teisipäev, 19. juuni 2018

Food diary

Already two weeks I've been thinking that I should write here something, because checking the statistics in Blogger, it tells me that there are still few loyal readers left. What do you do in this blog, abandoned for weeks, will probably remain an unsolved mystery for me.

So I thought of uploading the morning views, I have been taking since first of march this year. But as you can see on the pictures, not much variety there either.

My Click & Grow that I switched on at Easter, has become considerable allotment garden. Already now I can pick some tomatoes (three out of six are red) from my book shelf and soon hopefully also some wild berries (three blossoms!). So, for the last two weeks every day I've been going to the store tomorrow to get some soil and plant the basil in some less innovative pot and fill the clicking hole with cilantro or chili. As you can see from the picture, tomorrow is not here yet. But that day will dawn and take my gardening to the next dimension. Luunja and Laheotsa farms, be prepared!

Kika asked few weeks ago, if I'd like to write down everything I eat during a week. No problem, I thought, how long can it take to write down those three things, I thought I eat. I was under the illusion that I eat like a catwalk model during her career peak and my bathroom scale is just broken and shows me numbers suitable for Peppa the Pig, not Kate Moss. After the first week, it was clear that local and neighbouring countries' candy and chocolate factories are still in business only thanks to my contribution. Starting day 3 I didn't even bother writing down each sweet and wrote as amount just "a lot". During the second week I crossed off all sweets with added sugar and am eating only below the cross now. Still haven't brought the scale to repair.

kolmapäev, 30. mai 2018

Delicious Thailand. Deja Moo 2018

Also known as "I've seen that BS before". Like I thought, the 5AM didn't arrive at 6:30 in the airport, like the concerned Thais were warning us, but 5:52AM. There was one person in front of us in the passport control, so we had been through all the procedures by the time we could have actually taken the seat in the minivan. And there was 2hrs50min until departure. We filled the time very meaningfully, i.e. with huge coffee and chocolate croissant.

10,5 hour flight was mainly uneventful, I watched three movies and gained all the lost weight back with Finnair pasta.

teisipäev, 29. mai 2018

Delicious Thailand. Deja Moo

Having had cultural, religious, authentic and rustic experience as well as arrogant Thais, Chinese market and pouring rain, we decided to have an airconned shopping day in one of the huge shopping centers. And chose the same Siam center, where we just were on Sunday. 

But first things first. While enjoying our breakfast we saw locals disappearing behind a wall. We set the bill and decided to check it out. Few minutes later we found ourselves in a quiet and lush temple yard that was also used as drive-thru and parking lot. We checked out the temple and stopped in our room to start our way to bus stop and shopping mall after that. We had just reached the hotel lobby when within 10 seconds the blue sky turned into pouring rain. Waited for 45 minutes and the rain was over and streets started to dry. 

Next hour can by called as shoestring tourism at its best. The bus to the shopping mall did cost 19 cents. We had already on Sunday noticed the pop-up center of Samsung and we stopped in there now too. As it was, we could try on the 4D glasses incl roller-coaster and killing some monsters for free. They also offered some skiing simulation for free. And after filling out a form and providing them with your contact data we got a shopping bag, some stickers and free Stardust drink. Saving and entertainment at its best. But from there there were no more shoestrings, because we had decided to have lunch in the food court of the luxury brands' shopping center. I paid 5.50 EUR for the tiniest quesadillas ever made in the world. And I had craved Uncle Tetsu's (or any for that matter) Japanese cheesecake since my last trip to Bangkok, so I made sure to find the right stand this time and buy one for another 4.50 EUR. One lunch ending up costing about the same as my usual daily food budget.

We took the bus and went back to the hotel. On the way we also booked the shuttle for tomorrow to go to the airport. Once again we ended up in a discussion with locals, what's the appropriate time to leave. My bets were on 6am, but once again they managed to talk me into taking the shuttle an hour earlier, if I'd like to see Europe tomorrow. No need to walk on the edge. Well, we'll see tomorrow. 

For dinner we got the long waited sticky rice and mango and went to bed at 9pm to be able to get up at 4am. Thanks to the concern of Thais.

esmaspäev, 28. mai 2018

Delicious Thailand. Shoestring tourists

After getting up in the morning we went to check out the pool and to breakfast after that. I took pouched eggs that looked like just two raw egg yolks on top of some kind of egg white mess. I didn't even want to take a picture of them, that's how sad they looked. After a short trip back to our room we went out for a more sophisticated cultural and religios day. We had planned to visit few wats (temples) nearby, one of them being Golden Mountain Temple. In our 'hood they were still dealing with the remnants of last nights parties and cleaning the streets with washing powder and water. We had barely reached the first traffic light when a Thai "teacher" from the school across the street (why is he  hanging out on the streets at 10am on a weekday instead of teaching, we didn't ask) approached us and asked where we're going. His eyes got round and he told us that on Monday our target wat will be opened at 1PM and we could take a boat trip instead. We must have looked not convinced so he repeated that he's a teacher, see, from that school over there, not just some random tuktuk driver. We still wanted to walk to the temple and he even got somewhat angry that we waste our day instead of going to the boat trip. On Monday all the canals are even open and everything. But sowjet schooled ladies shoved the Thai plans aside and went to the temple that, what a surprise! was open since 7 am. We walked all the 344 steps up and then all the 344 steps down after enjoying some great views from top. Had some lunch after and returned to our hotel.

The boat trip chat had raised some interest in us tho, so I googled river cruise options. First I found some comments from fellow tourists, where they mentioned a Thai teacher, who had recommended them to go to a boat trip and then sold them an expensive one hour boat trip. While the usual price for three people is appr. 20 EUR, mentioned teacher cashed in 80 EUR for one. We patted ourselves on shoulder for not falling for that scam. Secondly I found some hop-on-hop-off tourist boats. You get a dayticket for 5 EUR and hop on or off whereever you want. Or whereever there is a pier. Third I found a local boat that operates as public transportation and where one ride costs appr. 40 cents. So we went to the pier with the plan to take the local boat to Wat Arun (the temple that Finally, on my 5th trip to Bangkok is not under renovation anymore!). On the pier we were heavily approached by a Thai lady, who wanted to sell us tourist boat. Hearing that we plan on taking the local boat, she said that the next one is coming at 4pm (it was 2pm at the moment). Since I had read that the local boats come every 20 minutes, I told the lady that no worries, we have time. She must have thought that we didn't understand when she told us that the local boat is basically not coming anymore and offered us the expensive tourist trap again. And what a surprise, in 10 minutes the local boat arrived and the people were shoved in. Few more pats on the shoulder.

The ride to Wat Arun took around ten minutes and during that time the lovely summer day turned into a summer day where water poured from up and down. We arrived to the temple soaking wet and won all the wet t-shirt competitions there. Since the rain soon finished, we continued our sightseeing trip and took the local boat to the flower market. Imagining rows and rows of beautiful smelling roses, orchids and other flowers... Turned out, 80% of the market was full of yellow chrysantemum blossoms in plastic bags, being turned into gifts for Buddha.

We continued our trip and started walking towards Chinatown. There was also a nice temple on the way, we checked out and found a crocodile pond in the yard. Little pond with small fence right in the center of the yard, under some trees. Hosting at least four crocodiles. Chinatown itself was surrounded by blocks and blocks of market full of all kind of cheap chinese origin crap. It took us at least half an hour and lot of patience to get just through it. Since I had no illusion about chinese having learned some table manners of improved their cooking skills, we decided not to risk it and took the tuktuk back to our hotel.

Helena went to the massage, I walked up to our rooftop pool. For the dinner we had fixed plan to eat sticky rice and mango, but since it felt that we should eat something fresh before that too, we went to a restaurant and ordered fruit plate. That fruit plate had at least one kilo of pineapple, banana and watermelon on it and after finishing those we didn't really feel like sticky rice anymore. Tomorrow...

pühapäev, 27. mai 2018

Good Morning, Vietnam! About efficiency

The lady of the house said goodbye to us yesterday, because today at 9am when the taxi she called us, was supposed to pick us up, she was in school for the parents meeting. Obviously she has more unreasonable belief in vietnamese accurateness than we did, because when she returned at 9:15, we were still there. Anyway, at some point before 9:30 the car pulled in and appr. at 10am we were in the airport. As it turned out, 2 hours prior departure was fairly last minute considering the non-efficiency of the Vietnamese. There were three counters opened for Bangkok flight: check-in (we had checked in online), luggage drop off (we had none) and document check. That's what we needed. There was exactly one couple in front of me, with huge amount of luggage. Dealing with their check in took 10 minutes and already it was my turn. By that time there were three long lines waiting and it didn't seem that any of them was concerned about standing in correct line. Also to the passport check people were let in in small groups.

Still remembering the cheap prices in Hanoi airport, we had planned to have lunch before boarding, but the airport restaurants had other plans. Croissant with two slices of tomato and mozzarella was 6.50 USD. We had french fries in Burger King. We actually also had a gourmet trip planned last night, but it didn't really worked like planned. I had read on an more or less official Hoi An web page that if you haven't eaten grilled rice papers and mango cakes, you haven't been to Hoi An. So we went to the island, where there was supposed to be lots of the mentioned rice paper. What wasn't there, was the rice paper. We had some french fries. Back on the better known streets I got that highly praised mango cake, which turned out to be tasteless gluey thing. So much of the authentic gourmet.

In Bangkok we asked in the information, where does the bus go to town. According to the information by Exit 6. There we were, standing in the bus stop by Exit 6 until one moment our bus No A4 was just driving past us. A4, apparently doesn't stop in the bus stop by Exit 6, but randomly by Exit 4. Next A4 departed half an hour later. At least it wasn't cold to wait there.

We had planned visiting Unicorn Cafe and later some shopping for tonight. We started with the cafe. Since 25 cake layers speak more than 1000 words, look at the pictures. We visited Thann and Uniqlo in Siam and went to the bus stop to get back to the hotel. After half an hour there was the bus and another half an hour later we were in the hotel.

laupäev, 26. mai 2018

Good Morning, Vietnam! Experts have spoken

Racist has spoken (see Helena's comment in yesterday's post), the customer service critic will have a word now (Gaili, the expert). Even the most critical tourist (to be precise tho, it's constructive critics!) can understand that each country has it's own rules and habits. And if Vietnamese sales persons would have sales in their blood, that's how it should be taken. However, I've yet to see that they treat locals like long lost relatives. Tourists don't even have to slow down when they already get called to taste some gourmet or buy some souvenirs. And should you actually stop to check a menu, you can be sure that there will be one waitress turning the pages for you and reading the menu out loud for you and another one behind you ready to tackle you down the second you try to run. If you ask for a price of something, they first want to know, how many items you want to buy. Well, how many skirts can one tourist buy? If you go to grocery store and want to know the price of a water, they don't tell you the price, but jump up, go to the fridge, bring it to you and tell the price then. Instead of just telling the price. Despite having a whole crew of a restaurant just for you while you study the menu, turning the pages for you, reading it to you and promising you heaven on eat, everything changes the second you have a seat. Nobody cares. Today we waited an hour for our french fries.

I do have to add something to a recent, somewhat critical post. We happened to chat with the lady of the house today and it turned out, she's not the owner, but managing director also known as jack of all trades here. She's responsible for all the check-in-check-out (besides us, there is only one room occupied at the moment), cleaning (she's bringing us fresh towels and brings out the trash daily) and well, EVERYTHING! Anyway, she lives onsite and is slaving her bodypart off for 7 days a week. Doing all the things I just mentioned. Her son, the one, lying on the couch all day, is Henry. 12 years old, going to 6th grade and is the second best in his class. Wakes up 5:30 every morning and goes to school that is in the town (I do hope, not walking). I hope, I've brought justice to the topic and it's clear that there are hardworking people here, not some lazy bodyparts.

Today, btw, we started with going to the beach. We went especially early, but turned out there were more sleepless people trying to beat the crowds. The sky was cloudy and looked like rain coming in. Half an hour later the sun was shining bright and kept shining until it was time to set. We decided to skip lunch and go to town. Helena had ordered one more bag and that one needed to be picked up. We ate some rolled ice cream on the night market and took the taxi back to the hotel.