Hot on the Tourist Trail

While it is too hot to do much during the daytime, we feel obliged to take a few excursions, so an evening trip out to Bhoput, an alleged ‘fishing village’ seems manageable.

It is clear when we arrive that ‘fishing village’ is not such an accurate description for Bhoput, whose lanes are not only teeming with tourists but lined both sides of each and every street with stalls selling every kind of touristy object imaginable [plus many unimaginable items]. Amongst all of this rampant commerce there is little sign of the historic buildings and character we were promised, but we are not unhappy, since the broad sweep of bay is beautiful and the many restaurants offer a mouth-watering range of fish and seafood dishes, which is what we are after.

Towards the end of a food stall street, where stallholders are fanning their wares to ward off flies, an open air bar beckons. It’s flanked by a beautiful shrine adorned with shrubs and flowers.

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Shrines are everywhere-and sometimes in the middle of nowhere. Along one country lane many of them have ladders leading up to the platform and I’m curious as to why. Perhaps it’s ease of access? They are also decked with offerings-drinks, objects, flowers and food items

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Of course amongst the food stalls there are the customary deep-fried insects.

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While this may well be the future of protein for world nutrition we’re not tempted to snack on crunchy crustacea right this moment. Instead we peruse the plethora of fish and seafood restaurants that overlook the bay and I remember that it is, in fact Valentine’s Day. So as we settle into a table with a view over the sea, tables are filling up along the beach, too.

We choose a seafood starter to share, the calamari soft and not at all chewy [as it mostly is] then grilled fish with salad and corn. The sky grows dark as a boat with red sails glides out to sea, lit up, a Valentine’s party perhaps?

We decide we’ve probably done Bhoput and go to meet our taxi.

A walk around the backstreets of our area takes us through more market stalls and then we stumble upon a large Tesco department store. We’ve seen plenty of ‘Tesco Lotus Express’ outlets but this is the first large store we’ve spotted. Intrigued, we go inside [we’re still after coffee-making equipment after all]. In the entrance there are smaller shops with gifts and a lurid play area.

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The store is familiar and yet strange, but after an extensive search we find a coffee filter. It is disorientating to wander a supermarket that is so well-known to us at home and see the range of products so unfamiliar to us, like stepping into the bathtub and finding it full of Cherryade.

On the return we stop to look at the local temple, modestly situated on a corner at the top of town and a kind of oasis away from the teeming streets. We have yet to look at any more of Koh Samui but the weather feels too hot for traipsing around. There are, however a few days left before we return…

 

 

 

Lamai and Food Heaven

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The road that runs parallel to Lamai Beach passes the front of our hotel and teems with all kinds of traffic, from endless convoys of scooters to chugging, motorised kitchens, their driver negotiating the twists and turns while a bubbling vat of something delicious sizzles away next to them. While the traffic is not fast, it’s difficult to cross over without the help of the security guard.

All we can manage, having limited our daytime sleep to two and a half hours in order to try and adjust to Thailand time is to stroll across to the small bar and restaurant facing the hotel. Here we can sit upstairs in summer clothing on an open balcony and watch the world go by in all its fascinating variety while we sip a Chang beer and enjoy the balmy warmth-a novelty for us, coming from our UK winter.

We peruse the menu. I’m confident that here in Thailand I can find a variety of benign meals to suit my very contrary constitution, which eschews spicy things. And I do. Thai food is choc-a-bloc with stir fried vegetables, delicate rice and noodle dishes and fresh, delicious seafood. So I plump for fat prawns and broccoli with fried rice. In the unaccustomed heat a selection of a few, modestly proportioned dishes is perfect.

It’s all we need for today and having managed to stay up past ten we retire early, hoping to sleep all night. The room is spacious, though gloomy. We are unable to fathom the workings of the coffee machine and will need water and non-dairy milk so a foray into the mini supermarket along the road will be necessary tomorrow.

The day dawns hot [35 degrees], blistering as we make our way to breakfast, which offers every possible need or desire, including, miraculously, soya milk!

And while it’s too hot to do much, other than loll about in the shade, reading, Lamai Beach stretches in a sandy curve fringed with coconut palms, a steady breeze mitigating the searing heat.

The mini-market is a treasure trove for oat milk, beers and water but yields no coffee-making equipment, not so much as a pack of filters. We step across to the coffee bar across the street instead, where air conditioned comfort and some creditable pastries are available.

The evening temperatures are perfect and a short walk across a bridge takes us to an open market square where an abundance of food stalls provides an evening meal, and a lively bar with a music stage provides the entertainment-a competent covers band with a charismatic girl singer. We can sit in the open eating freshly grilled kebabs and sipping from a delicate coconut then enjoy some stomping music. How much better does it get than this?