A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: FandC

Cooking with Ya

At the Krabi Cookery School

sunny 34 °C
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After being very lazy around the pool for the first part of our time here we've been a little bit more active - on Monday we did a long tail boat trip out to a group of small islands just off the coast. Frank did some snorkelling and we had a picnic on the beach. Yesterday (Tuesday) we went for an afternoon cookery course to learn a bit more about Thai cooking. It was good fun and well organised by Ya, our lady chef teacher and her two assistants. There were only 4 of us so it wasn't too hectic and our fellow students were a French guy who didn't have a lot of English and an older Hungarian guy who spoke excellent English and was obviously a serious foodie. Between us and Ya and the assistants we made quite a range of dishes:-
Spring rolls
Pad Thai
Papaya salad
Red curry paste > red chicken curry
Green curry paste > green chicken curry
Tom Kah Kai (?) - chicken coconut soup
Penang chicken curry - with crushed peanuts
Holy basil stir fry chicken
Sticky rice with fresh sweet mango
A yummy dish with made with Morning Glory, a herb presumably the same as the English flower?

The instructions were easy to follow - spices were prepared by bang bang followed by more bang bang with pestle and mortar, herbs and veg were chop chop, followed by more chop chop, with lethal chopper, and liquids were added by bloops (5 bloops, 3 bloops, more bloops, as required). Frank got into a bit of trouble by adding too many bloops of oyster sauce to our Pad Thai. Our Hungarian colleague was the brave one who stir fried the morning glory - this was very dramatic with the smoking hot oil shooting flames up into the roof. We will post a photo of this!

We broke from cooking from time to time to try and eat our way through some of this. The others took doggie bags home but we didn't feel that was a good idea for us. It was all very good though and surprisingly light and fat free.

Needless to say we're not doing a lot today!

Tomorrow we go on a sail boat trip to Phi Phi visiting the bay where The Beach was filmed on the way. That will bring us to Friday our last day before we start the journey home.

It's very strange but we find here in Krabi that we are sleeping longer and longer each night with a few cat naps at the poolside during the day. It's amazing that we are getting so much sleep while doing so little! It's unusual if we are not fast asleep by 9.00pm and then we wake by about 6.00am.

It must be the heat because it certainly isn't physical exertion.

Not sure how we will cope when we get home?

Love FandC

Posted by FandC 21:58 Archived in Thailand Tagged islands phi_phi cooking Comments (0)

Photos from Coromandel, Bangkok, Krabi and update on travels

sunny 36 °C
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Hi everyone,

We are now at Krabi or to be more exact Ao Nang which is a short distance from Krabi. The weather is as hot as we have experienced this holiday and we are currently poolside in the shade!

We have posted some more photos of recent days and we will probably close our Blog with this update as there will be be little to say about chilling out time! We handed the motorhome back last Tuesday. It served us well and they do have their good points! Your stuff is always with you and lunch on the road is easy but climbing up into the over cabin bunk was a bit of a haul (literally!) and getting down again in the morning could be a bit dicey too. Added to that the downsides of camp site life and the fact that they are a bit of a tank to drive and well, we don't think we would buy one!

Anyway there are some things to relate about Bangkok and our plans here, so here goes....

Our flight to Sydney and then on to Bangkok was fairly uneventful, only long and tiresome, but we wish we could say the same of our flight from Bangkok to Krabi! It was intended to be a short internal flight of 1hr 5mins and all seemed well, we were on the plane in good time and ready to go but time dragged on and the captain and crew said nothing about delays, but over an hour later we were still there and the only information provided by cabin crew was that there had been a miscounting of baggage and we could not take off until it had been unloaded recounted and reloaded. Well that was frustrating but we were stoic travellers after all.... We took off eventually, but we had only been in the air 10 minutes and did not seem to be making any height when cabin crew announced there was a technical problem and we would be returning to Bangkok. The next 15 minutes were quite scary, we were travelling by the little known, at least to us, Bangkok Airways! When we finally touched down, in complete silence as far as the passengers were concerned, we still had not heard from the captain. He finally came on to apologise for a technical fault that would need to be checked out and about 30mins later we took off in the same plane again, with no further comment or explanation. We continued to be concerned of course until we landed at Krabi at about 10pm and 3hrs late. We had a transfer first by minibus to the harbour for Ao Nang and then a boat ride in darkness to our Hotel which is only accessible by boat or the Monkey Path!

Well here we are safe and sound and finally beginning to relax. Would you believe it, whilst preparing this blog post, the sun has gone in and big black clouds are developing. We could be in for some rain!

Whilst here at Krabi we are doing some interesting things. You just can't lie on your back for 8 days....at least we can't. We have booked a sailing trip on a large sailing boat to Phi Phi, which is the group of Islands where they filmed "The Beach". We are also taking a tour of 4 more local islands by Long Tail Boat. These little narrow boats are actually a bit of a pest. They make a lot of noise and are continually whizzing across the bay. We counted up to 15 of them criss crossing the bay at one point yesterday. It's a shame because it shatters the peace of this otherwise lovely spot. We are on the edge of a National Park and immediately behind the hotel there are limestone cliffs that rise vertically several hundred feet. Gibbons and macaque monkeys apparently live around the hotel site but apart from hearing them calling on our first morning we have not seen them yet.

Finally our other big treat, thanks to Andy and Sarah who bought this as a Christmas present for us, is a trip to a Thai Cookery School in Krabi which we are doing next Tuesday. We are both looking forward to that!

That's all for now, there were a few raindrops for about a minute but now the sun is out again and it's business as usual.

Love FandC

Posted by FandC 21:10 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Fond Farewell to New Zealand

sunny 23 °C
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Well it's now 5.00am Wednesday 12 March in NZ and we are just sipping our last flat white whilst sitting in the departure lounge at Auckland Airport. We're not feeling too bright but that's due to the fact that we had to get up at 3.30 this morning in order to make our 6.50 flight to Sydney and connection on to Bangkok. We have about 10 hours of flying ahead of us together with 2 hours connection delay in Sydney! It's not a pleasant prospect but we do have 9 days in Krabi to look forward to with lots of chill out time.

We just loved our time in NZ it's such a beautiful country and with so few people that daily life seems very easy going. We found the Coromandel peninsular to be as good as anywhere else we have been in NZ. It has some stunning scenery and beautiful beaches. Coromandel Town is where we were based for our stay which seemed quite remote with a long drive up the peninsular on twisty roads that hugged the coastline but once there, there was at least the same distance beyond which is only accessible on dirt tracks. Our rental agreement for the Motorhome does not allow travel on such roads so we booked on a trip to take us in a mini bus to the end of the track (2 hours drive) from which we had a lovely walk for 4hours across the remote northern tip of the peninsular to a point on the other side where the dirt track starts again and we would be picked up for the return journey. Our guide for the day, Willi, was an interesting guy. He was our age and had worked in the City of London as a trader for many years before coming back home to NZ to be in semi retirement whilst running Coromandel Adventures. He gave us a very colourful account of local history, Mauri culture, local politics, flora and fauna and anything else that took his fancy as we travelled to and from our walk. It was an unforgettable day and especially the journey home, as an unbelievably vivid sunset developed and Willi kept stopping at various scenic spots for photos. We arrived back almost too late to eat but we did manage to find somewhere open. Actually eating times seem to be early and closely observed here. We often found that we were just too late to eat as the restaurants had closed for orders by 8.30pm.

On our last day in Coromandel we went to the famous Hot Water Beach. The thing to do here is get yourself a spade, get down to the beach as low tide approaches, find a hotspot where the thermal waters are coming through, dig a pit and jump in to the hot water that has filled it. You have to be careful because in some spots the water can reach temperatures which would be too hot to bear. We felt a bit silly heading down to the beach with our metal spade but soon got into it as there were loads of people of all ages trying to find the best hot spot. Again we misjudged the eating - there were only two places and both were closed by 8:00 pm as was the chippy on the campsite. Scrambled eggs on toast for dinner!

Finally on to Auckland for a couple of days, the first day exploring the harbour area, which is not quite finished and on the second we took the ferry over to Devonport on the other side of the harbour. Not too impressed with Auckland to be honest and Wellington was also disappointing but then again people don't come here for the city experience!

We will post photos later ... Need to get ourselves to the Gate now.

Love FandC

Posted by FandC 09:02 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Rotorua and the Coromandel Peninsular

Oh yes we blame it on Google! The missed day that is.

sunny 24 °C
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Hi every one our time in NZ is fast coming to a close. We could spend the same time again and still not see all that interests us. We have now spent a couple of days in Rotorua and have since moved on to stay for a few days in the Coromandel area. Before we bring you up to date we must deal with the missing day! We are blaming our senior moment on Google. What we have now realised is that as we travelled eastwards at the start of our holiday and lost about 13 hours of time, the Google calendar on which we relied for our timetable and itinerary moved everything forward by one day. So we didn't lose the plot we were googled! I think Google should sort this out for travelling folk as it must be a common problem.

Anyway back to Rotorua. Despite the faint smell of bad eggs that pervades the whole area (on account of thermal vents and volcanic activity) Rotorua is quite a smart place. It has the largest concentration of Mauri people and most of the tourism businesses are Mauri owned and operated and this is a tradition that goes back to the 1860s when the first European tourists started to come to take the waters and see the geysers. There are lots of jokes on the subject of geysers, which Kiwis pronounce "guysers" not "geezers" as we do. On our first afternoon here we went down to the main museum and were treated to an earth moving moment. Whilst sat on benches in a small cinema watching a film about the history of the town the film relayed the account of an event in 1866 when there was a violent volcanic eruption that caused the death of 120 people many of whom were European Tourists. At this point the benches started to shake violently accompanied by very convincing noises. It was quite effective and took us by surprise albeit there were warnings that young children and people with heart conditions etc should not attend! The museum was housed in a beautiful old Victorian style former Bath House that was set in parkland with several bowling greens which were being used. It looked like a very English scene apart from the weather which was much too sunny!

On the camp site there was a spa pool served by thermal waters at a constant temperature of 37 centigrade, very nice. The following day we had an overload of geysers, thermal vents, bubbling mud pools, colourful rock formations, multicoloured lakes and to top it off a Mauri cultural evening with music and dancing and the Haka followed by a hangi meal, ie a meal cooked in a pit heated by hot rocks. It was a great evening, Christine was not inclined to get up on the stage when invited to try the pom pom swinging and dancing, known as "poi" but very embarrassingly and unfortunately with pictures to prove it Frank did get up and do the Haka, not very convincingly especially when he stamped on the foot of the guy next to him!

So today we have moved on to Coromandel and after much debate and soul searching we've decided to stay here for two nights, then one night at the Kauaeranga Valley at the base of the Coromandel Peninsular and then finally on to Auckland for our last night. This means we will not get up to the Bay of Islands after all - we would just not have time to do it justice. Anyway it's hot and sunny here and there are some lovely walks as the coastline is fabulous. Loads of sea food to try too!

Posted by FandC 19:35 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

We missed a day and a Ferry!

sunny 23 °C
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You may have seen our recent photos including one of the Interislander Ferry leaving Picton. Yes we have to admit that we have become so laid back on this holiday that we are as they say near horizontal. The thing is that our diary schdules our travels and for some reason the diary indicates that our pre booked and paid for crossing to North Island was down for today Monday 3 March. Unfortunately the tickets we bought were for Sunday 2 March. Doh!!!!

So as we walked out on the headland yesterday and watched, admiringly, the sight of the ferry working its way up the Sound we should have been on it! It was not until later that night whilst finishing our previous blog that we checked our documents to be sure everything was in order for the following day and we realised we had missed the boat, quite literally! We had an anxious night until we could contact the Customer Services Centre this morning but in fact they could not have been more helpful. We were told not to worry and to get on the 2.00pm Ferry that day and enjoy our holiday. They would sort it all out and we would not have to pay twice. And indeed as we are posting this update we are sitting on the ferry waiting to depart.

The embarrassing thing is that given our post 60 age we are entitled to the Senior rate...... What we did not realise was that also seems to include having Senior moments. Ah well sit back and enjoy that's what we think as Seniors these days.

Love FandC

Posted by FandC 16:32 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

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