Chapter Last (for this trip, anyway)

Okee dokee. Nancy and I are having a few relaxing days in the former fishing village of Hua Hin on the east coast of Thailand’s loooong isthmus south of Bangkok. I found a lovely place 50 meters from the beach. It is a 5 room ‘resort’ (their term). It is beautiful though.

We were a bit (very) concerned when Mr Wan – our driver from Bangkok stopped in front of a guesthouse he thought was our destination. Flashbacks to the Moon Resort (their term) in rural China 8 years ago ricocheted around our skulls with blaring horns, bright lights and warnings from multiple government agencies adding their voices. Fortunately after a couple phone calls, it was straightened out. In those few minutes though, I was willing to have him take us to the Sheraton, Hilton or Marriot and I would do battle with Expedia later to get back our prepaid reservation.

This is right outside our room….our own private but small pool. Laps are dead easy. Three nights here. Yay, we can open the windows with zero traffic noise. When we check out will hope to forget nothing.

Our window is on the right. Yup, our own private pool! The other 4 rooms have to share the rooftop pool with a great view.

After testing this out we went to the beach

A late lunch,

small early dinner and to bed.

Sunday was a day of lots of walking but not too strenuous in the heat and humidity. But before hitting the road we did some dawn beach photography

Lots of pampering too. Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean my razor broke. One of the early hotels had a disposable shaver in the bathroom and I used it a couple times but there is a reason those things are disposable. It dulled quickly and I never really had time to find a new one with all the gogogo we had on. So about 10 days since my last shave. H&H is not good for whiskers so I was itching. We found a nice barber who gave me a 25 minute straight edge (cut throat) razor scraping. He even pushed my nose up like you see in mafia movies before the Don is machine gunned in the chair. What an indulgence. I coulda bought a new blade and shaved myself but why? $1.65 for a shave!

How does one follow that on such a day, you ask. Well with a foot massage for me and a Thai massage for Nancy of course.

I had one a few years ago and that was enough. Pity I couldn’t take Nancy to the Chiang Mai Women’s Prison Massage School where I had mine though.

We then found the Blupoint Resort (that word is used a lot here) Mall. Quite a place. International food court, ($2 lunch) grocery store with more food stalls and a department store.

Then to the beach to walk home

Dinner was amazing at Oceanside restaurant. Grilled sea bass, beetroot salad (!!!!) and chicken satay. An expensive dinner for Thailand but worth it.

To celebrate our last day in HH and in anticipation of the rather leeeeengthy flights home, we had a spafternoon Monday. Foot bath, body scrub, massage and facial! OMB. 3 1/2 hours for @ $70. Wow. What a great time. This was more than other places charge but the Raintree Spa is quite beautiful and comfy.

We finally hit the Night Market for dinner.

But first a Piña Colada at a tiny corner bar.

The seafood on display is just so enticing and we ate at one of the restaurants that was cooking on the street. A whole fish, prawns, squid and cockles. The sauces were full of chilies and fish sauce, garlic and cilantro. Chilies too!

They were pretty busy so I had to get behind the grill to help out a bit. Good thing I can handle a pair of tongs with the best of them.

The street market is a hoot. Lots of people, both local and tourists having dinner and shopping.

Tuesday morning had a glorious sunrise on our beach.

Our ride to Bangkok was pretty easy and we arrived by noon. No major traffic issues. (It just occurred to me this chapter is particularly detailed- I think that is because I’m able to keep this up as we go due to the slooooooow pace we have set for ourselves these last few days).

Off to another food court at a basement shopping center. We actually went to a Vietnamese place for our last lunch.

Since we had to walk sooooo far for lunch (about 10 minutes) we of course had to have a last foot massage

Some of our first pics years ago when this trip started was from the Bangkok hotel Rooftop pool, some of the last are as well.

The hotel Amara Bangkok is a terrific place. Good location for the Night Market, restaurants and sights. This was set up for us by the world’s greatest travel agent – Allan Boyce. He also helped out Callum and Abi who were traveling with us. They have an extra 12 days in Thailand and Allan found them a great place to stay in Patong – all via email with never meeting. Allan has been doing our travels for @ 20 years. If you need a good travel agent (& you DO), reach out to him –

allan@passport2travel.net 800.373.6160

The Amara has a great happy hour with free beverages and food.

This is the wasabi sculpture to go with the sushi. It pained me to ruin it, but …

Up early for our cab ride to the airport and quickly through security and passport control and to the JAL lounge (I love using our miles to fly business class internationally!).

We are currently on the flight Tokyo. Looks like we will be early- go figure after the last time we flew in here a few weeks ago with the typhoon causing a 2 hour circling.

A few notes on the trip. Kinda stream of consciousness rambling I suspect.

We were quite impressed with the food as I am sure you have gleaned from my subtle hints sprinkled here and there throughout my writings. It is reason enough to make the trip.

The people we met, got to know and just happened upon helped make this a trip that when asked will be one of our top vacations. The fellow G Adventurers, and our CEO, the Phenomenal and Phantastic Phong was the supreme highlight. Even catching the eye of pedestrians, motorbike riders, and other ‘local people’ invariably led to a smile and a nod from them. These were not the service staff at hotels and restaurants that ‘have to’ be friendly but the everyday folk. We would be asked all the time from where we hailed. Telling them America always brought a smile and usually a thank you for coming. It seems like a lot of Yanks don’t travel to SE Asia. (Some of these pics may be repeats). Every person we spoke with was incredibly proud of their country. Nobody had a derogatory statement about their native land. Quite nice to see.

We were also quite pleased about the lack of smoking indoors. In prior trips to Asia this was not the case. It was an issue I thought we would have to deal with but happily, no.

All three countries were the same and very different at the same time. Thailand was much more touristy and cleaner. Cambodia was a little less developed but growing. Vietnam is also growing (I read in the Hanoi newspaper that the country will need to make its own sand within five years because of all the development, they are running out!). We feel of the three, Vietnam is the friendliest and has the best food but that could be because we spent more time there. We’ll have to come back and do some more experimentation. It would be nice if there was not so darn much litter though.

The inventiveness of the people in carrying a dizzying amount of stuff and people on a scooter, cart, bicycle or small truck is amazing. If I tried that at home with my Vespa I would get multiple tickets daily. Imagine a family of 5 on my scooter?

The all pervasive scooters and motorbikes was stunning. If everyone in the US drove those instead of SUV’s imagine how easy to park anywhere it would be.

English was spoken most everywhere which is a great relief to us monolinguists. We could usually make ourselves understood and had some words in each language.

We were able to keep in touch with home and our group as all the hotels, restaurants, coffee shops etc had WiFi and it seemed all the local people had iPhones. I did not expect that.

The effortlessness of having G doing all the logistics made things very simple for us. I usually plan every trip but realized that we did a LOT more things than I would have arranged. These include the motorbike, pedicab and tuk tuk tours among others. I probably would have hit on the big things like the cities visited, the caves outside Saigon, Angkor Wat etc but not the things that made this trip unique for us. I highly recommend checking them out for your future travel. (Allan can help with that.). Phong told us the number of Yanks on his tours is quite low compared to Brits, Canadians and Aussies.

We highly recommend also Japan Airlines and love the Dreamliner designed and assembled by Boeing with the help of our friends and neighbors in Edmonds.

(I think I am sounding like an infomercial).

We are in Tokyo now and I will finish this rather lengthy chapter. Here is a video of the self service draft beer dispenser. Note that it adds the bane of beer drinkers everywhere- more foam!

I would be remiss if I didn’t throw in a huge thank you and I love you to my favorite traveling companion, Nancy. Your adventitious spirit really showed itself these last few weeks. You never cease to amaze me. Let’s keep doing this!

Okay, a last (and final this time) update. We are in Vancouver waiting for our last flight of this very long day. So far we have been up for 23 hours today and it is not yet noon!

As they say in Japan-

Sayonara until next time

Lots of love,

Nancy and Chris

6 thoughts on “Chapter Last (for this trip, anyway)”

  1. I have thoroughly enjoyed my armchair travel with you… Wonderful observations and photos! I am very happy for you two getting to have these kind of experiences, and being such in sync travel buddies. Keep on travelin’ as our friend Rick Steves says, and Welcome home!

    Like

  2. It has been an amazing trip with you guys! you really know how to make the most of every minute and every calorie! Such a treat to follow!

    Like

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