Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cha-Am Wrap Up

Although it was pretty hard to top our experience with the monkeys, Kung knew exactly where to go for us to have a very special treat (one of the benefits of traveling with a native Thai!)...
 
Mango & sticky rice is, quite possibly, one of the best desserts in the world.  I know Kevin would beg to differ since it does not contain any chocolate (and, in fact, has - GASP - fruit!) but it IS  amazing.  I wasn't exactly sold the first time I had it but it sort of grew on me and now I love it... if made correctly!    

Kung told us the woman in the first photo above has sold mango & sticky rice from her cart in the beach town of Hua Hin for 24 years.  Sticky rice (also called glutinous rice) is different from ordinary rice as it is shorter and becomes "sticky" when cooked. When sticky rice is cooked, it turns from white to translucent, whereas ordinary (long grain) rice does the reverse.  It is quite a time consuming process to make sticky rice.  The rice is soaked in water for several hours (overnight is best), drained and then steamed for twenty minutes or until it becomes translucent. Served warm with chilled fresh mango and a drizzle of a sweet coconut milk sauce, it is absolutely delicious!  In fact, we told Kung how much we liked it and, after we returned to Bangkok, she brought me mango & sticky rice for my lunch (and breakfast) for two days!   

On our way back to Cha-Am, we stopped at a temple that has the largest Buddha in Thailand.  
A pair of elaborately carved & decorated elephants flanked the steps leading up to the Buddha.
 


The kids walking up to the Buddha.
 
Lighting the incense sticks. 
 Offerings to Buddha.

 

 
 Applying gold leaf to a Buddha.

A full view of the Buddha, partially covered with golf leaf.
Another Buddha covered with gold leaf.
Offerings to Buddha.  These very beautiful and colorful floral strands are similar to leis and are sold throughout Thailand to be used as offerings at temples, spirit homes, etc.


 

 

  The boys.
The boys and the girl.
 
Kung told us good luck comes to those who toss coins into the openings above the elephant's tusks so, obviously, we did that!  
I have to say that for two boys who are very good baseball pitchers, there sure were a lot of coins that did not make it to the elephant!  

 
 
 
Random family photos.
 

 
 
 
 On our drive back to Cha-Am, we passed fields of pineapples...
And tapioca (known as cassava in Thailand).  We thought these were just swamp weeds...
 
We stopped at a floating market for lunch.  These vendors have their entire operation set up on their boat and just move along the canal or the river to where the business is.  Again, no refrigeration (or running water) but, "When in Rome..."


 
  Wherever you go in the world, there is always Coca-Cola!
So, those were the highlights of our trip.  Kevin did get a round of golf in at a very nice course with a friend from the Embassy.  We spent a lot of time reading by the pool and exploring Cha-Am.  As the weekend progressed, Cha-Am became very crowded but we never had to wait for a table or in a line.  Trying to navigate through the traffic in town was a nightmare so we walked or waited until the evening after the beach crowds left.  

Have a great Wednesday!  

1 comment:

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