Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fun Thai-mes in Thailand

I recently booked a spontaneous trip to Thailand with a few schoolmates. One of our friends is returning to Pattaya, his home for the last seven years, and invited us over for a week of good eating, sun-bathing, boozing, general Thai-themed shenanigans, and a nice place to stay.

While it's been an interesting learning experience as far as traveling with four people you've only known for two-months or less (and who have completely opposite personalities...we've all admitted that we would not likely have become friends under different circumstances. It's like bad reality TV.), the trip has certainly not disappointed as far as the above criteria go. The highlights:

Good Eating
Of course, always a must!
  • Soups, always spicy: Lots of duck and pork noodle soups with more chili than I've probably consumed in the last year put together. Best tom yum kung and tom kha kai ever. Thais do such an amazing job combining salty, sweet, spicy, sour. Also firmly believe you can't go wrong with kaffir lime and coconut milk. 

  • So much street food (and by street sometimes I mean beach): pad thai, papaya salad, fried taro/tofu/corn, meringue cookies topped with shaved egg yolk, grilled/dried squid, roasted chicken.

  • Giant black scorpions! 
  • Such fresh seafood (there is something so beautiful about eating decadent seafood meals while staring out at the ocean): lemon whole fish, crab, prawns, scallop salads
  • Western food: I'm staying at a Swiss guy's house, so there's also been a fair share of steak and potatoes and tons of cheese plates with Parma ham and this special cured beef found in the mountains of Switzerland.
     Sun Bathing
    • Spent a night on the island of Koh Samet. Soft white sand. Clear water. Coconut in hand. Bliss.

    • Not my favorite part of the trip. Although, it consumed such a large part of the itinerary that I felt it deserved its own bullet point.

      General Thai-Themed Shenanigans
      • Rode on traditional motorized Bangkok bike/carriage taxis called "tuk tuks"
      • Picked up a backpacker on the boat back from Koh Samet and brought him to our friend's place in Pattaya. Showed him (yes, I quote) "one of the most interesting nights of my life."  
      • Women bathing in the middle of a bar. Oh, nightlife in Thailand.
      • Ping pong show. Because I have younger siblings with access to this blog, I'll just say there were ping pong balls, needles and balloons involved.
      • Purchased my entire spring/summer wardrobe at a traditional market. 6 shirts. 2 dresses. $30USD.
      • Tried to play polo, which mainly means riding in very slow circles on a horse while trying not to fall off.
      • Got in a motorcycle accident with a goofy-looking, stupid-hat-wearing, angry, Russian man on a four wheeler. Walked away with a small bruise/scar on my neck that looks like a hickey. Lame.
      • Dipped my feet in a fish tank to have my dead skin snacked on by Garra Rufa or "Doctor Fish." Fish=full. Feet=soft. Win-win.

      Nice Place to Stay
      • My friend lives in what is pretty much the Playboy mansion of Thailand (complete with stocked bar, nightclub, stripper poles, cigar room, multiple hot tubs, recording studio, theater, bowling alley, ocean view and nice Thai ladies bringing you fresh towels).
      • Such a change of pace from the hostel travel I'd become accustomed to. 
      • No complaints.