customs, but he insisted, so I thanked him and then gave it to another taxi driver after he dropped me off. And then I came back to Korea where it was cold.

Monday, February 21, 2011


In Ban Phe, I stopped at Christies in Ban Phe for some curry and to say hello to Oui and Chan and everyone.

Look, it's Oui! I forgot how tall I am in Thailand.

I went to Bedrock for the fried red curry with prawns and long beans (this trip is about 90% about the food, I think.) I also saw Aum.

The carnival was in Ban Phe too. Unlike last time, the carnies constructed the roller coaster with no extra parts, and there was *not* a baby in a hammock underneath it. There was a ferris wheel.

Then I went back to Bangkok.

Friday, February 18, 2011

her footprints make you follow, where the sky loves the sea

Did I tell you about Fah?

Fah lives on the beach on Ko Samet, just past Jep's. She makes beautiful jewelry. And windsurfs. And has great hair.

I sat with her one afternoon and made a (very bad) bracelet and we ate fruit and talked.


Fah says that she pictures the kind of person who will wear each piece of jewelry she makes, and what kind of event they will wear it to. She has a gorgeous necklace she sees on an elegant woman in a black dress. I made a small bracelet that she says she'll try to sell for 100baht ($3) but I don't think anyone will pay that much. I asked her what sort of person she thought would pay 100baht for it, and she said "a tomboy--a girl who wears shorts and has short hair." It's a really ugly bracelet.


Then I took the ferry back to Ban Phe.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

touch the distant sands

When I lived in Ban Phe, these islands taunted me. There is a cluster of islands east of Ko Samet, and one you can see from way out in Laem Mae Phim. Autumn and I schemed to build a boat or to kayak out to them and have an untouched, tropical paradise to ourselves for a weekend.

I'm glad we didn't.

This time around, I signed up for one of the speedboat tours offered from Ko Samet to the neighboring islands.

This is Ko Thalu, the one that's furthest east, by Laem Mae Phim.

Then you come around and it's full of speedboats. You can rent beach chairs for 20 baht. There is a restaurant.

The island tour was good, though. There was snorkeling between a couple of little rock islands in the cluster by Ko Samet.

Even there, we were not alone.

On one of the islands near Ko Samet (with bungalows and a mini shop,) there's a nice little hike.

The last part of the tour brought us to the Ko Samet Fish Farm, which looks like this:
Some of the boards are a little broken, but it's fine.

There was a shark, which was far less frightening than the prospect of losing my balance and my camera.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

on an island in the sun

I caught the sunset ferry to Ko Samet.

And in the morning, I laid on the sand and practiced my "mai ao!" to all of the vendors walking up and down the beach, until she came by with coconuts and I asked her to slaughter one for me.

Oh, yes.

Then in the evening I had dinner at Jep's with a girl who's teaching English in China (and was on my flight from Shanghai!) we caught three fire shows.



And this is a ten-year-old Cambodian kid with a fire hoop around his neck. Because it's Thailand, and that's fine.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

garden in the shade

Another thing I missed in Bangkok the first time around was Jim Thompson's House.

You can read about Jim Thompson here, but he was basically an American businessman who fell in love with Thailand, collected some old Thai houses from all over that he put here in Bangkok, revitalized the Thai silk industry, and then disappeared into the jungle in Malaysia, never to be seen again.

This is his house:
It's full of antiques and there are all sorts of silk things for sale.


The garden is lovely too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

night in Bangkok

I stayed on Khao San Road when I was in Bangkok. When you're on Khao San Road, you get your falafel here:

Notice the red Fanta for the spirits.

Also on Khao San Road you'll find some wacky performance art. I was out with Ryan, who used to work with me in Ban Phe, and we came upon this scene. I looked at the little baby doll (which is dancing to the music) and said, "wow, that's creepy." Ryan looked at the guy's white mask and said, "yeah, that's creepy." Then we each saw the other thing, and whoa!

Taxis in Bangkok sometimes have advisory stickers like this one:
That's no weapons, no sex, no animals, no alcohol, no durian, no cigarettes.

I still haven't tried durian. It's okay, since I think I'll always go back to Thailand.

Friday, February 11, 2011

elephants go by


I never spent much time in Bangkok when I lived in Thailand. On this trip I decided to see some touristy things I hadn't seen before, and the Erawan Museum was first on the list.

It's a museum inside of a giant three-headed elephant.

This is obviously not my picture, but the detail of the elephant was lost in mine because they were so backlit.
Erawan Museum, 3 Headed Elephant, Samut Prakan, Thailand

There are three levels to the museum, the Naga level on the bottom which has lots of pottery, the middle, human level (in the base under the elephant) which has art from around the world, and the top Buddha level inside the elephant which looks like this:

The grounds around the elephant are also beautiful, and had sculptures of mythological creatures.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

going to Shanghai

For winter vacation, I went back to Thailand. I had worried about what to do with my coat and jeans (since I didn't want to carry them around Thailand, but I didn't want to be cold on the way to the airport,) but it's lucky I decided not to stow them at the airport here in Busan, because it snowed on me during the layover in Shanghai.

Because I was outside.

In Shanghai.

Which I don't think is legal.

Americans are supposed to have a $160 visa in order to get through immigration, but the Shanghai airport doesn't have a very efficient transfer process, so I went out through immigration and customs, and then back in again. In between, and with great trepidation, I went outside into the snow. I didn't, like, know of anything to see in Shanghai or how to get around or have any yuan, so it was brief but invigorating.

This is the Shanghai airport:

And this is part of an article in the English-language newspaper at the Shanghai airport. Busan had a 96-year low temperature and they shut off the water in my city! (Jangyu is a division of Gimhae.) (Luckily it was over the weekend and I was in Busan anyway.)

I'll show you the first part of my Thailand trip tomorrow :-)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

this is a life of illusion

In Thailand, it was fun to watch Korean tourists take pictures of one another on the beach with fancy DSLR cameras. Taking pictures of one another is a huge thing in Korea too (maybe I am in the right country) but here it's cold.

Bexco, a convention center in Busan, accommodates with an interactive art exhibition (inside, where it's warm!) I went with Pete in early January.

I've never felt short in Asia before...



It's very convenient to have a Pete around when a dinosaur bursts through the wall.

(You know he is very seriously singing "Wise men say only fools rush in...")