I took the Mini Bus to Hua Hin on Wednesday and arrived at about 3pm. After some initial misunderstanding, which Chollada cleared up over the phone, I got settled into my room and headed to find the ocean. I got there, but it wasn't the prettiest area because I was just aimlessly walking in the direction I knew the ocean was, and not towards a particular beach. I checked it out for a while and headed back to the hotel. I got an iced coffee-without milk by accident because I thought he said "With meal?" not "With milk? Oops, I bought some milk at 7-11 because it was weird without it. When it got dark I headed to the night market for dinner. I had Chicken with cashew nuts and a large Chang beer. Then I had a rotee with Nutella for dessert. This is sort of like a crepe, but it is made out of a dough stretched thin rather than a batter. I went to a bar at the market and had a few drinks. I struck up conversation with an older couple: a retired Australian surgeon and his 44 year old Thai lady friend (although she called him her husband). They seemed friendly enough and we went with a young English couple to a "discotheque" which was actually a weird Western themed bar with a live band that was not the great. The drinks were overpriced and the music too loud, and the old couple got ever creepier as they got more drunk, so the English couple and I departed because we were beginning to think this weird couple were swingers. So that was an experience, hopefully not to be repeated.
first view of the ocean
Nutella rotee and Mojito!
The next day I slept in, had a chocolate croissant and some bread from the bakery across the street for breakfast, and headed to the beach. I read a lot and applied liberal sunscreen because I know how pale I am. I swam in the ocean; bathwater. I ended up getting absolutely fried despite my precautions. My upper back was the worst due to issues reaching that area with sunscreen by myself. I had pizza for dinner-yum! I went to bed early exhausted from all the sun.
Friday morning I woke up, had breakfast at the hotel and hung out poolside for awhile. At about noon I went and got lunch and then headed to the beach. I stayed mostly in the shade, besides about 15-20 minutes of swimming. Still I got more burned, even though today I was even more careful about the sunscreen application. I can't win. I went to the night market for dinner again and I met a friend! A girl named Luka from Belgium. She is also on "vacation" from her internship at a hotel in Pattaya. So after dinner we went to a bar and people watched and talked.
Saturday Luka came over to hang out at the pool because she, like I, was sick of the warmness of the ocean and the pools are slightly cooler. Chollada and her friend finally arrived at about 6pm after a battle with Traffic. Everyone was headed out of the city for the long weekend. It was obvious because during the week Hua Hin had been empty, but around Saturday afternoon it slowly started to fill up and by the time they arrived parking was impossible! Here people leave their cars in neutral when they park sometimes so that their car can be pushed out the the way when it is blocking someone else's. We went to a seafood restaurant outside the city for dinner, it was very good. I am becoming a big fan of squid, but am getting turned off to crab, it usually has bits of exoskeleton mixed in which makes it annoying to eat.
Sunday we had breakfast at the hotel and then headed to King Rama VI's palace by the ocean. It was a pretty place. Afterward we went to one of the main tourist spots for Thai people-not foreigners, so I was the only white person there. It is like a permanent carnival. It was kind of cute. We had salmon fried rice filled egg balls for lunch and I had a Hong Kong waffle for dessert. For dinner we went to the Cicada market, which is a night market only open on the weekend. It was much nicer than the downtown night market. We had dinner there and then walked around and looked at all the market vendors. My favorite part was looking at the paintings-made me want to paint something. At one stand, I picked up what I thought was a keychain, it turned out to be a giant beetle climbing on a keychain, it was pretty funny when I realized it was alive. We went to a bar afterward. The bar was cool, nice decor, a good live band, yummy European beer, but it was pretty boring. Chollada's friend was on her phone the whole time and it was a bit too loud to talk much with Chollada.
egg fried rice balls
Hong Kong waffle
Monday after breakfast we left Hua Hin, Chollada and Ben never having stepped foot on the beach. Western and Thai images of an ideal beach getaway vacation are very different, mostly because Thai people hate getting a tan. We stopped at the Damnoen Sauak floating market on the way home. It was winding down because it was after noon, but it was still pretty cool. When we got back to Bangkok we met Chollada's family for Pizza Hut. Thai pizza hut sizes are very different-I could easily consume an entire medium pizza.
Tuesday and Wednesday were lazy days, which I needed. I spent Thursday in the city again. This time I went to the Dusit Zoo! It was so great! I got there early and it was feeding time for the monkeys. I seriously fell in love with Douc Langurs. They are extremely endangered and absolutely beautiful. The zoo has a seemingly very successful breeding program; there were babies everywhere! The rest of the zoo was great also. I got to hear three different species of gibbon call; all very different. I also saw the seal show, which was cute. After the zoo I went to the huge teak Vimanmek mansion. It was pretty much what you expect from an old mansion turned museum. I met Chollada for dinner and afterwards we went to the Purr Cat Cafe; a cafe with cats roaming around everywhere. Sort of weird. The cats aren't incredibly friendly, as most cats would be if forced to live in a place where strangers showed up every day and took pictures of them. It made me miss Tori and Oreo.
Red-shanked Douc Langur
pond at the zoo and fancy building
Bin Laden the giraffe-seriously, not sure its a sick joke or what, he was born October 2001
Whew, that was a lot. Now I am back at the IMM fusion hotel where this "vacation" began. Heading back to Khao Yai tomorrow and I could not be happier. Time for dinner, hopefully pizza at Limoncello's Pizzeria on Sukhumvit Soi 11. Let's see if I can find it.