Back in Thailand, and it feels like home. Trat is usually a place where foreigners just pass through on their way to one of the local islands or to Cambodia. I've been here for more than two weeks now. The guest house is cozy and the market is fantastic - so much good food for so cheap - if I stay much longer, you'll be seeing me on the Biggest Loser!
My last stop in Cambodia was in the border town of Ko Kong. If Hainan, China is allowed to be called the "Hawaii of China," I'm gonna go ahead and call this the "Venice of Cambodia." Equally valid.
One of the many great things about Asia is all the random festivals and holidays. In mid-May, there is a big fruit festival in Trat.
Christi made some new friends. Now she needs a new outfit.
An even better thing about being in Thailand in spring is, well - this is a fruit festival! There are so many crazy fruits that we don't have in the US. These are mangosteens - so insanely delicious!
The Trat Fruit Festival.
Hansel and Gretel met Dorothy's tornado? That's one heck of a tree!
Thailand is a beautiful country. A holy land. A land rich in one holy, divinity of splendor.
The most compelling attraction, drawing people far and wide, is, well...
FOOD! It's everywhere!
Penny candy! (Baht candy?) Buckets of fun!
Which brings me to the main event in Trat. The holiest of the holy grails. The almighty - night market. Also known as, Food Street.
I'll let the pictures do the talking.
The Trat Market - fruits, curries and delights of all kinds. And I've done my best to try them all. It's like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter all in one and then some.
All we really need in life is good food and a comfortable place to sleep.
Let me introduce you to the Baan Jaidee Guest House. Or as I call it, home for $5/night.
Take your shoes off and stay awhile.
(Did you notice the indoor swimming pool?
The girls in the family go "swimming" every day after lunch. Cute!)
Alien koosh balls? Nope, these are rambutans - some more of the Thai Crazy Fruit. And behind them are lychees and longans. So good!
When it comes to alien fruits, the durian takes the fruitcake. Crazy looking - and how about that smell? When you eat them, they are creamier than custard with a slight hint of garlic in the flavor.
(Notice the hi-tech air conditioning unit for this vendor?)
I'm not saying those are a bunch of fruits on stage, but...
(Seriously, those are fruits, on the sign!)
I went with my German pal, Alex, for a big "night on the town" to the Fruit Festival. Since not much happens in Trat, (eg: you can only go to the cinema in January, there is only one bar, and everything is closed by 9pm) all the young people were dressed to impress. This was the place to be on a Sunday night in May.
In a country that serves the best Thai food in the world, I don't understand why people resort to eating the things that the rest of us spray with Raid...
That's got to be the coolest looking potato I have every seen!
It's the chip that never ends, brushed in fresh BBQ chili sauce.
(No, Asian food is not healthier than any other kind of food. But it is more beautiful.)
Since it's been five years since I've seen a dentist, and since health care is so much cheaper in Thailand (and everywhere) than it is in the US, and since I've had quite a bit of that bulk Baht candy and sugary Thai iced tea, I thought I'd see about having my teeth cleaned and getting a checkup. So, I was happy to come across this:
"More fun?" I pondered. "What could they do to make a trip to the dentist more fun?" So I went in. And, I found out.
Was it the cartoons playing on the big screen TV?
No, they turned to the news after I sat down.
Was it nitrous?
No, definitely not that. That would have been over the top.
If you want "fun" at the dentist, have a cavity drilled and filled without novocaine. By a doctor who doesn't speak to you. While you have your entire face (but not your shirt) covered with a heavy cloth.
Definite more "fun."