Mrs. Doubtfire Drinks Sippy Wine

Preface on title:
Our last songtoa ride in Hua Hin was shared with my new role model: Mrs. Doubtfire. She was actually nothing like the real Mrs. Doubtfire except for the fact that she spoke Britishly! Ever since her husband's retirement, they have spent three months in Hua Hin for Holiday. Other times of the year she spends at her cottage in Ireland, which she noted as her favorite travel spot. She has done quite a bit of traveling. She worked for her no-count husband for many years, but was never paid. She therefore insisted he pay for her travel every year with her friends! She was dainty, proper and everything you'd expect. But instead of at tea, we met on the back of a songtoa while profusely sweating and ingesting diesel fumes. She of course could have quickly wiped her brow, lifted her pinky finger and have been ready for afternoon tea in Wimbledon.

This weekend I went on my first small group excursion. Big groups are a lot of fun and as we have found out on past trips, they can help you bargain when purchasing beach sarongs or orchestrating mass transit via truck beds. But, small groups are amazing for travel. Less opinions, less chaos and most importantly less hormones. I think everyone would agree traveling with large groups of girls can be amazingly exhausting.

So back to this weekend. Alicia and I headed out directly from school. I sent my laptop, a New Years gift form a student and my real life home with Alex and we hit the door running-- determined to catch the last bus for Hua Hin.

As a side-note let me start with: we absolutely positively never travel the same way twice. This isn't by any means on purpose. You would think our travel would become more efficient with time. We'd figure out the tricks of the locals and travel like the speed of light. Travel here is cheap and rather easy but I wouldn't call it efficient.

Father you would have had a heart attack with how round about we went just to get out of our own city. When I know we are backtracking you know things are bad.

We do finally arrive and sit in more traffic so we get off at the first sky train exit we can find and zoom over to victory monument where our more experienced travel friend has been waiting for about an hour. She ushers us quickly to the ticket table we purchase and hop on the van. But the way vans work is they don't leave until they fill up. So we wait some more. I'm okay by this point though because we know we will make it to Hua Hin tonight! Success! (Just a few moments of panic-- "passports, who has the passports?")

We arrive and are dropped off at a crazy night market. We have finally learned the importance of printing your hotel's address in Thai, so we luckily are some what prepared. Of course the first 3 drivers we show the address to, squint, talk in fast Thai, run the through the streets asking others and then tell us "cannot."

Eventually we find a woman who says okay. She folds up her taxi sign and takes us down a side street and say "okay, okay" and points to an unmarked Honda civic. We pile in shaking or heads and smiling. You just never know what type of transportation you will score in Thailand.

We arrive at our all inclusive top of the line villa for the weekend around 11pm. Let me back up a little: Jess (aka experienced travel friend) is one of Alicia's friends from home and will be heading home soon. She is the one that researched and planned a lot of the weekend. In the midst of hostel searching one her friends suggested we just stay with her and her parents for the weekend. They rented a villa close to the beach for the weekend and had two extra bedrooms.

Contrary to what some may think. The most enticing part of the proposition was the concept of parents. We've all been a bit homesick since this will be all of our first Christmases without our families. And the thought of parents made us all jump for joy! And boy did they spoil us rotten! They fed us like kings, told us stories about the good ole days and treated us to what we all anticipated being our biggest expense of the weekend-- the vineyard: a wine tasting and an elephant ride. Without a doubt Kate's parents made the weekend a perfect way to start the holiday season! (And don't worry mom a thank you note is in process an departing gifts were already exchanged! You raised a proper southern belle)

The way I was lured into this trip was by the simple word "wine." There is little to no wine in Thailand and something I miss wholeheartedly. The weekend was planned around a vineyard visit where you could purchase a package to try three different wines paired with three different tapas, try their signature grape juice (sippy wine) and trek through the quiet vineyard perched on top of an elephant.

I didn't even think twice before quickly agreeing to tag along for the weekend. I ended up being uncharacteristically busy last week and didn't have a chance to do much or any research about what the weekend had in store. I knew we would have wine, eat good food and stay in a villa with someone's patents I didn't know and there was promise of American magazines and chocolate.

While packing I thought "hmm I should probably throw in a bathing suit, you just never know." Well it is a very good thing because it turns out Hua hin is oh so much more than a vineyard. It is an adorable beach city filled with cafes, wine bars, night markets and seafood restaurants.

The beach was adorable and just steps away from our fully furnished villa. We rented chairs and umbrellas, ordered coconut watermelon shakes, added a little Thai rum and did mermaid dives in the water until mid afternoon. Then we showered and climbed into a van for a 35 minute ride to the vineyard.

The air changed from hot humid to pleasantly breezy. And the landscape from sandy beaches to lush green vineyards.

The vineyard just celebrated its 10th anniversary and is still trying to somewhat establish itself. The wine was drinkable but not the highlight of the vineyard experience nor did it rank in the top 3 highlights.

The sleek restaurant was the only building that graced the skyline. The rest of the landscape was filled mountains and rows of plump juicy grapes. It was amazing how quiet and peaceful it felt. We felt like royalty. Being waited on hand and foot and present with five star looking tapas. I wouldn't say they were all 5 star tasting--the first was a mayonnaise-y crab salad but it had fresh crisp apples chopped through out and a fresh sprig of basil and it did actually go quite well with the white wine they served (my fave wine of the three). For the second everyone else was given three slices of cheese drizzled with orange and vanilla infused olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper-- it looked divine. They gave me a poached shrimp salad with fresh pomegranate seeds. It was okay. The last was really different and amazing. Smoked duck on a homemade crispy corn chip which sat on top of a shredded carrot mango salad all mixed with a spicy sriracha type sauce. The flavor and texture combo = perfection. The last two wines aren't even worth mentioning...

The ride back to town we all still had grumbling stomachs because our America sized stomachs were not satisfied. We stopped at a restaurant our driver recommended and shared a few dishes family style. We were not disappointed. I've had some great green curry since I've been in Thailand but this ranked #1.

The night ended with 2 large chocolate bars, a big bag of peanut m&ms and the bold idea to awake for sunrise. We woke early, jumped in our prearranged songtoa which drove us up chopstick mountain (also called monkey mountain-- should have been clue #1...)

We rounded the corner as the sky began to lighten to see a sea of beady red eyes staring back at us-- a mix of mange-ifed cats, dogs, and my least favorite thailand creature: monkeys. We should have known at this point this was a bad idea. But, we were already up and thought why not.

We bravely walked forward, darted around, saw a few view points and decided it was time to head back to town before the sun even fully colored the sky.

Unfortunately, our songtoa driver did not wait for us-- so we started walking. We decided it might be kind of nice to just go ahead and walk all the way into town anyway. We walked about 10k and arrived at a German bakery (our planned breakfast destination) just in time for opening.

It was a perfect breakfast. An omelette filled with big slices if onions, potatoes and bacon and freshly baked breads. I was one happy girl!

The rest of the morning was finished off with one last beach nap, one more mermaid dive and one more watermelon shake. Perfect ending to a perfect weekend-- that is until I got stuck in the worst mini van seat for the trip home. Beaming hot sun, freon low ac, little to no shocks and smashed between a baby and a Thai woman was really how the weekend ended. But the first ending sounds much more picturesque and blog worthy.

No comments:

Post a Comment