Monday, July 28, 2008

When I was in Vietnam

Photo by Lupiote

It was a public holiday a few weeks ago so Alex took a few extra days off and we crossed the border to Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam. I was pretty excited because Vietnam has always been on my list of places to go. Mr A had already been to Hanoi so that's why we chose Ho Chi Minh.

Our holiday started off most excellently. We booked the cheapest of cheap flights on Jetstar so were pleasantly surprised when we got to the airport and found we were actually on Bangkok Air. Slightly bigger seats and free drinks! Wooo! Our flight was only an hour so we couldn't really take advantage of it but it was still awesome! We got to Vietnam and had to get our Visas. We could have got them beforehand but Alex needed his passport so we couldn't. Although we were one of the first people at the visa office, the lady processing them was just picking them out of the pile at random so we were the last people out. Our driver for our hotel pick up was left waiting the poor guy.

Our hotel was right in the middle of the backpacker area. It was really nice for only $30 a night. The bed was two singles so we had to push them together like a naughty 50's couple. We got free breakfast as well that you picked off a menu, not just 2 pieces of shitty dry toast and orange juice from concentrate. There were pancakes!!! (which I possibly had for breakfast every morning with lime).
Ho Chi Minh is not the most exciting city in the world. It's just another city. I found it quite similar to Bangkok. There are way more scooters than cars and way more street hawkers. You have to say no to sunglasses and shoe shines all day long. We even had one lady chase us down the street after we asked her how much a Lonely Planet book was she was selling. We decided we didn't want it but she chased after us for a whole block yelling at us to buy it. There was also a hilarious beggar on our corner who just yelled "GIVE ME MONEY!!" at people. The markets aren't as good as Bangkok but it is cheaper. It does make a great base however, to explore the surrounding area. And eat.

We spent most of our time just relaxing and walking around the city. But the second day we were there we went on a tour out to the Cao Dai temple and the Chu Chi Tunnels. It was only $7 for the whole day so we thought "Why not!". We crammed into a mini bus with about 12 other people and we were off. Our tour guides name was Slim Jim (his Aussie nickname apparently). He had reasonable English and fought for the North in the American war (which is what they call the Vietnam war in Vietnam) so he sounded like he might have some interesting stories. At first I thought he was going to be awesome. But as the day progressed, it turned out he was actually an arsehole.
This is him here. He repeated everything he said. By that I mean, he'd tell us something and then say "so basically..." and repeat it all again. And again. And again. Nothing basic about it. He was so irritating. If you asked him a simple question he'd either yell at you that he didn't know or give you an answer that didn't relate to the question at all. And we couldn't stay to look at anything for very long. He'd be all like "Here is this blah blah blah thing" wait 5 seconds "Okay next!". We seriously couldn't stop to look at anything. He was just so rude!!! I don't know what he was hurrying for. We got back to the city 2 hours earlier than he said we would. Maybe he just needed to get back and get his drink on or something.

But the up shot was, it was still an interesting day. We had a couple of friendly people on our tour so that was nice. There were these two super arrogant dutch guys who were kinda annoying. But that's pretty par for the course (for the record, I'm half dutch so therefor have a lot of dutch family. I am yet to meet a dutch man who isn't a jerk). We drove for 2 hours out to the Cao Dai temple. Cao Dai is an odd religion. They worship elements Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Islam and possibly some Hindi thrown is for good measure. It has only been around since 1920 after some guy had a vision. They go to temple 4 times a day or so, similar to Islam and the call to prayer. They usually wear white robes in the traditional Vietnamese style or, depending on their high official rank (like bishops and stuff), either red, yellow or blue. The temple itself is really gaudy. I wasn't a fan, especially because it was brand new and made of concrete. I have to say the visit was interesting, but not a extra 4 hours out of my day interesting. We were only at the temple for 1 hour and it took an extra 3 hours there and back. I would recommend only doing the half day just to Chu Chi. And to top it off, two German tourists were 10 minutes late back to the bus and Slim Jim went ape shit at them.

Chu Chi was much more interesting. The are these crazy tiny tunnels in a forest that the Chu Chi Viet Cong used to get around below ground to avoid enemy troops. They are sooooo small.

They had to widen one out for tourists to go in, and even then I was still bent double the whole way through. There is tonnes of other interesting stuff there, like all the booby traps the VC used to set for American troops. Some of them were seriously vicious.

We also watched a video when we first got there that was told more from the VC side of things. It talked about the evil Americans and how they were defeated by the brave Viet Cong. There were some bits that were like "School girl Tan Nguyen took up a gun to avenge her parents and killed 24 Americans. She was awarded a medal as top American killer!!". I found it really interesting because talking to some of my American friends, the fact that the US lost the Vietnam war is really played down. But in Vietnam, they are so proud and basically yell it from the roof tops. The contrast really makes you think. There are tonnes of war relics still within in the forest, like old tanks and bomb craters. Very very interesting. I would definitely have it on my list if you go to HCM.

After that, we didn't go on any more tours. We wanted to relax, the complete opposite of the disaster that was Slim Jim. So we just did the walking tour, went to markets and museums and ate. Holy craps we ate so much food. Vietnamese cuisine is DELICIOUS! The #1 thing everyone eats there is Pho. It's clear rice noodle soup with some vegies and sometimes meat. It's a complete meal in a bowl and super yummy. We went to this great restaurant as well, where they cook every thing at different stations which is really interesting. The staff are fantastic as well. If you are unsure what to dip in what or how to roll your own rice paper rolls, they will come over and help you. And they always have great recommendations. We went there twice!!! The other great meal we had was in this little french bistro. The food was amazing and soooo cheap. The dessert was mind blowing. I had creme brulee and almost died it was so good!

At the end of the 4 days, we were ready to go home. We made our way to the airport and checked in, on a Bangkok airways flight again mind you (yay!). I definitely had a good time. We achieved what we wanted with our little holiday and had a nice relaxing time. If you are going to Vietnam, I would recommend going to HCM for 2-3 days max and then head to Hanoi. That is definitely somewhere I want to go soon. Halong bay looks wonderful!!!

Oh and I almost forgot! Beauty stuff is really cheap there! I got eyelash extensions done! It only cost $20 and took about 2 1/2 hours. I was about ready to scream at the end of it. Lying there with your eyes closed for that long while someone pokes them with tweezers is not fun. But the results were amazing! It looked like I was wearing false eyelashes all the time. They are pretty much all gone now but they lasted for about 3 weeks! My camera couldn't get a good closer up though so no picture. I also got my arms and legs waxed for $15. I had four girls doing a limb each all at the same time. I now know the true meaning of pain!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Censorship of movies in Thailand is a bit ridiculous and hilarious. They have no problem publishing pictures of people maimed in road accidents on the front of the newspaper but censor the strangest things on TV and in movies. Here is a list of all the things they feel the need to censor. This mostly just on TV. They generally don't censor movies at the cinema, which a few exceptions:

1. Smoking. If someone is holding a cigarette like my lovely girl crush Scarlett Johannsen is demonstrating there's not a problem. But the minute someone puts the cigarette to their lips they blurr it. I guess they think this will deter people from smoking. It's funny because, like Australia, you can't smoke inside any where but they don't ever bother to enforce it. I just find it really hypocritical and stupid.

2. Drinking. Again, like smoking, they blurr it every time someone takes swig. It's so distracting and annoying.

3. Violence. If someone points a knife at someone BLURR! Point a gun BLURR! Head gets blown off BLURR! Or the scene gets cut completely. Forget about any blood and guts. That would just be CRAZY! But punching people is okay. They don't blurr that.

4. Nudity. You aint gonna see no arse on Thai tv. Or boobs. They just fuzz it from the neck down. Porn movies and magazines are illegal here too. But you can buy it from every DVD store in the city. I just don't see the point in blurring it. You can pay $10 and see a Thai woman shoot darts out of her hoo-hoo for goodness sake!!

5. Sex. I know this is very similar to nudity. But it's the only thing I have every seen blurred at the cinema. I went and saw the SATC movie and all the sex scenes were blurred from the neck down. It was ridiculous! It already has an R rating and everyone there were adults. It annoyed me so much! What did they think they were achieving? I think society is a little over sexualised, it's true, but COME ON!

I just find it beyond stupid. Do they really think blurring it is going to stop people from binge drinking and smoking and having sex? I think they could put this effort into more important things, like helping the homeless and sorting out the traffic problems. I always find it funny when governments waste time and money on useless things. Like the bell tower on the Perth foreshore. Priorities people, priorities!!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thailand: Land of Stares

Photo by Goatsfoot

Being stared at is something I've never, ever been comfortable with. It just makes me wonder what the other person is thinking, which doesn't always take my mind to good places. I was really nervous about it before I went to Japan because everyone told me "Oh you get stared at constantly by everyone" and even "People try to touch you". This is totally not true. I only had one kinda odd time in Gion where I noticed some Japanese tourists taking pictures of me leaning against a wall (what are they going to do with them? Go home and say "hey check out this neat tourist I saw!!" Pft). Even when I went to the Onsen nobody batted an eye. But Bangkok, which has a huge expat population plus countless tourists, it's another story.

Men seem to be the main culprits. I think this is a boobs thing. Thai women don't really have big boobs or something I guess. Even though I don't speak Thai "Woah check out those tits!" sounds the same in every language. Especially if I hear the world "Farang" in there somewhere, I know they are talking about me. I get this mostly from construction workers, tuk-tuk and motorcycle taxi drivers. They don't even look at my face. Totally gross.

The other reason I think is that I wear sunglasses. Nobody wears them here, except the occasional taxi driver and blind people. This I think makes people believe that you can't see them that well. So they stare you directly in the eyes, thinking you won't notice. Well I do, and it's creepy. I always wonder why Westerners are generally the only people wearing sunnies here. I can barely face the day without them. And so many Thais work outside, you think they'd use them.

Taxi drivers stare a lot too. Every time they go past, they stare at you intently in case you make some gesture that might indicate you want a taxi. Sometimes they stop and beep their horns at you, even if you haven't shown the slightest interest. It can get a little creepy and odd from time to time.

The other people that stare are kids. Occasionally they yell "Farang" at you but they lose interest quickly. It's totally innocent.

It does frustrate me, especially in Bangkok, because there are so many other foreigners here. Surely they are used to it by now. I guess perhaps staring isn't considered to be so rude in Thailand. I just wish people wouldn't. I feel so uncomfortable here already most of the time because I'm so huge compared to Thai women (and men a lot of the time too) and the staring just makes me feel worse.

My top tip (for women) for not getting stared at is carry a parasol. This works for me sometimes because so many Thai women do it they don't look twice. Plus it protects my very pale extremely burnable skin. So it's win win!

Sorry for the absence of blogging (Lexi. Tehehehe). I will write something up in the next couple of days on my trip to Vietnam and my Creme Brulee cupcake experiment for the Wii Guitar Hero party the Mister and I are having tomorrow night. Stay tuned! (Lexi! p.s. I miss you!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sole Solution

I think I have found my sandals. After looking at every market, shoe and department store here and coming up empty handed, I switched to searching online. with the American dollar the way it is, online shopping has become a lot more attractive to me. I originally was looking at gladiator sandal which aren't really my style because I know I can get them everywhere. Then I decided to swing past my favourite vintage shoe page Remix and saw these. Remix is a very dangerous place and gives me shoe lust like it is nobodies business!!! The Corazon Sandals are totally more my style and oh so cute to boot. Complete catooney goodness. I really like them in Red but will probably get black as it's a bit more versatile. If the Brown was a bit more chocolatey I'd get those instead. GAH! The more I look at them the more I love them. They are,however, a bit on the pricey side. Are they $150USD worth of cute? Survey says YES! But I will only get if I get a really good sized tax return, which I expect I will as I only earned around $18 000 in the last financial year and Alex and I no longer have defacto status (we haven't lived together for a year). With a few little deductions I should be able to get all of my tax back, something which hasn't happened for a long, long time. Last year I got $30. Anyway, I totally think these are the solution to all my footwear problems. They can go from the city to the beach in a flash, I could maybe even Lindy in them! I am going to go back and look in my two favourite shoe stores here I last time to see if there is anything but if not, I'm be ordering these babies before you can say "Oh my god!!! Your shoes are so cute! Where did you get them???"

p.s. these in the tan and chocolate make me swoon!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Elly Like Ichigo!

WOOO! Cupcakes!! I made these for a Wii Party last night. Super double chocolate cupcakes with strawberry butter cream and chocolate fudge icing. Just my favourite Donna Hay chocolate cupcake recipe with my own crazy icing concoctions. I got the idea for these cupcakes from my favourite Japanese chocolate snack thingies, Meiji Apollo. A weird name I know but I love them. I got hooked when I first went to Japan at age 11 and have been pining for them ever since. So when I went back last year, I went to town on them. Thankfully, they are just as available in Bangkok as in Tokyo!

They turned out really well I think. I still need to improve my icing technique. I always put on way too much, almost the same height at the cupcake. But I'm definitely getting better at the double icing. I'd like to get the line between the colours a little more definite. I really like the icing flavours together though. The cakes look like they are wearing little pink skirts! The flavours balanced each other out well too. The strawberry was super sweet and light and the chocolate was super rich and fudgey. MMMMM!

Plus everyone really liked them, which is the most important thing I think. I will totally be baking it heaps while I'm over here. I have all these new ideas! And then maybe I can do something with it all when I get home. The Clara Cupcakes Bakery!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Water Baby

Swimming is my new favourite pastime. I've always really enjoyed it and could never understand people who'd go to the beach and not go in the water. I don't really find sun baking that exciting. I am always the first person in the water and I don't do any of that mincey mincey errrrr it's cold crap.

But I've always just kind of floated about and relaxed, which is fine and dandy. But I've actually started doing laps. I find it very soothing and relaxing. I can just switch my brain off and swim. I normally swim for about 30 minutes a day which doesn't sound like a lot but by my reckoning (1 lap = 30 seconds) it's around 60 laps. I makes me feel much much better and totally refreshed at the beginning or end of the day (sometimes both!!). I guess not having easy access to a pool for so long (when I moved to Perth I was too poor to have a pool membership), I never really developed a lap swimming fetish. Now the pool is only 9 floors away you can't keep me out of it. I plan to make the most of it for the next 5 months! Hooray!

This would make it even more fun!!!

Cupcakes and cocktails are totally poolside attire!! No arguments!

Princess Dreamin'

Is it wrong that I really, really, really want this head piece from etsy? It from the seller charm school design, who has some really lovely other things for sale as well. I don't think it's too pricey ($42USD) for something hand made and one of a kind (which is the great thing about etsy!). But is it too much? Since I have been doing Burlesque, my style has become decidedly overstated. If you saw my Hullabaloo 2008 ball dress I think you understand what I'm taking about (in the middle). I have always had a deep seated love for giant bows, sequins and feathers, I just think now I actually have the guts to wear it. So maybe this will be one of my tax return purchases. And this. And also this. And maybe this too. *squeal!!!!!*

**I've just noticed everything I've picked is very "Blair" from Gossip Girl. Oh dear, I've become one of those people. It's not so bad :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Putting Up Walls

Ever since LC of Fops and Dandies fame blogged about these wall decals from BLIK I've been a little obsessed. With the price of housing in Australia at the moment, especially in Perth (you're looking at about $500,00 in a decentish suburb for a a place that is okay with no backyard), I can imagine I'll be renting for a really long time. So I think this is a really great way to a add something special to a room when you can't paint or put up pictures. They are taken from Threadless t-shirt designs. I think they are really beautiful. They wouldn't look great in my apartment here in BKK. Most of our walls are wall papered so I don't think they'd stick very well. If we move to San Francisco next year I think I will definitely have to look into getting some for our possibly awesome apartment (I say possibly because I am told rent there is wickedly expensive to).
I love the balloons but I also love these branches and let's go parasoling . You can also get these laser cut perspex ones from Australian Company Made By White. They are kinda pricey but include postage so I guess it's not so bad. I can just imagine my sewing room having these whimsical little tidbits on the wall. LOVE!

The Gretchie Monster

This is my cat Gretchen. She's a blue British Short hair purebred and she is the most adorable cat on the planet. Her pedigree name is Sumibo Kitty Fantastico (the breeder let me pick it!). I miss her every day. I can't have her here in Bangkok, partially because we can't have animals in out apartment but mostly because we couldn't bring her back to Australia ever. We have really strict quarantine laws and Thailand isn't on the list of safe countries. Plus she has a really thick coat (her breed originated in the UK - the weather is not exactly tropical) so she'd die in this heat. Her coat crackles as well, meaning it splits and moves when she walks. It's just most amazing colour. It really does look blue sometimes.
She likes to sit with me when I sew. By sit with I mean she sits on whatever pattern of piece of material I'm sewing. She love to sit amongst the clutter like I do. Every time I get my sewing machine out she gets this excited look in her eyes and is up on the table as soon as I put anything on it. ADORABLENESS!!!
She's also very glamorous as you can see. We like to go for walks outside and she wears her purple harness and sparkly leash. She's an indoor cat which I think is very important in Australia. We have a lot of rare bird and endangered marsupials that are perfect for kitties to catch and play with. Gretchie has short legs and is a bit chubby but she has a surprising turn of speed. I have no doubt she could catch anything that came into her sights. Pedigree cats are generally less capable of looking after themselves than moggies. I'm also a little scared someone might steal her. She is adorable and friendly. Who wouldn't want her? Plus there's the whole being run over by a car thing.

This is her "hunting". She's obsessed with moths. When there is one in the house she goes crazy! Sometimes I catch them for her like this in a glass. She loves it and gets so excited. When she sees one now she looks at me expectantly and waits for me to get it for her. She sits there and looks at it for about half an hour before tipping it over. Then the real hunt begins. She has that moth pinned in under a minute. She looks so proud and happy.

This is her the day I got her. She loved that little white mouse that's next to her. She was 12 weeks old and de-sexed already. SO tiny and so cute. When I showed people this photo they thought she wasn't real. She does kinda look like a doll!

Gretchie is really obedient for a cat. She sits on command and walks on a leash. Brits are really intelligent. They use them all the time in movies and commercials (she's the same breed as the the Whiskas cat just a different colour). They are also great house cats. Super super low maintenance. Gretchen is really playful. She likes to play chasey and fetch. She's kind of strange like that. They are odd things for a cat to like. She really loves to play with water too. Sometimes I'd walk out in the morning and there would be water all over the floor because she'd been playing with her water bowl. But she hates baths. She makes a pretty good alarm clock too, meowing in my face, sniffing me, poking me with her paws and sitting right on my chest (this is actually the most effective one, she weighs 6kgs and that's a lot of cat to be sitting on you).

I hate having to leave her in Australia so much. She lives with Alex's parents so we can have her back anytime but it makes me feel so irresponsible. Hopefully, Alex and I are moving to San Francisco next January so we will bring her over with us. The quarantine is only 3 weeks if we can prove how healthy she is before she leaves Australia. She travels really well so that's why I think she'll be fine. I used to take her to peoples houses for visits all the time so she's used to travelling. She likes being in the car because it means she is going somewhere exciting! Alex and I don't really care how much it costs to bring her with us. She's our responsibility and we love her to bits. I mean, would a parent leave their child behind because it costs too much. I don't think so! She has already tried to stow away with me once before!!

Fingers crossed (cross yours for me to!!) that we get the San Fran move. I really want to move there. Everyone tells me it's amazing. I'm sure Gretchie would love it too. I am actually planning to get her a sidekick once we settle somewhere. I think that will greatly reduce her boredom and stress when we move somewhere else. It needs to be a cat with a similar temperament because I don't think Gretchie could handle any kitty that was too full on. I'm thinking a Scottish Fold Short hair named Cupcake. Oh the Adventures!

Desperately Seeking Sandals.

Today I went shopping at Platinum. It's just down the road from Central World/Zen (my favourite department store here). Platinum is where a lot of the young hip things in BKK shop for hot this minute trends at bargain prices. I go there for the accessories. Shopping here for me is a little depressing. I'm not huge (size 12 AU sometimes 10) but even if I worked out all day every day and at nothing but leafy goodness, I would never be as small as a Thai girl. I have boobs and an arse, something which most Thai girls lack. I can buy shirts but they are usually too short. I often walk into stores and the assistants will immediately say "Miss, no size!". And I can forget about bras and undies here too. I stocked up before I left.

So anyway, today I went on a mission for sandals. I'm sick of just wearing my black canvas sneakers all the time every time I go out. They don't really go with anything but are comfy and don't kill my feet. So thought sandals were the perfect solution. I hate thongs (flips flops to you Americans, not the equally uncomfortable and gross underwear) with a passion. I do have a pair but they were a last minute buy so I wouldn't ruin my pedicure and they were only 99 baht. They are actually pretty comfy and have a cute frangipani on the strap. Normally thongs make my feet ache and shred the skin between my big and second toe. But even if they are comfy, my feet get wicked dirty in them walking around Bangkok and the thongs themselves look just as grotty.

I bought a black and white pair last time I was here that reminded me of the sandals my Oma wears but the soles fell off in Singapore. They had this weird red paper inside and it flicked up all over my legs (it was raining). When I looked down I panicked for a second because I thought I'd contracted a tropical Skin Disease. I've seen them a few times since but won't by them again because they just didn't last long enough. I know gladiator sandals are in just about everywhere right now so I thought it would be easy to find a nice, simple, flat black or brown pair. Thailand rips off trends pretty quickly. But how wrong I was. EVERYTHING was either sparkly, heeled or thongs (or crocs.......I loathe these more than thongs. If you wear these abominations pretending to be shoes you are dead to me). I did find one cute pair but of course, they weren't in my size. It's sandals people! They are a shoe staple!!! After searching every soi on every floor and having no sandals to show for it, I decided I must have angered the accessories gods some how. Defeated, I started down the escalators to make my way home. And that's when I saw it.

Clearly the shoe gods hate me but the Hat gods do not. Ever since I saw the Sex in the City movie, I have been lusting after the hat Samantha wears in this scene:

Normally, I despise everything Samantha wears. Too much fluro for my taste and shoulder pads out the wazoo. *Bleck*. But this is pure skin protecting, vintage movie star, glamazon gorgeousness. FIERCE! As much as I loved it I never hoped to find anything like it for a reasonable price (I bet this hat cost at least $500).

I got a little burnt at the beach on the weekend. This is a huge problem for me because it puts me totally out of wack for at least a week. I don't know why but it just makes me feel sick. Anyway, I thought I'd look for a sunhat so I'd at least be a little more protected. That's when I found this:

Isn't it just the most fabulous thing you've ever seen! It was $50 which was more than I was looking to spend on a hat but I couldn't resist. I feel so glamorous when I wear it. I know Alex will hate it but I love it and that's all that matters. It's like my own little personal shade. It's not quite as big as Samantha's but it is pretty darn close. I can't wait to wear it too the beach! *squeal*

(sorry I look so sweaty and gross in this photo. I call it Bangkok Chic.)

Oh I also got an Anna Sui-esque black hand mirror (sorry, I couldn't get a good photo). There is something wonderfully decadent about hand mirrors and Anna Sui for that matter. *love*. And it was only 40baht ($1.30AUD).

Do you like my hat?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Swish Swish

I'll let you in on a little secret. I eat more Japanese food than Thai. I know, I know *slaps hand*. Don't get me wrong, Thai food is sooooo delicious. I do eat it a couple of times a week. But Japanese food is very popular in Bangkok right now so it is hard to avoid. Plus it is also delicious and oh so healthy. My favourites things are sashmi, japanese curry, okonomiyaki, karaage, zaru soba, shabu shabu and ramen. Oh god I love ramen. It's delicious in Kyoto.

So I've been feeling a bit sick and didn't feel much like going out so I decided to rustle me up some Japanese grub. Plus I don't cook for myself enough anymore. I mosey-ed on down to my local Villa to get some inspiration. I decided on Shubu Shabu and Zaru Soba. Shabu Shabu is extremely popular in BKK. There is an all you can eat Shabu restaurant here called ShabuShi that usually has a 2 hour wait to get in! It's insane!! But it is very good. They even have sushi included on the menu. Not bad for around 300 baht ($10AUD).

I don't have a Shabu pot, which is kind of like a fondue heater thingy. I figured that if I boiled the water that would be enough. The pork is wafer thin and cooks in no time. So I made a chicken and garlic broth (I didn't have any miso) and had pork, mushrooms and bok choy to go with it. I even managed to find the same sesame dressing that I had at my host family's house in Gunma. It's so good, I could drink it. MMMM! I couldn't find any spring onions and forgot to buy nori for the zaru soba but it was still great. I think I maybe over cooked the soba a bit but meh. They are so refreshing in this hot weather, especially with the cucumber pickles. Japanese pickles and very mild and subtle compared to western pickles which I don't really enjoy.

Photo by Kamoda

I found some Daifuku at Villa as well. It was only 15 baht so I thought I'd grab it. Specifically it was ichigo daifuku (strawberry). I have a love hate relationship with this stuff. I love the taste but the texture gets to me sometimes and makes me gag. I should have remembered this. I didn't put it in the fridge and when I bit into it I almost threw up. The Bangkok heat had just made it too soft and icky. It tasted great bit I couldn't manage to swallow more than one bite. Sadness! I had some tasty rose apple instead

It's a really lovely night tonight. I might go for a walk to the park at Phrom Pong and possibly go to Kinokuniya (this place is like my catnip, more on it later and how it sucks we don't have one in Perth).

In the mean time, why don't you go out and get some Shabu Shabu (or make some yourself!), with some some sencha or iced tea for sippin'. I promise you wont regret it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stinkeye Man - Update

Photo by Lynn Marsha UK

3/7/2008 - tried smiling at him when walking into the gym. I thought that I perhaps hadn't given him enough of a chance to not be a douche bag. Experiment failed. I was met with THE STINKEYE! Mission for next week: try to take covert pictures of ol' Stinkeye "working out*". Mwahahahahahhahaha

*By "working out" I mean "using every machine for 30 seconds between ambling around the gym and grunting and not wiping my gross sweat off anything that I use"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A weekend away

Photo by Gsy Donkey

So the past weekend I got out of the grind and grime of Bangkok and went to Ko Samet. Ko Samet is the cheapest and closest beach island get away from the city. It's really fantastic and relaxing. And it will cost you next to nothing.

The best way to get there from BKK is by van. It's a little more expensive than the bus but totally worth it. You go to Victory Monument and just ask for a van that's heading to Ko Samet or Bang Phi. It should cost you about $200 baht for the 2 1/2 hour journey. You want to try and be there early-ish so you don't get stuck squished on the back seat (it's bad trust me). Once you get to Bang Phi pier, you take the ferry across to Samet. That costs 50 baht and takes around 30-45 minutes. At the Samet pier you jump on a ute (20 baht) which will take you all the way along the island to where ever you need to get off. You will need to pay to get onto the island (this is pretty standard all over Thailand; Ko Samet is classed a national park). It is 40-200 baht depending if you're a student or not.

Once you are actually there, you need to find somewhere to stay. All the cheap places don't take booking so you will just have to try your luck. Be careful in high season. Places book out quickly, expecially on the weekend. You may find yourself hiring a tent. I suggest Jep's. No air con but the bungalows are in the shade so it's not too hot. Plus they are crazy cheap, 300 baht a night (approx $10AUD). And then once that's all sorted out, you can start to have FUN!

Samet is really a relaxation island. There's not a lot of activities like some places aside from the norm (motorcycles, jet skis and snorkeling) so you are pretty much free to swim and Frisbee and all that jazz. The water is lovely and refreshing although strangely more salty than back in Oz. I'm not really sure why that is. There are tonnes of beach chairs you can lounge about on for a mere 25 baht a day. Bargain! Drinks are cheap too. This is the land of the bucket drinks. By bucket I mean, a kiddies sand castle bucket filled with booze for about $7 AUD. This does mean there are a hell of a lot of drunken idiots on Samet. Namely drunken foreigner idiots. But they can be ignored.

The only shitty thing about Samet is the food. I have found it to be a little bit so so at all the beach front. One think I can recommend is orange chicken and som tum. You'll see people walking up and down the beach carrying two baskets on a pole. Keep an eye out for for the ones that have a grill on one side and a mortar and pestle on one side. Get yourself some of the chicken and a big pile of som tum (god I love som tum). Unless you like your food really spicy, I suggest you ask for it mai pet (no chlli). There is usually enough chilli left in the mortar to add enough spice.

Oh and there are a lot of beach dogs but honestly, they are a lot cleaner and healthier than the dogs in Bangkok. They keep out of your way. Keep an eye out for a "white" dog (by white I mean, she has some white fur on her body along with some patches of skin and mange) . Her name is Cow, which means rice. She's the ugliest dog you have ever seen but she is well known on the island for protecting people when they are in trouble. I always try and give her some tidbits when go.

Oh and people please!!! Put on sunscreen! I see so many foreigners that look like lobsters. Get in the shade occasionally and please, please, PLEASE put on sunscreen every hour. I feel burnt just looking at them. And Scandinavians, quit sunbaking topless on the beach. I'm not a prude but I don't like seeing boobs when I go for a stroll. Plus I wouldn't want all the gross old men that hang about on Samet looking at my lovely lady humps. Speak of the devils, wearing g-string speedos is not okay for anyone, let alone 60 year old men. I don't want to see all you business and I'm sure many other people feel the same way.

It really is a great get away weekend from Bangkok (aside from the Old man arse) if you need a break from the hustle and bustle. It's way more laid back and friendly. A great place to unwind. And if you take the ferry back, you might get this awesome driver and his wife on the way back to Bang Phi. Drinkin' a Chang beer and gutting some fish. Enjoy!