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Recently I snuck out of the UK for a super-short, not-really-planned trip to… Thailand. Reason being: to surprise my Mom, who was on holiday there with my Dad and sister, and not expecting me to show up at all. Not the first time I’ve pulled this kind of trick, but the first time it involved flying half-way around the world!

Note: I’m still getting the hang of my new DSLR and am not 100% comfy with it yet, but it’s better than when I was testing it out in Greece already!

Note 2: You can click to enlarge pics, but they appear grainy – not the originals on my computer, but WordPress somehow doesn’t quite like something. X_X

I lived in Thailand for a couple of years when I was toddler (a long time ago) and visited it with my family many times after, although this my first return in more than a decade (my parents have been more recently and more regularly). In case you are wondering, the title of this post has very much to do with this. Although no one in my family really speaks Thai, we did permanently adopt some words, often food-related, which, between the four of us, we use, regardless of where we are. Like noina (a type of custard apple – no translation available), fallang (guava) and som-o (pomelo). Others, like saparot (pineapple), we use only when in Thailand, but not elsewhere. The most established family word we have is actually a Japanese one – oshibori, adopted thanks to some Japanese friends in Thailand. It’s a little hand towel, useful for carrying around in the tropics to wipe the sweat off your brow.

Anyhow…

We spent most time on Koh Chang, a small island that isn’t all that overrun by tourists (other places, like Pattaya and Phuket, which were lovely when we first lived in Asia, are unvisitable this point – unless you enjoy excessively touristy party towns that are more Western than Thai).

However, one of the first things I noticed in Koh Chang was this: DSC_0981

There was definitely no Tesco in Thailand ten years ago. *sigh* (That’s a British supermarket chain, in case it hasn’t yet invaded your country.)

It was also low season because of the monsoon:DSC_1002 DSC_1228

… although that I did not mind – I rather love monsoon. Or any rainy season (loved it in Costa Rica too).

We did get sunshine as well. Some beach-and-sea photos:DSC_1159DSC_0917 DSC_1383 DSC_1171

Other than hanging out on the beach, we did all kinds of things, usually heading out on a scooter, which is the best way to get around Koh Chang:DSC_1112

There were quite a few elephant camps on the island, so we had a look and fed them bananas. One baby elephant kept trying to balance on a small rock:DSC_1097

We stopped by a temple one day.DSC_1250

A little boy there was working on his moves to become a master chess player:

And I also snapped a monk:DSC_1262

Elsewhere, a little girl that was happy to be photographed – much in contrast to the children I encountered in Greece:DSC_1049

And in contrast to the children in India, who were also pretty happy to be in pictures, Thai kids often posed by making a V-sign or something of the sort:DSC_1523

Being by the beach, I had coconut every day – it’s one of my favourite things (agua de pipa we called it in Costa Rica). Here they were harvesting coconuts straight off the palm trees:DSC_1042

We also went to a fishing village, a picturesque place where many souvenirs can be bought, like sea shell mobiles:DSC_1431

A woman was making these coconut thingies – I took lots of pictures, which she didn’t appreciate (because I didn’t buy anything from her, I think):DSC_1426

This family was much happier to be in front of my lens:DSC_1471

This mom kept encouraging her child to look at me when she noticed that I was taking snapshots of her wee one:DSC_1436

Pretty houses on the water too (these were private):DSC_1476

One place where we ate on most days was a beach-side restaurant with two adorable puppies, some Siamese cats and Rosa the pig. Rosa did have her own little enclosure, but most of the time she just wandered around, throwing over chairs, digging herself a cool spot underneath a table or sniffing behind the counter – whatever pleased her the most. She was clearly the boss, but who would want to get in the way of a pig that size? I do think many customers returned to the place because of the little zoo that came with it, certainly that’s why we did. DSC_1370-2

Elsewhere, a roti stand at night – that’s a popular Thai snack. It’s a thin pancake and usually served with condensed milk poured over it. I didn’t have any, but I do remember eating them as a child, always by the beach and at night:DSC_0997

Thailand isn’t the easiest place to eat veg food, but we came across a resort, set up by USAmericans, which specialised in raw, vegetarian and vegan food in their little restaurant (they served meat also, focusing very much on whole and healthy ingredients). Sometimes these kind of places have too much of a granola-eating-yoga-hippie vibe for me, but the resort was actually pretty nice and their food excellent.

I had Thai noodle soup with tofu (plus a shared appetizer of Vietnamese rice paper rolls and a raw coconut-mango flan as dessert):DSC_1299

Below, that’s my Mom’s fried rice with chicken, my sister’s steamed pumpkin with butter and the rice paper rolls. (My Dad didn’t order anything, because he knows that I never finish a dish and the others often don’t either.)

That’s Koh Chang for you. Bangkok pictures to come. :-)