Lazy Days……………..Hazy Daze

The leisurely and extremely lazy days that I have been spending in Khanom are drawing to an end; next week I will be leaving here with Yada and her family to drive her car to Sakon Nakhon in the north east of Thailand………..we will then make a trip of 5 or 6 days into Laos before I return to Bangkok on 16th April for my return flight to Heathrow the following day ……………

I have spent many days swimming and lazing around the pool of the Rachakiri hotel: I usually take fruit there for lunch, that Yada kindly supplies me with………..above, one of the beautiful and very sweet pineapples that she bought for me, and below an even sweeter water melon………..one of the additional pleasures is having the time to prepare the fruit that you are about to enjoy; though it must be said that I exhausted all my artistic flair on the pineapple, so my preparation and subsequent consumption of the watermelon was a far more rudimentary affair…………

 

Above, a lovely small temple that is near my hotel………..and below, it’s crematorium……

 

The lovely pool and sun terrace are never busy, but today I had the whole place to myself…………..well, almost…………see below

This little fellow makes an appearance everyday, climbing up to the terrace from the rocks below……………..today, however, we had a much larger intruder as you can see below

………..at least 4 foot long, I knew he had caught me off guard when I realised that I was standing on my sun-bed……………..with the left side of my brain telling me that they only eat insects and the right side of my brain asking me why then does he appear to have about two hundred teeth !!

………..this little fellow didn’t hang around either, he was straight over the edge of the terrace…………………

My good buddy Nick posted this photo of a tee-shirt on his Facebook timeline, and I’m sure that he won’t mind me sharing it with my blog audience…………as I said to Nick at the  time, much as I love it, I would never have the courage to wear it……………..based on the sweeping generalisation that most football fans, unlike rugby fans, do not have a sense of humour, when it comes to their sacred sport

 

Above and below…………………you know that you have reached chill factor ten, when you lie on your sun-bed and, not content with gazing at cloud formations, you start photographing them

He turns Imagine up loud…………he knows that face in the cloud    (^∆^)

oh, and you get quite excited when you find a frangipani tree with pink blossoms (most of them are white – see below)

and, above and below……you know you have too much time on your hands when you start playing with the settings on your compact camera, trying to create depth of field bokeh, just to see if you can achieve it with a compact…………….you can (*∆^)

 

Khao Lam……………… Island Temple ……………….and Pink Dolphins

I have spent some lovely (and educational) days with Yada at weekends when she is not teaching…………………..

Above………….I drove her car to this lovely beach where we spent a few hours and then had lunch at a beachside restaurant (below)

Returning from the beach, much to my delight, we met the “Surat Thani Vespa Club” who had parked their scooters under the shade of some trees to take a break on their day ride-out

 

Beautiful “sixties” Vespa 150…………..resplendent in its metallic silver livery, complete with white-wall tyres………….

Above………….a typical vista of the region, a rice field with a backdrop of palms; this was close to a water-melon farm that Yada took me to visit………..

………the melons appear to grow randomly all over this large field…………

………some of the melons weigh in excess of ten kilos, and produce a beautiful tiny and delicate flower as they are growing…………..

 

……..above and below, another mystery was solved for me; the farm also grows these sturdy palms that I had seen so many of in the region………..Yada explained that they are oil-palms, grown for the oil that is derived from their fruit………….she tells me that this oil is used in countless food products and also in the production of biodiesel………….

 

On Sunday we drove to this fishing village, where we negotiated for a local fisherman to take us out in search of pink dolphins……………

There are many limestone islands that rise very steeply out of the sea in the area around Khanom, with many dwellings clinging to the side of the sheer rock-faces………..

We were lucky to get some good sightings of several pink dolphins, I have seen many grey dolphins before, but never any pink ones………..and I had my suspicions that for commercial reasons, artistic licence had hijacked their colour description………..but they really are pink, as my badly focussed, zoom lens photo below will show……..anyone that has stood in a small boat, spinning themselves round like a drunken carrousel trying to get a good shot of an elusive dolphin will appreciate the difficulty………….

 

 

above and below………….the fisherman took us to a tiny uninhabited island, more like a huge steep rock than an island; where much to Yada’s delight, there is a small temple at the top……………so we climbed the fifty or so extremely steep steps to the summit, where we lit incense sticks, made a donation to the temple fund and Yada offered prayers………..

 

Khao Lam…………….below

………………..on our way back from one of our day trips, Yada wanted to introduce me to Khao lam, which is sticky rice mixed with coconut cream and a little sugar, before being stuffed into bamboo tubes, sealed and slowly cooked over charcoal…………….

 

……….above, after being cooked, the tough outside part of the bamboo is skilfully trimmed off by machete, leaving the softer and more flexible inner part that you can peel back by hand when you are ready to eat…………

……….and below…………………….. Yada choosing our goodies from the charcoal-stained lady running the stall………………..the amount of work and the time consumed that are involved in this process, could, understandably, never find a place in the modern world, so it is great to see this old traditional way of producing what is essentially, just a snack, thriving and being appreciated and patronised by the local community………………..I guess it’s a community where time does not yet have a gun in its hand…………….

 

………..above and below, Khao lam is usually made from white rice, but if you are lucky, as we were, they sometimes have some of the rarer black rice……………this wonderful food is then called Khao Neow Dam……………..once you have peeled back a sufficient amount of bamboo, you tease out the mixture with your fingers and thumb………….oh yum yum yum……………this is seriously delicious……………

 

Still In Khanom………………

I am still relaxing in the seaside town of Khanom; well, to be more accurate I am about 7 kilometres south of khanom, where I am ensconced in this lovely little hotel called the Khanommaroc, which you will notice is very unusually named and designed, considering its geographical location………..I have just negotiated another week here at a slightly reduced rate and I am now paying £20.50 per day for my room, breakfast and the hire of the scooter……………happy days !!

….above and below, the Khanonmaroc hotel and its lovely garden, where you can easily imagine that you are just a taxi ride away from Marrakech, until a large serving of Thai mangos and papayas are placed in front of you for breakfast, and your internal sat-nav formats itself back to Thai factory setting…………..

……….below, a few days ago I set out for the day on the scooter and discovered a couple of beautiful and deserted beaches the other side of Khanom to where I am staying…….

………..above, I came across this small fishing village that sits roughly in-between the two lovely beaches that I discovered………..and below, this fisherman wanted to take me out in his long-tail boat to see pink dolphins; they are prolific in this area and I have even seen a couple of them already from the shoreline…………but Yada and I have already planned to make such an excursion one weekend when she is not working…………

………above, the track leading down to the second and totally deserted beach that I found……and below, the beach that it leads to………….

WHY, OH WHY DO THEY DO IT <<<>>> below, immediately behind this stunningly beautiful beach, the calling card of mankind………..this is obviously a conscious act, something they thought about and maybe even discussed, because the litter has all been left in the same place………..like, as if that makes it okay…………. you can almost imagine the conversation “shall we take it with us……no, but let’s leave a tidy mess”……….can’t even blame the tourists, this vulgar mess has been left by local people, it is easy to tell from what is there………..if it were Johnny foreigner, there would be empty tins of John West dolphin friendly tuna, crisp packets and lots of beer cans………….I just find it really sad that having chosen to have a picnic there because they recognised the unspoilt beauty of the location, they then thank mother nature by kicking her in the teeth…………rant over (^∆^)

 

above and below, this region like so much of southern Thailand has many plantations of rubber trees………………………..

and elsewhere you find these wonderful low rise palms, that have large central trunks and a huge fan of palm leaves……………

………almost back to my hotel, a small track leading down to my local beach, with a nice splash of colour