Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Foodtripper's Adventure in Thailand (Part 4)

Our fourth day was pretty much screwed up when our agent didn't show up for our scheduled Ayutthaya trip. Apparently Feb. 13 is a holiday in Thailand (Buddha Day) and AsiaWorld's hotline couldn't be reached that morning. I headed to the nearby Internet shop to email the agency (they charge 25baht/hour) and just as i was about to return to the hotel, my food radar switched to alert mode the moment it saw the sticky rice and mango hawker on one side of the street. Their mango is very much the same as our local produce from Zambales- sweet and really succulent, whereas the sticky rice falls more on the salty side probably to complement the hot sweetened coconut milk doused over the rice. I had mine with a custard-like topping as an extra for 40baht. I think it was a deliberate overcharge since the vendor knew right on that i was a foreigner. Also, i saw an earlier local customer pay only 20baht for the same stuff.
Now let me tell you about my sweet sticky rice (suman) and mango love story. I basically grew up eating the combination as a treat everytime we'll go on vacation in Zambales. It just surprised me to learn that other people find this a bit odd and haven't tried it yet. When travels to the province lessened as i grew up, my mom would cook her own version of this coconut sticky rice and serve it alongside ripe mangoes from her hometown. Delish! Thais just serve it differently but its basically the same, it's just that theirs is very well marketed.
Going back to Bangkok, i returned to the hotel only to find out that Joy was able to contact the agency and they'll get back to us the moment they sorted the problem out. Meanwhile, the two went ahead for more shopping in Pratunam, while i went with Anne to scout for good finds in the same area.
By lunch time, i was able to talk to our agent and we agreed upon the Chao Phraya Dinner Cruise later that night in exchange for the blown up Ayutthaya trip which we was the original plan. We then headed out for lunch at the nearby Platinum Mall, while mom and Joy took theirs in the hotel resto.
By 6pm, a certain Mr. Bob picked us up and off we went to hell. I'll be needing a separate post for this because what happened was really unthinkable.
Now let's move on to the dinner cruise.

After a roller coaster ride with the agent, we finally boarded the Chao Phraya Princess at 8pm for the 2 hour cruise around the famous river. I am compelled to say that this is definitely a must-try for tourists and it is the most perfect way to end a Thailand vacay. Anyhoo, what about the food? The buffet table is divided into traditional Thai and International food selections. Good thing there were more than just Thai offering because by the fourth day, seemed like we would all gag by the mere smell of it.

My only gripe is that it was rather windy due to the open air set-up, thus you really have to eat fast otherwise you'll be eating your dinner cold. I didn't mind anyway. How can you concentrate on your plate when you are being surrounded by the magnificent views of Bangkok by night? It was all together lovely and romantic if i may add.
A showband was also on-board, and we did ended the cruise dancing the night away. Mom must have enjoyed it so much she even forgot her daughters were there and danced with a complete stranger=P.
After savoring our last breakfast in the hotel, we pulled off the last leg of our Bangkok shopping spree to maximize our time. The airport transfer arrived at 9:30am for our 12:15 noon flight going back to Manila.

Just as the plane was about to take off, i overheard a bejeweled Pinay, in an almost angry voice, say to the veela-like stewardess: "The three pieces of children...blah blah blah...".

The travel ended with me watching Elizabethtown while enjoying lunch at the plane.


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