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……………

 

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