Friday 27 October 2006 – Ao Nang, Krabi Province, Thailand
After breakfast (American style, with eggs, bacon, toast and little croissants) at the hotel, I booked my bus ticket back to Phuket Town for Sunday, plus some activities including a cooking class for this afternoon.
Then the pressure of passing all those tailor shops got to me and I went into one, Europa Tailors, and ordered a linen suit(!) and a cashmere pea coat, plus a short that is likely to only come out on fancy dress occasions. Walked to both ends of Ao Nang Bay before taking a swim.
Miss Ya, the cooking teacher, was quite a character. Solid and stocky, she was the queen of ‘chop chop, bang bang’. Her standard measure when pouring any ingredient from a bottle was ‘big chug-chug’. We made bang bang, chop chop and were soon mixing up curry pastes, curries, stir fries and soups. She said she cooked Bangkok style as that is where she studied, meaning her food was not as spicy as here in the south. However the techniques can be adapted, as can the recipes.
Again we were a diverse group – one Indian (as in the subcontinent) from Oklahoma, two Canadian women, Kathy and Marion (Kathy had retired as a teacher and now lives in Krabi), Liesl, a South African on her honeymoon and a handsome couple from Denmark who had been studying at the University of Hawaii and were now holidaying on their way home.
The kitchen was in a large open-sided pavilion which allowed cool breezes to pass by but kept the afternoon downpour off. A pleasant afternoon and a good grounding for a dinner party. It did surprise me how little most of the other participants seemed to know of Thai ingredients – even basics such as palm sugar and fish sauce. Miss Ya did not tackle condiments, but was disparaging about tomato ketchup, which is becoming ubiquitous on Thai tables, and apparently not just those of tourists! I need to search out Thai style soya bean past – a little like vegemite and different from the Chinese version due to the addition of chillies and spices.
Arrived back at the hotel on dusk and went for a long walk along Ao Nang and around to the next beach, almost to where we’d landed on arrival.
About half way along the beach stood a huge new building in traditional style. I’d noticed it from the ferry – around five floors plus soaring Thai style gables put it well above the trees, and thought it might be a religious building or monastery. Close up, in the dark, it was clearly not open for business – very few lights on and no landscaping work had been done. A sign at its driveway “Surprise Resort” revealed its true purpose. However it looked like the money had run out, or some such catastrophe had befallen the project.
Development has started along this beach, but the few down-market places that were open looked very lonely. However Krabi is clearly on the rise and a new Thai destination so I’m sure that it is only a matter of time before it is bustling.
I called in at Europa Tailors for my fitting – it all looks like sacks, but it was only just at first assembly stage. Then back to Potjawon’s Place for dinner. The red beef curry was delicious and the larb OK, although the duck was perhaps slightly gamey for my taste.