Spicy Noodles for Breakfast

Sunday morning 9am. Dropped our son off at school for football practice - yes, he's only 5, but so long as he's enjoying it, I am also happy. We made sure he ate some sensible cereal before starting, but the rest of the family planned to eat breakfast while he was busy. Just down the road about 2km from the school is a noodle restaurant. Nothing amazing about that - Phuket, just like anywhere else in Thailand, has noodle shops everywhere. A bowl of noodles is one of the most common meals or snacks for Thai people. I have blogged a couple of other noodle places before - here and here. If you are in Phuket, you MUST try a simple bowl of noodles at least once - it's cheap and tasty and filling. I normally trust my wife with regards to choosing noodle restaurants, she'll find one that is clean, friendly and serving noodles with the best flavour - it's all in the soup - can be a bit bland sometimes, I admit. This one is not - where we ate on Sunday does the noodles in a Tom Yum soup full of veggies, crunchy bits of pork and garlic and not a small amount of chili!

Entrance to noodle restaurant

Sunday Muay Thai on the TV

It's a small place, only 4 tables, up a side street off Chao Fa West road about 3km from Chalong Temple (see location on Google Earth). Simple inside, Muay Thai on the TV (well, it is Sunday).

Noodles

Preparing Noodles

We ordered our noodles - including a less spicy one for our daughter. The 2 ladies who run the place are very friendly. My wife has been several times with friends after dropping the kids at school. If my wife is a regular customer, that's a big plus - must be good food! I took photos of the ladies preparing our breakfast. Yes, after some time in Thailand you start to eat spicy noodles for breakfast. Sometimes I have cornflakes, sometimes eggs, but breakfast in Thailand is... flexible! I admit it took me a long time to get my head around this. In England, breakfast is breakfast, you CANNOT have soup or curry or noodles, are you mad?! Tom Yum spicy noodles for breakfast. Great. Try it!

preparing noodle soup

Adding veggies and beansprouts

Noodle restaurant with smiles

They do drinks too - I had ice tea (black), my wife had a Thai style ice coffee called Oliang. The drinks come in interesting cups - not your normal plastic beakers here.

Drinks

And the noodles (noodle soup, Kuaytiow) - very very tasty, if a little too spicy for breakfast! A simple bowl of noodles, when loaded up with pork and veg and beansprouts and other bits, makes a meal fit for a king. The breakfast of champions!

Tom Yum Noodle soup

COCONUTS

Cool and Refreshing ----- just what I needed
My desk

my Desk


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Today I was sitting at my computer desk and complaining to myself about how hot it was and that I really needed something cold to drink, I had already drank a Coke Zero earilier and at least two tall glasses of Ice water , but nothing seemed to cool me down or quench that taste I had for something good and cold and refreshing at the same time,When all of a sudden Ciejay walked in and handed me a chilled , young coconut that the neighbor had given her and she had opened up the top and stuck in a straw and said " here honey try this I think you will like ", well I was ready for anthing cold and to my surprise , that was some of the best tasting ,cool juice I have ever tasted and when I had finished she gave me a small spoon and said for me to eat the meat inside , I said "get me the hammer to break the shell open first " Ciejay said "no honey , it's really soft and you can just take it out with the spoon . "I can not begin to tell you how surprise I was at not only how soft the meat was , but there are not good english words to describe how yummy and sweet tasting that meat from the YOUNG COCONUT was , you'll have to try it for yourself. I know some folks will have a hard time finding Young Coconut , but I think if you ask the local produce manager at the market where you shop to order some for you they will. Also you can always find them at a Asian or Mexican food store .
Below is some info I gathered from the web about coconuts and the great health value they can provide for lots of ailments we might have , I know that from now on I'll have a few cold ones in the frig. to grab when I need something cold and refreshing to drink ( I'm not going to give up my Coke Zero ) from time to time . Hope you'll give it a try too , let me know what you think .

Coconuts taste GREAT! Besides the incredibly amazing experience one can have when eating coconuts, there are many other reasons to eat this wonderful delicacy! In fact, the young coconut is one of the most important fruits within the tropics because of its potassium and mineral rich water.
Preferably, the water and meat from young coconuts is used as opposed to the meat of older coconuts which tends to be very hard (as well, older coconuts typically have less water...if any.)
Medicinal Value Besides being highly nutritious, young coconuts have also been exceedingly revered as having medicinal qualities for heart, liver and kidney disorders.
Coconut is a tropical fruit that is rich in protein. The meat of the coconut is very good in destroying intestinal parasites, that we get from eating infected food. Coconut water is good for kidney and urinary bladder problems.
Nutritive Values : Per 100 gm.
Vitamin A :
Vitamin B : Thiamine .10 mg.;
Riboflavin :
Niacin :
Vitamin C : 2 mg.
Calcium : 21 mg.
Iron : 2.0 mg.
Phosphorus : 98 mg.
Fat : 34.7 gm.
Carbohydrates : 14 gm.
Protein : 3.4 gm.
Calories : 359
Other Health Benefits of Coconut :
Prevents simple goiter (enlarged non-toxic thyroid) because of its organic iodine content.
Good body builder, so it is a food recommended for building up the body muscles of thin and emaciated individuals.
Constipation and for any build-up of gas in the stomach and intestinal tract.
Coconut milk has been found to help cases of sore throat as well as relieving stomach ulcers.
Coconut oil has been found to heal cuts, scratches, burns and sunburns.
The oil has also been recommended for facial massage and is reported to be good as a wrinkle remover.
Coconut oil is also good for the scalp and hair and makes hair dressing unnecessary.
Intake of at least 2 Tbsp. of Virgin coconut oil per day can lessen your Vitamin E requirement.
Coconut water is good for kidney and urinary bladder problems.as recently been reported to reduce the viral load of HIV. ( info from the www)

Before coming to Thailand , the only thing I knew about coconuts was that my dad us to draw faces on them to make them look like a monkey ,and that shredded coconut was good on a cake and that the milk was kind of sour and the meat was hard and also a lot of work to get it out of the shell . All that has changed and now that I am in the land of fruits and coconuts , I have learned how great coconuts and their milk and juice and coconut oil, are for your health and that the Thai cooks use them in hundreds of their dishes , there are many varities also, and each has it specific use in the Thai kitchens.
You can find lots of recipes on Golf's new blog http://www.awesomethaifood.com/ together her and Steve write the great blog called ThaiMusings, check them out, you'll find not only a lot of good Thai dishes to cook but , you'll enjoy all the other good stuff on the blog. Thanks for the read . Malcolm

Phuket Orchid Resort - Karon Beach

The Phuket Orchid Resort is located at Karon Beach, the entrance is on Luang Poh Chuang Road (also called Karon Bangla Road) about 2 minutes walk to the beach.. and just a few minutes walk to see me at Sunrise Divers! We see quite a few customers from Phuket Orchid. I walk past the hotel if I head down to the beach. I'd recommend the place for families or anyone wanting a conveniently located hotel, but on a quieter beach than Patong. Not ideal if you want a quiet romantic hotel - it has 500+ rooms, so it's not a small place, but well designed with lot of tropical gardens and (the biggest positive I can see in the reviews) - big, big swimming pools which wind around the grounds surrounded by plants, statues, waterfalls, rocks and bridges. Looks great.

I can also add that I know the former GM - his kids are in the same school as ours. So if you stay there and see John, please tell him Jamie recommended the Orchid. (update 2015 - he's managing a hotel in Khao Lak now.. but I still recommend the Orchid!)

Phuket Orchid Resort - Booking & Reviews

Phuket Orchid Resort - Rates and Reservations
Phuket Orchid Resort Reviews

Phuket Orchid Resort - Photos

Phuket Orchid Resort Phuket Orchid Resort Room

Phuket Orchid Resort Pool Phuket Orchid Resort Poolside Dining

Phuket Hotels - More Info & Online Booking

Jamie's Phuket Hotel Recommendations
Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2016
Book Phuket Hotels at Agoda.com

A Perfect Birthday Present (Ninja 650r) ...

Up and about at an earlier hour than is usual in our house.  All in preparation for my wife to drive me to the bus terminal.  My wife driving is unusual enough, even with me in the truck as copilot.  Today, however, she would be returning home without me.  That is something new.  Driving entirely alone was too much for her, so she brought her aunt to keep her company on the drive home.

Cloaked in riding gear, excitement and anticipation, I settled into my solitary seat by the window.  This after all, was the 24-seat green bus that runs between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, with two seats on the left side of the bus and one seat on the right.  The green bus has seen better days but is far roomier than the alternatives.  Earbuds soothed my soul with melodious tunes that seemed to magically emanate from deep in the center of my hairless head.  My eyes were treated to the wonderful panorama of village life and clear mountain views as my gaze was fixed on every detail of what lay on the other side of my morning, window on the world.

I found this experience unique in many ways.  First I was not driving, so was free to extend my gaze to whatever I wanted, for as long as I wanted.  I can’t recall the last time I took public transportation, so it all registered as oddly new.  Even the tourists were of a new and strange breed.  The couple sitting across the aisle from me was young, well dressed and decked out with iPhone, itinerary, (on Dusit Island Resort stationary), and a massive guide book with Thailand written in oversized letters across the top.

Backpackers, they were not.  It struck me, however, that they were not enjoying the view.  Their noses were buried in books, lists or gadgets.  Since what lay out side the window was not on some list, that needed checking off, it somehow seemed unworthy of a glance.  I found this very strange indeed.  Perhaps in the eyes of family and friends they were adventurers, out exploring the world and reporting back with pictures on Facebook.  To me they were simply missing the point of being in the moment and truly feeling or experiencing something new.

Living in such different worlds, I chose my view over any interaction with them.  Soon enough I was negotiating with a tuk-tuk driver to deliver me to my main destination.  Arriving at the Kawasaki dealer, the formalities of paperwork and the surrender of money, quickly ensued.  A friend of mine had ridden his bike over in the morning for a quick service and was waiting for my arrival in the comfort of his hotel room.

We met up for a purposeful break-in run on the ring roads around the city before returning to the shop for an oil and filter change.  The evening passed uneventfully, in terms of activities, but the company and conversation was stimulating and greatly appreciated.  A 6am start, had us heading home into a beautiful cloud mottled sunrise.  A true Kodak moment.

Eager to do right by my new Ninja 650r, and jonesing for my favorite caffeine fix, we made a couple of stops for cappuccino at conveniently located Amazon Coffee shops.  After one last stop, for breakfast in Chiang Rai, I was finally on my own and heading home.  Not sure how long this ear to ear smile will grace my otherwise uninteresting face but something tells me it is not going away anytime soon.

Oddly enough, I had always fancied myself cut more from the mold of a chopper or cruiser guy.  The Ninja 650 turned out to be more of a sport touring bike and strangely addictive.  Had my friend not insisted that I ride one his bikes, I would have remained blissfully ignorant.  At my age I’m not looking for track time and putting a knee down in the turns.  I do find this bike is uniquely suited to the amazing, twisty roads of Northern Thailand, however.  Quick, light, maneuverable and possessing an upright posture that I find more comfortable than a true sport-bike.  Far more comfortable than my Phantom which my wife had stipulated must be sold before I could get the Ninja.

With a new bike and an evenly matched riding companion, the months ahead can’t help but be filled with backroad adventure.  The goal being to have both me and the bike properly broken in and acclimated by the time the cool winter riding months are upon us.  Here is to enjoying life and keeping the shiny side up.



BUTTERFLY HAVEN

HONEY DEW DROP






I love this shot

caught in flight

a favorite shot from my yard

looks just like a butterfly----- from my yard


I loved this one

a little worn , but beautiful

Picture from www

Picture from my porch

my yard

my yard

my yard

my yard


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I know that almost everywhere has butterflys, but it seems like Whang Pho has more than its share of themm not just a lot of them , BUT a lot of different kind ,. In fact they were talking about building a huge Park with a Big dome and have it as a tourist attraction for our little village , we could certianly fill it up with lots of varieties from my yard .Just today I notice a lot of them while I was taking my afternoon hammock treatment and grabbed the cyber -shot and took a few pictures , even with a lot of them flying around , it's not as easy to take a snap as it looks , Here are a few that I did manage to get in focus, hope you enjoy.

I always love chasing butterflys when I was a little boy and have always loved seeing them in flight and around the flowers in our yard , there are millions of species, and they are in the same family as moths , which makes for even more. Do you have a lot of them around your place ? do you like them and do you do anything to attract them to your yard .

Ciejay and me have planted a year-round flowering tree or plant called a honey dew drop , it has small purple flowers and a orange berry that attracts the birds also , all the flying things love this plant .

The butterflys are not only beautiful and plentful but they are great food for the birds that I try to attract and water and feed in our yard we plant lots of flowers with a two -fold reason beauty and food and as a plus the butterflys pollinate, lots of other plants and are great for pollinating the garden, what with the pesticides and sprays killing a lot of the bees.

Hope you love them as much as I do and plant a flower just for them and they will come back every year to show you how much they appreciate you and do their little acrobat flying for you and show you their wonderful colors . Malcolm

We get to enjoy more of nature since we moved here to the LOS and I suppose that it's just another reason why we're Retired in Thailand and Loving It.

Aspery Hotel Patong Beach

I'm not a big fan of Patong Beach myself, though of course there are plenty of people who like the hustle and bustle, like the endless shops, the abundance of restaurants, the bars and girls and so on. Patong is the most developed 3km of tourist beach in Thailand. Any other beach in Phuket is quieter. BUT even if Patong is not my cup of tea, there are quite a few recommended Patong hotels on this blog. Not everyone wants to stay on a secluded beach - there are disadvantages to that too, mainly a lack of alternative places to eat and distance to attractions in Phuket. If you stay in Patong you can walk to 100 different restaurants, try a new place every day without having to take a tuk tuk. And if you like a bit of nightlife, Patong is the place to be. But you probably don't want to be staying right next to a bar.. don't worry, Patong is big enough to have quieter areas. The Aspery is only a 10 minute walk to Bangla Road, but is located in a quiet back street behind the main through road (Rat U Thid road).

The Aspery is a bargain, especially in low season (now!) - I see rates under 1000 Baht a night. You can often get good rates in Patong due to (I think) an over supply of rooms. And this is not a cheap guesthouse, Aspery has 70+ rooms, all with big LDC TV, internet access, plus there is a spa and a rooftop seaview pool! Some photos below. Looks to me like a decent inexpensive place to stay, close to the center of Patong, but also quiet. In the area of the hotel, you're close to the older sections of Patong which are more local, there are some good cheap places to eat nearby such as THE "kao man gai" place. If you walk up Sai Nam Yen road towards the temple, you find a quieter, more local Patong.

Aspery Hotel - Booking & Reviews

Aspery Hotel - Rates and Reservations at Agoda.com
Aspery Hotel Reviews
More Suggested Patong Beach Hotels

Aspery Hotel - Photos

Aspery Reception Aspery Rooftop Pool

Aspery Hotel Phuket Twin Room Aspery Double Room

Phuket Hotels - More Info & Online Booking

Jamie's Phuket Hotel Recommendations
Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2016
Book Phuket Hotels at Agoda.com

Let's skip to Malaysia and what happens when you take your bag to the pub

Quick update on the last two months: I went to the West coast of Australia for 10 days with Katy, spectacular scenery and thousands of kilometres of quiet highways. After that I spent two weeks running up the East coast partying on Fraser Island and the Whitsundays, all jolly good fun. Then it was 3 nights in Singapore where I booked a flight to Indonesia on a whim.

My two weeks in Indonesia were mental but a great experience, climbing up volcanoes and becoming a celebrity, playing football with some kids in a cliched comic relief styley even pulling my shirt over my head after my hat-trick and high fiving the players from both teams. Surreal.

Then I went to Borneo for a week and saw lots of cool animals including the Orang-utans and via Kuala Lumpur I got to the Perhentian islands where I had my bag nicked. I'll fill in some details of those other places soon but for now we'll fast forward to the Perhentian islands.
Inside my bag were my passport, my camera and worst of all my journals. I had also started writing a play called 'Why can't real life be more like Championship Manager' I suspect the theft was God's way of telling me the play was a terrible idea and he was saving me the hassle of finishing it.

Let's start with the policeman, because he was funny. Painfully frustrating, but funny. I needed a police report so that I could get a new passport and make an insurance claim so I got a water taxi around the island to the Fishing Village where the surprisingly well built police station is.
My water taxi man (Rico) was very helpful and when there was no-one at the station he found the copper for me, sat in a nearby cafe. The policeman wore a dirty brown polo shirt, glasses round a string on his neck and he had teeth that could sell a thousand toothbrushes - by scaring kids. The few teeth still attached to his gums were frightening and one in the middle seemed to be pointing at me wherever I was in the room. Thankfully he was friendly and with his limited English got me to fill in the blanks on the police report. I bottled claiming for a laptop, ipod and money, I think it was the all seeing tooth that made me feel guilty.
The policeman promised he would send my report to be processed on the mainland and bring me a copy the next day.
The next day came and went, then the day after that did the same. On Monday I got another water taxi to the village with Rico and found the police station locked and empty. Rico phoned some of the numbers on the door and told me someone would bring me the report at 1pm.
Back on the island I felt my first twinges of annoyance, I had planned to leave 3 days earlier but hadn't minded being stuck in paradise. Now I was ready to move on and wondered how long a new passport was going to take if a photocopy took 3 days.
At 1pm I was told I would get the report at 2.30 and at 2.30 I was told I had to go back to the station.
I've always believed that the friendlier you are the better the service you'll get but when the station was locked again my smile buggered off and went snorkeling. Luckily we bumped in to the policeman walking past and he showed me in to the station. Inside things went from frustrating to so unbearable my smile came back to have a laugh at my predicament.
Mr Policeman had apparently never seen me before, I suspect he had Alzheimer's because his ability to forget instantly what either of us had said was amazing.
After some awkward conversation I got over that I had made a report and he went to his reports folder to find mine.
'What's your name?' he asked
'Glyn Richards'
Some slow reading through the reports 'Ah here it is'
'No, that's not me that's a Swiss man called Eric'
'And you Swiss'
'No, English, from England, U.K.'
'Ah here it is'
'No this is a girl called Emily'
He pointed at the report 'England'
'Yes I see that but it's not my report, I'm not called Emily'
He read through some of Emily's report then went back to Eric's
'What's your name?'
'Gl-yn Ri-chards'
'Write it down please'
'good idea'
The folder only had 6 reports in it and I'd already seen that mine wasn't one of them. Deputy Dawg checked through the folder again and offered me the Swiss man's again. I wished I was the Swiss man.
'Where you stay?'
'Tropicana, where you said you'd bring the report on Saturday. Tropicana'
His face looked puzzled then lit up
'Oh yes Tropicana' He whacked his forehead with his palm 'Oh no, sorry I forget'
Finally we're getting somewhere
He went back and looked through the same folder
Okay, maybe not
Looking confused again he looked up and said 'And you stay in Bubu?'
I chose to laugh instead of cry 'Oh christ. No Tropicana'
I could go on.

The whole farce took about an hour. He eventually phoned the mainland who found their copy and faxed it through in a few minutes.
'See you soon' he said as I left
'I bloody well hope not'

THE DOCTOR -----IS IN

And at this window you get your MEDS
Get your blood pressure checked

and weight and height


pick up your records at the window

tell the nurse what ailes you and get assigned to the right Dr. and care for your problem


Sit amd wait till they call your name


If you have a dental problen you cane make a appointment to have work done , but if emergency there is a dentist on duty.


Don't worry they WILL call your name before the day is over .


After living in the LOS for almost 6 years I have come to relize that there are soooo many things that amaze me, and some amaze me more than others . The one think that really amazes me is the way the local hospital and clinics can take care of so many folks at one time.Making sure everyone sees the right Dr , and that noone is left behind. I remember in the USA that if there were more than 10 folks waiting to see the Dr. that day you might as well forget it , and most of the time you have to make a appointment weeks in advance just to get in , and sometimes to be told " Sorry the Dr, is booked solid for the next 3 months and then he is taking a month long vacation, can I make an appointment for you at that time ??"And so you call anoyther Dr. hoping you can get to see him or her and you are told " sorry the Dr. is not taking on any new patiences at this time" . It sounds like a joke , but this is real in the part of the country we lived in and , even if you had company insurance coverage , you still had to wait till there was an opening.If it is a real emergency , you could always go to the "Emergency Room" and wait sometimes for hours until a inter-Dr. or a Nurse would see if they could help you , if not ,they would make you an appointment to see a real Dr. next month maybe. And they would have to come and give you smelling salts after you fainted, when they handed you the bill for the Emergency Service and you saw how much ,and that had to be paid for NOW, and you said to yourself "was I really THAT sick "
I have noticed that this is not the case in Thailand , the Doctor is always in and they will take care of you to the best of their ability and if they can't help you, they will take you to the nearest hospital that can. This has been my experience here in the LOS. Ciejay has to go to the hospital every month, because she has had a valve replacement and she takes warfin to keep her blood thin to prevent a stroke, everytime we go the place is full of all kind of sick folks and the Dtr. and Nurses are sooo busy takeing care of them and I can see that they do it with a smile too, they are sooo good to Ciejay and noone in all of our Six years of going to the hospital in Kanchanaburi has she ever been mistreated, and not only Ciejay , but all the hundreds that are there and most with out an appointment and no calling ahead , and they are taken care of just the same , you may have to sit and wait your turn , but before the day is finished the DOCTOR will see you .
Thats just another one of the reasons why we are Retired in Thailand and Loving It.
Took a few pictures today while we were there you can see a little of what I'm talking about .

Things I lost in New Zealand

shaving Foam
jumper
sleeping bag liner
shower gel x 3
towels x 2
socks x 3 pairs (discarded cos they stank)
Herman
caps x 2
torch
one trouser leg
travel pillow
rough guide to New Zealand
hitch hiking virginity
the habit of taking my phone out and checking for texts when I'm sat on the bog
hatred of Americans

Bugger it

I've had my bag nicked with my journals in it. My memory is crap so the last two months of travels will not be blogged in very much detail I fear. I'm devastated, I loved those books. The sun is shining and I'm in paradise currently so things could be worse.

Anyways, I got to Sydney and checked in to a hostel, then ran down to the harbour to take my pictures of the bridge and opera house as I was only staying the one night before flying down to Melbourne. The hostel had organised a trip to a pub with a free beer. I think you can all guess how the rest of the evening pans out, among the people I met was Katy, a lovely girl with a softly spoken Welsh accent that made me weak at the knees. Katy was planning to go to the West coast of Australia for two weeks and from what I'd heard about the place I was half tempted to change my plans and stalk her. Having just forked out for the flights to Sydney and Melbourne however, meant that this was just a nice daydream.

Melbourne. What luck I was there at the time of the comedy festival.
I impressed myself by not missing the plane and went straight from my dorm to watch Tim Vine who, as always, made me piss myself. I love that man and he had yet another new set of one liners and daft songs. I followed that up with Arj Barker, based on an Aussies recommendation. Arj plays Dave the shop owner in Flight of the conchords, unfortunately his stand up was very average. Criminally he had a 2000 seat venue and Tim Vine only entertained 200 lucky punters each night.

Day two. In a couple of hours of walking I passed the MCG (100,000 seater cricket ground), the Rod Laver arena (home of the Australian Open), the Hisense Arena (Netball, yes thay actually get crowds you sexists), the Olympic park, another big stadium for Aussie rules football, a golf course and the F1 track. The people of Melbourne like their sport and for this I like the people of Melbourne.
My comedian o choice for the evening was Tim Key, sort of poetry with a running commentary, sounds shit but it was brilliant, up there with Vine.
Comparing Melbourne to Edinburgh, Edinburgh wins hands down, there are no late shows and the the listings fit on to one whiteboard where Edinburgh has a gert fat book for a programme. The real clincher came when I bought a beer and had to part with $8.50, nearly six quid. Perhaps that's why they all like their sports, you'd need to sell your car to have a night out.
Day three. Walked to St. Kilda, the beach part of Melbourne and coffee shop hang out for all the cool kids. The G-dawg did not fit in, I am rubbish at being cool. Whenever I pick a cafe I look out of place by trying to order at a counter when it's table service, then I fidget, scratch any insect bites and write in my journal*. If it ain't Wetherspoons I don't know how to act, but I do like a people watch.
The evening was the superb Pajama men, a silly double act, voted best of the festival 2009 who I would highly recommend.

*Every time I hear journal it brings a tear to my eye.