Siam Gulf

A Thai story of food with beer of course.

Chang Beer is a mild beer with 5.2% ABV and is seen as the “Bud Light of Thailand” because it is everywhere and relatively cheap. Chang is the Thai word for elephant which means much to the country. Singha Beer is a pale lager with a full taste and has 5% ABV. The meal started with lettuce wraps bursting with flavor in crunchy chilled lettuce. Siam Gulf has done a great job with the minced chicken with water chestnuts, mushrooms, onions and Thai spices served with crispy noodle on the side.

I have learned over the years of traveling I enjoy eating many things that one on sticks! Chicken satay with thick peanut sauce on the side was a great contrast to the lettuce wraps. It also came with a fresh cucumber salad that was a flavorful contrast to the Thai peanut sauce. The miso soup and seaweed salad was a great way to clear my pallet for the main course. I was getting full at this point and so was the small table I was sitting at.

I couldn’t go out to a Thai restaurant without ordering sushi. These perfectly formed tempura roll still found their way into my growing yet happy belly. Finally, it’s time for the main course pad see ew. A stir fry with flat noodles simmered in a house sauce. Carrots, broccoli, and eggs were mixed with my choice of scallops. Simply amazing.

The space was converted from a wide-open brunch restaurant with minimal decorations to an intimate and warm dining environment. The sidewall has a beautiful mural painted on it now and there are the decorations along the counter. Dark wood planks cover the windows and divide the eating areas into private sections for a more intimate dining experience.

Siam Gulf is located a short drive from the downtown area and off the tourist areas of the keys, so the prices for this authentic Thai food is much more reasonable. The location is at 12th Street and Tuttle Ave at 1100 Tuttle Ave. Sarasota, Florida.

Food Roulette

Walking into a restaurant in a foreign country with no English menu and only a few pictures scattered around you and must make a decision by pointing and hoping for the best.

This is a photo in Hong Kong at a window kitchen from the bottom floor of a large apartment building in Kawloon. There were different shops and other selling food out the window. The window I picked had a few people waiting in the line for the while I watched it. As one person walked away, another stepped up to wait, so I felt it was a popular and trusted enough place to eat random and in some cases unknown selections. I walked to the counter with money in hand trying to order in English to Chinese only speaking locals. After I failed at asking for whatever they will give me for $20. Finally the woman running the cashbox told a man something as she pointed to the back and then she called for the person behind me to come forward to select fried goodies and pay. As I thought this wasn’t the way to order foot and I should go back to the pointing and grunting method, then a younger man came forward from the rear of the kitchen. He spoke in very good broken English and asked what I wanted and with a smile, he filled bags and bowls full of things on sticks and some fried balls of something with spicy sauce on them. I could figure out what some items were and others I didn’t have a clue. I sat in the hostel balcony and tried everything loving some and not too sure on others, but it was amazing gamble that I think is a great way to try local foods.

If anyone knows what I was eating in the photo above please let me know, because I still do not know.

This amazing dish is kangaroo and I can’t rave enough about it.

Bracelets of travelers

Have you ever been sitting in a hostel and looked around to notice that there were a lot of people wearing mulitable bracelets of different colors and materials. I noticed this shortly after landing in Auckland. Is this a backpacking trend? In short, yes. I wasn’t on board at first, yet I understood it. Backpackers can’t carry much and it’s marking the places on the  journey. When I first arrived I didn’t buy into the hype or trend. Four and a half months later I was wandering threw a craft sale down by the water in Queensland, Australia on an early Sunday morning and bought a beautiful stone in beaded waxes hemp. Which was handmade by the local that was making her craft as I walked by the glance on her wares neatly arranged on her table. This was the first on many countries on this trip and the first of many brackets. The next country for me was a short flight over to Sydney from Auckland where I spent the next few months exploring. On my way down the east coast I stopped at the capital Canberra. While I spent my week in a YHA in the main part of the city I learned something I did not realise. If and when you happen to lose your passport, you must make your way to the capital to get back out of the country. Interesting and amazing people are everywhere. I was out wandering around the city taking I’m the sites of wonderful public art all around the downtown area and found what the locals call bricker- brack sale or a rummage sale and probable ten other terms for locals selling stuff. Rounding a corner one weekend morning I found such a set up. There was a man with books, a woman with clothing, jewelry, and a few mixed tables and a street performer playing piano to set to tone. After digging threw a discount bin I found a turquoise colored Rock bracelet for fifty cents Australian!

More stops on my journey and more markers of those places on my wrist. I would buy a few and break one here and there. By the time I returned home I only had about three or four left but as the wooden beads of Nepal wear against my arm I am reminded of amazing stories every time. I love it and I won’t be taking them off anytime soon.

Solo, one way, extended trip

Coming back after a extended trip can be hard for anyone. There are many emotions evolved in the days before you leave and the trip home. Weather it is a few hour car ride or a full day flight, the travel beings the emotions of home very real.

My latest trip was almost eight months long and I learned a lot about the world and about myself as cliche as that may sound. For me it was after the first few months I adjusted to life on the road and out of a pack. I started my trip in Auckland, New Zealand and stayed in most of the major area of the city for the first three weeks, and man did I ever get my bearings of a city then walking it everyday for three weeks for most of the daylight hours. After the innatinal first weeks my mother took the twenty something hour flight to come see her globe trotting daughter. My mother, being the planner she is, had all of our ten days filled with things to see and do on this once in a lifetime trip for both of us. We travled from north to south island and back again. When I finally had to tell my dear mum goodbye I had to be on my own again and for this trip my defining moment. Having to plan where you will sleep and how you will get to that bed you booked in the most beautiful picture the hostel can create, you learn how quickly judge pictures and rating. Which I feel I had learned from hostel hopping in Europe on a tight budget. After a few mad hostels in New Zealand and one or two in Australia I learned quickly that five US dollars could mean the difference between a small or out of the way compared to toilets soaked in drunken pee from the bar hostel downstairs. Reviews are worth the read and also worth the time to write.

  • Www.Booking.com always gave me the most results generally in my International travels
  • Www.hostelworld.com come up with much fewer results but are all on a backpacker/ budget level.
  • Www.couchsurfing.com is a way to meet locals that are willing to open up their home to you after registering and filling in important details to the website and matching with locals that want to show you their city. You may have to do dishes or keep clean in exchange for a very local tour,home cooked local food, and a place to lay your head.
  • Www.YHI.com comes at a price of a year membership at a very reasonable rate. I have found over many counties that this organisation have overall the best accomadation at comparative prices. The rooms are always clean and the location is usually near the things you came to that area for. I have nothing but nice things to say about Hostel International.

Like in most things, the people in each place can make or break even the nicest hostel. Community living isn’t for everyone.

After getting used to this life of everyday new city, new people, and new

Reclining Buddha

This is the huge reclining Buddha with its pearl feet together at the far end. When you enter this temple, after you take your shoes off and place then in a mesh bag to carry with you, you are able to walk almost all the way around the grand Buddha. Walking in you start at the head facing front and walk down to the feet. There are displays along the walls with the history and places to pray. When you finally wrap around the feet and start walking towards the head you will hear the tink tink tink of coins going into medel pots all down the wall makes a wonderful and unexpected background when seeing this giant golden reclining Buddha.

This video is the only way I could think to show the scale of this Buddha.

Thailand ◇ Temples

With a few shoes out front and a warm breeze blowing down the center on the small temple off the busy road filled with tourist. This line could describe many small temples all over Thailand. Taking the side roads is part of how I travel and I am able to get a better feel for the area I am in. I have walked many miles and found some unbelievable places hidden from the guidebooks.

There is so much more wonder for me personally when I simply glance at a tourist map and explore,better know as getting lost, in back roads and alleys. Wondering where the mass of daily commuter and travels aren’t going gives a better feel for what the real city is like. I was given some advice before I left to get off of the well traveled sight seeing path. Even if you are a backpacker, there are still common hot spots a majority  of them end up finding. The advice I received was simple, get off the beaten path. Whether  it is going to the next town over, or going a few blocks down from where you are right now.  You can literally do this from everywhere, even your own home. Find a new bar, hidden shop, or local gem just behind your block.

River City boat dinner cruise in Bangkok 

A little chaos before you get in the correct boat,but after you board and are seated you will enjoy what you paid for more.

The dinner curse is an all you can eat buffet with the drinks an extra cost. I had my mother in town to see me so we booked a relax dinner tour of the the city at night. The views  were very nice if you make it outside or sit on the window side. We made sure to get a few plates of thai food and took our dessert right away so we sat the rest of dinner laughing over piles of plates and trying new food off eachothers plates. When we finally had enough and the plates were clear we moved to the back deck the watch the city roll by.

It’s a large boat and there is entertainment and dancing on the top level of the boat. Dinning is set up on the mid-level and the lower level seemed to be empty besides the wait for the restrooms.

rivercityboat

The food was good and saw nothing to complain about. When I booked the tour, there were other dinner boats that cost more and other that cost less. But I was perfectly happy with the food and the entertainment. There were singing acts that would rotate from the dining rooms giving us a show with our dinner. I’m sure the higher you paid for the dinner cruise the better food, service, and entertainment. Like I said before our food was good, and some of the entertainment was interesting and my mom and I will be talking about it for years to come.

rivercitymom

Temple of the Dawn 

Bangkok,Thailand

Temple of the Dawn is one of the top temples to see in Bangkok, but it must be seen at night also. What an amazing sight to see from across the river all lite up. When you are on the other side of the river looking for a place to see the temple in all its pretty lights you may find it hard to sneak a peak in the alleys on the river edge. I finally gave up after being in dark not so pretty areas and went to a restaurant for a drink and took all the photos I wanted.