Saturday, November 26, 2016

Mairood Resort

We were here at this time last year, and in some ways I could say what a difference a year makes (it was the king's birthday last year, and this year his death is being mourned) and in other ways it seems like very little has changed. We are staying in the same room as last year, the top floor of a house ("Upper Heaven," with "Lower Heaven" being the downstairs floor), so our view is the same beautiful view, the pool is the same lovely pool, the rhythms of our days are the same, and the village looks the same at first glance.

Given our age and interests, it's never the case that our vacations are fast-paced and physically demanding. We love little more than poking around markets and walking around town, because what we're after when we travel is the feeling of a place. Obviously we can't have a real sense of what it is to live in a place, we don't fool ourselves into thinking we've gained that, but we do develop our sense of the differences from one town, one region, one country to another. Even so, coming to Mairood is low-key, even for us. The only walking we can really do is through the alleyways and piers around the fishing village, and there isn't a local market, per se. So we wander, we poke around, we respond to children's happy hellos, we relax by the pool, we take naps, we lounge, I read, we eat all three meals that Chin and group prepare, we go on mini-jaunts with Chin and/or Judy, and we look at the sky.

This makes for a dreamy bit of vacation, but it doesn't leave much storytelling to do. This is really the nature of this entire vacation -- partly because we are returning to two places we've recently been, and partly because of the nature of the two specific places -- but maybe that's OK this time, because the tremendous stress and horribleness of the election really wore on us. Getting away this year was a different experience; we were hoping we could just leave it all behind, be here, and we've done our best with that but I think we are both still so flattened by it.

So, no stories except in picture captions:

There's Chin, the owner, petting Yaya. She nosed the gate open and came up to get a head rub
before lumbering off to the kitchen for her buttered, sugared toast. Chin said she was grumpy until she got her toast.

breakfast always begins with a fresh fruit bowl, and good, strong coffee

Although I also love their homemade yogurt and muesli, we both really adore this
rice soup, with lots of fresh ginger and toasted garlic, and parsley. This bowl has pork.

We had this amazing fish for dinner the first night we arrived; there aren't really other places to eat, here, so
Chin offers a meal plan too -- and the dinners especially are quite good. He doesn't have a menu, he just
makes what is fresh and good at the markets. This fish was just so, so, so good it eased us out of our
13-hour car-plane-plane-car travel day blues.

Chin has dual citizenship, Thai and American, and lives part of each year on Nantucket. So his
aesthetics are influenced by both places, and the dining area, an open-air patio, shows
his love of the New England island colors and furnishings.....but see the tall
statue behind Marc (who is eating that fabulous breakfast soup).
The village doesn't seem much different at first glance, although they finished widening the sidewalks they were working on when we were here last, so there's a little more room for pedestrians and motorcycle riders -- although not much, really, because the extra space is often taken up for parking motorcycles and handcarts. Still, I thought it seemed quieter, fewer people, less activity, and definitely fewer boats. Chin said that yes, the fishing activity has dropped dramatically because of EU import requirements that the villagers have not been able to meet. Their nets need smaller openings, and there is something about licensing that I didn't quite follow, so the villagers, who are quite poor, either could not afford to meet the requirements or they moved their fishing operation to Cambodia, which is very near us here in Khlongyai. Last year there were fantastic squid boats, sometimes three deep along the dockside, and great levels of activity. We didn't see any squid boats at all this year (they're easily recognized by the long arms strung with bright lightbulbs that are used to lure the squid), and there weren't many regular fishing boats, either. Last year we passed home after home of women and kids picking crab, or families sorting crab, and this year we saw only one or two instances of that.

ingenious use of shells for weights -- you use what is available

The village extends far beyond these homes on the water, but they're all we ever see, so to us this is the village

they haven't opened their windows yet

just so few boats. :(

it's like a boat ghost town

Last year, I asked Chin about all the half-sunk (or mostly-sunk) boats we saw everywhere. He said the villagers are too poor to fix the boats so they leave them to sink. We wonder why they don't at least salvage materials, but maybe that is not the best use of their time. So hard for us to know, but we saw lots of sunk boats again this year.

we see this one when we're on our porch

The property is so quiet, although it's jam-packed with all kinds of animals -- so many dogs and cats, and cages of birds, and roosters and there were turkeys but a wild dog ate them.

the beach on one edge of the village

orchids everywhere, and birds of paradise

yeah, that's a cat on a hot tin roof (underneath are kept chickens and roosters and turkeys)

Marc relaxing on our lovely, lovely veranda/porch...

from which this is the early morning view......

or this.

a very nice pool

Saturday morning coffee before we head over for breakfast. This is the first trip where I've brought my own
coffee gear, and it's WONDERFUL!

so here's Yaya, the pig, who has the run of the place. She's pretty hilarious and wonderful.

...and LARGE. Chin thought he was buying a potbelly pig.

These brilliant yellow flowers are everywhere.
One day we went into Khlongyai with Chin, because we needed to stop by a bank and he was going to the market. We stopped for lunch afterwards -- gra prow kai dow, my favorite. I didn't think to get a picture of it, I was too eager to eat it.

These are mysteriously called "big eye fish." No idea why. :)

Chin buying the fish he would later cook for our dinner

We watched a woman brilliantly filleting these small fish, and these bits will be
sent to the cat food factory.

It was a pretty routine market, cement floors and inside a building -- about as far removed from the tiny one in Nong Khiaw as it could be.

A couple more days here, this may be the only post from Mairood because it'll just be more of the same. More of the lovely, relaxing same.

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