Hua Hin: Old folks love it and us

Todd’s school is currently on October break (a tremendously civilized practice that all educational institutions should follow), so we decided to head to Hua Hin, a town several hours south of Bangkok. Hua Hin is a popular destination for golfers, the royal family, and elderly people of all shapes and sizes: clearly, it was meant for us. I’m getting to the point where my heftiness is outweighing my adventurousness, and a few days on a beach chair sounded just about right.

IMG_2800

For some reason, this photo makes me really happy:  “Ruth’s Body Shop: For all your limb rental needs”

We stayed at the Jaidee Resort, which both I and TripAdvisor would recommend. It is a little out of the way, but it makes up for it with its sheer adorableness quotient. It is built in the traditional Thai style, and has a restaurant with a small lake beside it. Let me assure you: if you are having a hard time waking up in the morning, there is nothing quite like sipping a cuppa while watching a trio of copulating geese. Guaranteed to open the ol’ peepers.

IMG_2797

It works for Todd.

IMG_2804

IMG_2805

We eventually made our way into town, and planted ourselves on the beach. I can’t say that Hua Hin is the most pristine beach destination I’ve ever visited, but it compensates for this by being full of horses and elderly people who are dying to converse with you.

IMG_2814

Just waiting to pounce.

Let me be clear: there are many elderly people that I really dig, and I am looking forward to being one someday. HOWEVER, certain members of this generation have many, many things that they are longing to share with you, and Todd and I seem to be the perfect targets. This was true of a few kind-hearted but verbose guests at the resort, and it was especially true on the beach. A brief smile was enough to set off the British gentleman next to us.

IMG_2807

Todd during a lull with our new friend. “Maybe if I close my eyes, he won’t see me.”

After asking if we were Russian and/or Latvian, he assured me that I was a small pregnant woman, unlike some women who just pack it on and get really, really massive. When he found out that we are Canadians, he felt that it was appropriate to share some of his favourite thoughts about Americans. A few of his more profound musings:

“My son says that when you cross the border from America to Canada, people get way more intelligent. Americans just aren’t very bright.”

“I’ve always thought that Americans were like British gone wrong.”

I’ll be sure to share these insightful remarks with all my American friends.

We also spent a large portion of our holiday eating. Hua Hin has numerous seafood restaurants along the beach, and we didn’t waste any time digging into some “fruits de mer.”

IMG_2796[1]

Todd trying to restrain his hands while waiting for me to finish taking yet another photo.

IMG_2793

Todd got to drink wine like a normal adult, while I had to join 5-year-olds everywhere, and stick with a Shirley Temple. The things I do for you, little Bannock.

On our last day in Hua Hin, Todd came to the conclusion that he needs to start coaching me through activities that will mentally prepare me for the rigours of labour. This sounded like a grand idea, until we found a fish foot massage place. Fish massages are Todd’s idea of bliss, but there are very few things that sound so horrific to me. Clearly, the mental fortitude necessary for me to leave my feet in the water for ten minutes would be good preparation for D-Day. I cannot even imagine what the young guy running the massage place thought as he witnessed me cringing and squeezing Todd’s hand as Todd said “Focus! You can do this. Breathe through the contractions!”

IMG_2820

Trying to find my happy place….

IMG_2819

…this isn’t it.

I expect labour to be exponentially more painful, but exponentially less creepy than fish massage.

We finished our trip with a three-hour mini bus ride back to Bangkok, and dinner at a noodle joint, where between us we managed to consume seven (small!) bowls. Listening to old people and simulating labour is hungry work.

IMG_2823

And somebody needs a haircut.

A Fine Feeding Frenzy

There are many activities in Thailand/South East Asia that struck me as slightly bizarre when we still lived in Canada, but now seem quite normal. These include the habit of using a spoon and fork (but no knife) with meals, Thai women’s general disdain for the act of leg-shaving, and the widespread popularity of flesh eating fish in massage parlours. This last one is what I want to focus on today.

I remember reading an article in National Geographic before we left home. It featured de-mining efforts in Cambodia, and for some reason, one of the featured photographs was of two tourists indulging in a fish massage as they were serenaded by a war amputee. A strange mental image. While the article detailed Cambodia’s de-mining efforts with great pathos, I was riveted by the fish suckled to tourist flesh. After arriving here, however, I’ve discovered that it is a common tourist activity. Furthermore, I knew it was only a matter of time before Todd caved in and tried it. Fish massage has T-bone written all over it, because:

A) He loves eating strange things. In this case, it’s the fish that are eating “strange things,” but that’s good enough for him.

B) For some inexplicable reason, he actually enjoys the eerie feeling of ants crawling on his arms. From here it is a short skip and a hop to enjoying fish mowing down on his legs.

We visited Asiatique – a hot spot for upscale market items, eateries, and lady-boy cabaret shows – one evening, and when he saw the feisty fish frolicking there, he dove right in. He tried to convince me to join him, but I prefer to keep my epidermis where it belongs, thank-you-very-much.

The process began with a gentle scrub – probably to loosen the skin so the fish could get a better latch.*

 

He started off with a quick wash:

“How much should I scrub off?” “2 or 3 layers should do it.”

Prepping the main course…

Because maybe you needed a closer view…

And then it was off to the races!

 

 

So pumped.

“Hi little guys! You are just like birds of the sea!”

The armada amasses and then latches on.

So much food. So little time.

Totally blissed out. Todd loves feeding the hungry.

And one last close up. Check out the fish between his toes.

Turns out that National Geographic didn’t exaggerate – it was a totally riveting process. I’m still a little icked out, but T-bone is dreaming of his fish friends’ next meal…

* I might be making this up.