A FULL PLATE

A couple of days ago, my husband, Kuldip, and I went to Chai Talay; a cute little cliff-top restaurant, located near Payoon Beach, that overlooks the Gulf of Thailand. Friends, Richard and Helen, took us there last year and I had to go back for more of their crispy fried fish. I tried this traditional Thai dish, named Pla Rad Prik, for the first time a number of years ago at the Spirit House Restaurant at Yandina on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. While I don’t usually go in for fried food, this spicy sweet and sour Thai specialty is very special indeed. But, to enjoy it while overlooking the aquamarine waters of the Gulf of Thailand makes it even more so. The spectacular sunset that followed after our two-kilometre stroll home along the beach finished off another perfect day in paradise.

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NO BASKET CASE

While bumping into an elephant on the beach is what I call a main event, plenty of other remarkable stuff also happens during the day along this stretch of the Gulf of Thailand. Payoon Beach is a little fishing village where colourful wooden boats bob about while their skippers are ashore preparing for the next catch fit for a fisherman’s basket. Since many dads here fish for a living, it’s not surprising to see the local small fry snoozing in one as well!

Amateur anglers are everywhere too and some are lucky enough to catch more than just a cold! On the other hand if you play golf and have a bunker mentality, the beach is as good a place as any to practice getting out of it. Many Thais, however, prefer to spend their leisure time swinging from tree to tree.

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ELEPHANT WALK

After picking up my little (3-month [grrrrrr!]) instead of big (6-month) tourist visa for India, Kuldip and I travelled 2.5 hours south of Bangkok to Payoon Beach located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand where we will stay until we return to Bangkok to fly to back home to India on 22nd August. Yesterday while strolling along the beach, we bumped into the local mahout and his charge that we had the pleasure of meeting, for the first time, during a visit last year. What a photo opportunity! Forty baht later we walked back to Richard and Helen’s condominium with some memorable photographs while the elephant meandered off down the beach having enjoyed the two sugar cane treats from his Aussie admirers.

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STATE OF THE ART

 

Those of you who have read my book, “Just the Ticket”, and monitor my posts on Facebook (FB) as well as my blog, will know that I love all forms of art whether it hangs on a museum wall, rests in a garden or lays in wait to surprise you on a street corner or in a town square. Some shopping centres around the world are also like mini art museums like Siam Central that I described in a recent FB post. While Central World in Bangkok features fashion and home wares at the conservative end of the market, the mall has some quirky features too like the bright red and blue seals that greet you at the entrance to the indoor ice skating rink and the silver figurine reminiscent of the Columbian sculptor, who has an obvious fat fetish, Fernando Botero’s work that I’ve seen and loved all over the world. After taking a couple of shots of Kuldip and friend that I captioned: “Guess which one talks through his hat,” I got to meet Parisian fashion fat cat, Karl Lagerfeld and his beloved pet, Choupette.

 

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THE SENSATIONAL SIAM CENTRE

 

My husband, Kuldip, and I did all the touristy things during our stay in Bangkok last year and since we are both retired and no longer into serious shopping, there’s not much else to do here while we cool our heels waiting for the Indian Embassy to grant my tourist visa. Luckily, the weather has permitted us to go poolside most days even though it’s the rainy season here. A shopping list of a friend in Chandigarh, however, made us step out of the hotel and into some of Bangkok’s many multi-story shopping malls such as Central World, Siam Paragon and the Siam Centre. The first two malls comprise most of the world’s glitzy high-end gear from home wares to fashion and flashy cars to boot, making what they sell unsurprisingly predictable. The re-vamped Siam Centre, however, was less so and I loved it. Unlike the other malls we strolled through that day, which enshrine western high-end retail, Siam Centre is a testament to Thailand’s creativity in terms of local fashion design and merchandising. The fashion and shoes and accessories in the womenswear and menswear shops here, range from cutely conventional through to quintessentially quirky. If the merchandise on offer doesn’t bombard a shopper’s senses, the awesomely avant-garde window dressing and in-store displays at Siam Centre certainly will! I particularly liked the group of three floral penises that had been erected in one of the more unconventional boutiques. (I tried to talk Kuldip into buying a pair of THE glitzy golden loafers, but he wouldn’t have a bar of it!)
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COLOUR MY WORLD

The Thai’s love of colour is evident everywhere you go in the ‘Land of Smiles’ and it was palpable at the recent ‘Happiness Street Festival’. Staged in the centre of Bangkok alongside the sixth largest shopping complex in the world, Central World, the Festival was an explosion of colour and a delight to witness.Thai Happinness Festival #5 Thai Happinness Festival #4 Thai Happinness Festival #3 Thai Happinness Festival #2