Saturday 27 December 2008
Dinner last night was a bit like that scene in Lord of the Rings, where they climb up an immense tree in Lothlorien to meet Galadriel and Celeborn. This was a long narrow ‘restaurant’ which wound upwards along the side of a cliff overhanging the beach. Viewed from the beach, the lights gave the impression you were going to be climbing up into the trees – quite beautiful. Again, a very homespun, simple affair, where no one spoke much English, and you’re never sure just what might turn up on your plate. Makes for interesting meals! The crews of the four boats had dinner together, excellent Thai food again.
Today we walked across the island to the other side, following a dirt trail that passed through several less salubrious resorts than the flash one on the beach, and several small groups of houses, similar to the Kampongs in Indonesia. Eventually it became a paved track, and took us past new kampongs being built to house people made homeless by the tsunami. One of these villages was right on the foreshore, and focused on restoring the fishing industry, using the skills of the local boat-builders to rebuild the fleet. A lot of the projects appear to be supported by European companies.
Dinner again tonight at the same restaurant, only this time we provided the fish to be cooked. Brad from Gwendolyn and Lex had bartered a mackerel off some passing fishermen on Christmas morning in case Pak had problems getting enough food, and then Brad caught a good-sized one himself the next day. So dinner was wonderful fresh mackerel, cooked two ways, and plates of stir fried vegetables and rice.
A lot of our time seems to be spent eating on this trip! Lunch today was the best Thai food I’ve had anywhere. Halfway along the track we found a little ‘café’ that proclaimed best ‘cheap cheap’ food, and cooking lessons. It had a wonderful breeze whipping through the tables and we were hot, so we sat down and ordered. It took a while to arrive because the cook was on her own and cooking every order from scratch, but was it ever worth the wait! She spoke reasonable English, and made sure she knew exactly what we wanted, and then produced excellent dishes. At the end of the meal she sat at the table with a calculator, and broke the bill down into the three families for payment, and made sure we were all happy with the amount. I hope she has lots of people come to her for cooking lessons. I’d love to go back there! Lex continues his worldwide search for the best Thai green chicken curry.