Well, we found another: Mairood Resort, in a tiny little fishing village on the coast of Thailand. Before we left, we had a feeling it might join our short list, but it exceeded our expectations. Our main concern, I think, was that six days would be too long, given the remote location and the lack of markets to explore, which is one of our favorite activities. Our hosts were concerned about us too, and offered a number of little excursions into nearby places, but we were just so content the time flew by and six days didn't feel nearly enough.
And yet what did we do? I arrived with the flu, and Marc spent one whole miserable day with the flu, but otherwise we lounged. We lay in the sun by the pool, we walked into the wonderful little fishing village, we rambled around the large, beautiful property, we scouted nearby spots, we ate three meals a day, we talked with Chin (the owner) and Judy, and we sat on our large porch and watched the sky, or watched the rain coming in. It was extraordinary.
The fishing villageIt's small, 92 families I think, and very busy! They're expanding sidewalks to make it easier for all the activity to be maintained. Motorcycles and bikes share those walks with pedestrians, and some motorcycles pull carts filled with stuff. Little kids run around, zipping around feet and in and out of busy life. Marc walked through the village more times than I did, because the afternoon heat and sun didn't bother him as much as it did me. We always love seeing the ways people live around the world.
|some homes were like this|
|Many had spirit house/shrines like these out front.|
|beautiful spots throughout|
|some homes were very colorful|
|charming, isn't it!|
|A quick peek inside one as we passed; I always feel so shy about photographing people in their homes|
|Lots of satellite dishes! One night we were walking through the village in the dark, and passed a home|
where everyone sat on the floor watching The Flintstones. Old school, Hanna-Barbera, Fred & Wilma.
It made me smile, and want to sit next to them.
|sorting, sorting, sorting the catch|
|a little restaurant|
|VERY hard at work|
|the universal pleasure of a weenie on a stick after school|
|he is an accountant, I learned|
|the boats look kind of ghostly at night|
|in the center of the photo, the light is men sitting inside their boat -- sleeping there? No idea.|
|work on crabs never ends|
|i loved this! produce for sale in the front, pool table in the back.|
|stepping to the side for motorcycles to pass|
|busy busy busy|
|the motorcycle-pulled carts often took up the whole sidewalk|
|such a beautiful soft night|
|buying some produce for dinner, maybe|
One thing that puzzled us at first was all the dead boats -- boats abandoned all over the place, some obviously wrecked and some just kind of partly underwater. We figured the owners might not have the resources to fix them; the people in the village are quite poor, and can't afford to eat the crab they pick. But we didn't understand why they might not scavenge materials from the dead boats, so we asked Chin, who said they would if they could, but they don't have the time or resources.
The ResortGosh. What a beautiful place. Chin, the owner, was born in Bangkok and works on Nantucket during the summer -- he's a man of many skills, including basket weaving, upholstery, and running a restaurant (and catering), along with developing this beautiful property. The title of this post refers to our room, which was the top floor of a beautiful house ("Upper Heaven," with the downstairs being "Lower Heaven"). It was a large, comfortable space, and it had a beautiful porch overlooking the water, which we enjoyed endlessly.
|there's the house, near one far end of the property. Upper Heaven is an apt name!|
|and down below -- chickens and turkeys and noisy roosters, which we adjusted to.|
Chin loves animals, and there are rabbits and lots of birds and a pig and dogs around.
|part of the porch -- plus a big rocking chair off to the right, not visible here|
|the view the first morning -- especially gorgeous to me since my flu was gone!|
|rain coming in -- we loved the porch at all times of day and night, and in all weather|
|our farewell photo, taken by Judy -- see how lush and beautiful the place is?|
|these were especially wonderful on a cloudy, gray day|
|That's YaYa -- a one-year-old pig who won my heart. she just kind of harumphed around, snuffling and|
getting petted and lying in the sun and sometimes eating the plants. She's adorable. AND ONE.
|THERE YOU ARE, MY TORMENTOR. We did get used to all the roosters and finally quit hearing them.|
|there's darling YaYa, by the pool -- the only picture I got of the pool!|
|it's a large, rambling property with all kinds of rooms. These are small un-air conditioned cabins in the mangroves|
I don't really know why I didn't get a picture of the pool, since we spent so much time there, or of the restaurant -- another place we spent so much time.....
Breakfast comes with the room -- either a wonderful Thai soup (very good for what ails you, too; I had it the first morning, after my day o' wishing-I-were-just-dead) or eggs however you like them. A bowl of tropical fruit. Homemade yogurt. Lots of very good coffee. Breakfast is my favorite meal, and when we travel I always look forward to it as a pleasure, since at home I always have a green smoothie. There's a nice lunch menu -- Marc had some incredible seafood pad Thai, filled with extremely fresh squid, shrimp, scallops, and fish chunks. But the dinners, oh my goodness. There is no menu, really, although Chin has a general idea of what he'll make and buys the fresh seafood or meat accordingly. But you can ask for anything and he'll make it for you. And so delicious, man. We had enormous tiger shrimp, butterflied and fried, the best I've ever had. An enormous fresh pompano in a really delicious, slightly spicy tomato sauce. Cashew chicken. Curries. I no longer remember what we ate every night, I just remember that it was always good, always so fresh, and always cooked perfectly.
|That fried shrimp, SO good. And really, perfectly cooked. The only time I had shrimp approximately|
the same size was in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, when the shrimp were like apples. These were better.
|and here's that fabulous soup -- filled with sticks of ginger, and lots of rice. YUM.|
The night we arrived was my sick day, and all I wanted was to go to bed after a day fighting travel and long lines. They'd prepared dinner for us, so I crawled into bed and Marc went downstairs and ate both our portions of what he said was extraordinary crab curry -- really, crab with some curry instead of the other way around. Lump crab, bought from the little fishing village. But someone brought me a bowl of steamed rice, since I'd said I might be able to eat it. Staying at Mairood Resort was like staying with dear friends who want you to be happy, want you to feel at home, and want to make sure you have whatever you might need or want. We felt so cared for. Judy, a woman who otherwise lives in Vancouver but who lives and works at Mairood during the main season, was just there, ready for friendly conversation, to answer questions, to help us make plans, to help us with any problem. And Chin, the owner, was just the same -- so friendly and conversational and such a great host.
Emphasis on 'mini' here; except for lounging around, reading, sunning, swimming, eating, and walking through the village, we did three other things: we rowed a little boat to a nearby sandbar, we took a tiny walk just barely past the village, and we went with Chin and Judy to a nearby beach for lunch. (Six days! We were there six days!)
|let's row over there!|
|OK, let's do that! Don't we look like we know what we're doing?|
|and....we landed. AAAAH. Isn't it gorgeous?|
|Yeah. It really, really is.|
We walked around on this little beach area, but it had just enough broken glass scattered around to make me kind of nervous, so we got back in our little boat and rowed over to the sandbar:
|lots of crab holes everywhere, and little tiny sand-colored ghostly crabs scuttling sideways everywhere|
In another couple of walks through/past the village, we saw these things:
|just on the other side of the fishing village -- these looked like ghost boats to me.|
|I love this picture of Marc. He does love a beach.|
|We came upon this memorial on the edge of the village; as always, we have no idea.|
|kids everywhere need a ball field!|
|from a distance, we saw this large Buddha.... as we approached, two dogs barked furiously.|
|it faces and overlooks a completely empty area, as far as we could see, and its back was to a home.|
|We first saw the back side of this and assumed it was a small temple or shrine. Then we came|
around to the other side: nope! Crematorium! Right in the front of the property, on the busy road.
|And there's the big chimney. Chin said these are always placed like that so all the people can smell|
the cremation when it's happening.
|on our last day, Chin and Judy took us to lunch at a nearby beach, Ban Chuen.|
Since it was the King's birthday, a national holiday, the place was very busy.
|Judy took this picture so she's not in it unfortunately, but there's Chin on the right. He boiled some shrimp and brought|
a dipping sauce, and bought all kinds of yummy things to eat. It was such a nice excursion.
We had such a wonderful time at Mairood Resort and were daydreaming about our return visit on the first or second day.