22 March 2016

Samad Dang Resort

A couple of years ago seriously, where does the time go, Tom took us to this place to celebrate Mr John's birthday. This year, we went again to celebrate his nieces (Taan) birthday. Emma also joined us as she's heading back to the UK for good in a couple of weeks. The weather has really started to heat up but we were thankful for the occasional breeze coming in off the sea.

We really enjoy the food here though you probably need to budget about 250 baht per head but you do get quite a bit of food for that. On this occasion we had red seafood curry, crispy fish and a tom yum type soup.

Getting here is very easy by car but you can ride here on your motorbike. You need to allow about 45 minutes and make sure you use plenty of sunscreen and have a full petrol tank. Of course it's so close to monkey beach that you can combine two of my favourite things in the one trip - swimming in the sea and eating - so really, your time will be well spent.

Puk Tom's sister in law brought a box of Cicadas with her that she had lovingly prepared. I have, so far, managed to avoid eating insects but she's so lovely, I had to have one. Actually, they were quite nice and this was probably good practice for when there's too many people in the world and the only way we can get any protein is to eat insects. When that day comes, I think I'll move in with Puk

08 March 2016


Well, it's that time of year again. Mr John's students have long finished Grade 6. I'm pretty sure the high school students are done and dusted. Even the primary school little ones are just about done for another school year. This also means the annual back-packer teachers are heading off to pastures new. Most have already "left the building" and who can blame them. 

I'm really not sure why all schools insist on teachers staying to the end of March when the vast majority of students finish late February / early March. Unless, of course, they're staying on for another year.  I mean, it would save them money and give people freedom to book there flights out of "Dodge". You would be shocked how much airfares go up on April 1 - and that's no joke

Meanwhile, Mr John is busy sorting his desk, making sure his filing system is flawless and working on some new ideas for the next school year. I'm not 100% sure if he's being proactive or just keeping out of my way as I spring clean the house. As regular readers will know, he totally messes with my routine when he's on holiday a sentiment echoed by many of my married friends - about their husbands and not Mr John specifically

Of course, technically, it's not "spring cleaning" as there's no such thing as Spring here. The weather lurches from "winter" which is basically a less muggy period from the rest of the year to ridiculous hot and muggy around April followed by "the wet" which runs roughly June to October. We've been quite lucky the last couple of weeks where the mornings and evenings have been quite temperate, not so much this week. We're definitely getting a taste of things to come,

For the first time in three years however, we are not waiting with trepidation for the hot spell because we're off to the UK for five weeks. We're really looking forward to it and are hoping for a cold spell much to the chagrin of family and friends. Mr John is particularly looking forward to some "real" beer. He was asked the other day what he wanted for his first dinner in the country. His response ... everything! 

Doesn't five weeks sound like a super huge time? Trust me, it's not. Not when you have family scattered around the country and friends in all four corners of the land. Honestly, it is reminiscent of our trips home to Australia where we try to see everyone covering three states and failing dismally. Mr John still hasn't seen some great spots in Melbourne like Como House. Next time! 

What we have done for this upcoming visit though is grab some time in London to do proper tourist things. In fact, I know London better than Mr John so it'll be nice showing him around he's going to kill me for that comment. It's only four days and it's sandwiched between our trip to Devon and heading back to the north west. Best of all, we get to catch up with friends while we're in London too, including the lovely Leon. We really can't wait to see everyone. 

02 March 2016

Handy Hints?

With a short week, last week, before I knew it the weekend was upon us again. Time seems to be flying very quickly at the moment. So much so, that Mr John was at a party last night for all Grade 6s as it was their last day in school. From now until the end of March he gets to clean his desk, make sure all his folders are in the right order, plan something different for next years class and the all important visa required to carry on teaching next year. So don't for one minute think he's got his feet up.

I'm in spring cleaning mode at the moment not that Thailand even has a spring but winter has gone and it will really start hotting up next month. Actually, we've been lucky with a few cooler days lately and I think that's helped me get into gear. I've even been moving the bed to make sure I've got at everything.

So because it's been pretty quiet on the news front, I thought I'd share a couple of things I've been meaning to tell you about for ages. You know how it is, something minor that you mean to share with your friends but keep forgetting about and promising to do it next time? So here's a couple of tips for you.

Passed on by my mate Debbie the one in Australia and not the one in England I bought some celery to make Cheeseball at Christmas time. Whilst Mr John loves celery and I've read all the articles you can find on how it takes more calories to eat a stick of celery than is in the celery itself - I just don't like it. Try as I may. I do, however, like it in cooking. I feel lucky enough to be able to buy celery here in Chanthaburi and whilst elsewhere in the world I can buy trimmed sticks of it, here I have to buy the whole thing. This usually leads to me making weird and wonderful things in order not to waste it and I hate waste or throwing out a very limp, almost rubber like celery sticks. So how do you avoid this?
Wrap the whole thing in tin-foil. Yep, simple as that. I eventually used the last of it some four and half weeks later and you could still snap it in two. Hallelujah! So, if you are fed up of wasting your celery or eating your way through it quickly, here's the answer. I didn't believe it until I did it, so no more celery waste in the Mr John household.

For anyone living in Asia, you'll know how awful the water is and how dependent you are on bottled water. I have real issues with how much plastic is used in the production of said bottles plus, when you add it all up, it can be expensive. Get a water stand and only use the extra large bottles of water. The stand set us back about 350 baht but when you consider we were spending about 200 baht per week on 1.5 litre bottles you don't need to be a mathematician to see that it soon paid for itself. At just 12 baht a bottle, I wish we'd bought one sooner.

And finally, you all know how obsessed I am with the washing yeah right well I thought I ought to share with you the facilities near Robinson. With only three months to rainy season, you might find that you need a little help in the drying department. Of course this is only if, like me, you prefer to do your own washing for about 5% of the cost of having someone do it for you I'm sure singleton teachers would much rather pay someone.

It's easy to find this place. Head to Robinson through town and over the bridge. Stand with Robinson behind you, the river to your left and you'll see the big pink building an apartment / hotel accommodation place and the laundry is underneath that building on the left hand side as you look at it.

Whilst the washing machines are more expensive, at 40 baht per load, when compared to the other side of town at 20 baht, these machines are slightly bigger at 11kg plus the bonus of having tumble dryers at the same location. Of course you don't have to do your washing here to use the dryers. You could wash anywhere and then bring it all here to dry it but I'm a firm believer in cost / benefit so for me, riding from anywhere else is likely to cost me the 20 baht difference, so I just suck it up.

The best bit is you can do some sneaky shopping in Robinson whilst you wait for it all to finish. Of course, if you want to avoid temptation, you could always have a coffee or something to eat at Koff House but more on that next time. Happy washing!