Simon & Jackie’s 5 week trip taking in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ayuthaya, Ko Lanta & beyond.
  • Day36

    Day 35 - Crumpets & English Muffins

    January 14, 2020 in Thailand ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    From 8.00am, the Chinese were back in our communal bathroom having yet more showers. When the bathroom eventually became free we rushed in locking the communal door & opening our en-suite door. At least we had a bit of privacy for a short while.

    Jackie made a valiant attempt at doing her hair & applying her make up using a 2 inch square mirror.

    Just after 10.00am we took our rucksacks & shoes downstairs. Normally we would have left our shoes outside, but David advised us that the stray dogs may chew them.

    David organised us a taxi & after saying goodbye to everyone, including the Chinese, we off to the Bangkok Airport for our Thai Airways flight home.

    At Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, we treated ourselves to our traditional Double Whopper meal, which must be one of the dearest Burger Kings in the world.

    It was a new Boeing 777 that flew us home from Thailand 🇹🇭. We had the best seats in ‘cattle class’, row 71, which was the 1st 2 seats together behind a row of 3 seats. It gave us much more leg room, which I have to admit was all down to Jackie’a diligence to get them reserved at the first opportunity.
    The Thai crew were generous with their drinks, but the 2 dinners were pretty inedible.

    While Jackie watched movies, I watched Amazon Prime on my IPad & monitored the flight path, which had its potential dangers. Our route took us over Myanmar 🇲🇲 , then Bangladesh 🇧🇩 , northern India 🇮🇳 , with the Himalayas to our right. Next was Pakistan 🇵🇰& straight over the top of Afghanistan 🇦🇫 , just south of Kabul.

    We then avoided Iran, for obvious reasons, by heading north to Turkmenistan 🇹🇲 , then over the Caspian Sea into Azerbaijan 🇦🇿 , Armenia 🇦🇲 & Turkey 🇹🇷. It was then on over the Black Sea for the final leg passing over Romania 🇷🇴, Hungary 🇭🇺, Austria 🇦🇹, Germany 🇩🇪 & Belgium 🇧🇪

    The flight was very comfortable until we started the descent & got buffeted by cross winds from Storm Brenda. It was all a bit rocky & the landing was possibly the most hair-raising I’ve ever experienced. It didn’t help that Jackie was giving a running commentary.

    We got through customs & immigration, then discovered our coach would arrive at 9.00pm, 10 minutes late. Half way home, we stopped on hard shoulder to collect the passengers of another National Express that had broken down.

    At 11.15pm, we were also stopped on the side of the M23. Our coach has developed the same mechanical fault, windscreen wiper issues, as the other one that had broken down.

    Our replacement coach was also held up due to road closures at Gatwick. You couldn’t make it up!

    We got home at 00.15am for crumpets, English muffins & a nice cup of tea, all courtesy of Angela. Thank you.

    Song of the Day - England by Angelic Upstarts.
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  • Day35

    Day 34 - Ever Get The Feeling You’ve....

    January 13, 2020 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Been Cheated? Goodnight.

    At the usual time we had breakfast. Well, Jackie had coffee, a slice of watermelon & pineapple each & a mouthful of scrambled egg! The waiter kept laughing at us for some reason, maybe it was my Rockhopper Penguin hairdo or the fact that Jackie turned out to be wearing her vest top inside out.

    We then went back to the room to skilfully pack our rucksacks for the journey home. At 11.15am we checked out of the Clean Beach Resort & sat in reception to await the arrival of our ‘private’ transport, due at midday.

    At 11.45am, a local wandered into reception & enquired if we waiting for transport to Krabi. After showing him our ticket we loaded up the rucksacks into the back of the minibus, thanked the man we booked the trip through, who insisted on shaking our hands, then spread out across the seats. It seemed like good value in upgrading to ‘private’ for the paltry additional sum of £2.50 each!

    However we didn’t go anywhere, it turned out that we were sharing our ‘private’ minibus with 2 others who were in the restaurant having breakfast. Ten minutes later they appeared & we were off, speeding towards Krabi Airport.

    But no, we stopped several times until there were 12 passengers on board & all the seats taken. We were cursing Mr Trip Organiser who when we said “Goodbye”, must have been laughing that he had ripped us off. Stupid Farangs!

    The minibus journey was actually ok. We were the first stop & at 2.40pm, we disembarked at Krabi Domestic Terminal. We were the only occupants of the minivan getting off here & needless to say our rucksacks were at the bottom of a pile crammed in from floor to ceiling.

    Check in at the airport was straight forward & we tested security, who failed, because we sneaked through a bottle of moisturising oil in our hand luggage. Then whilst waiting in the departure lounge the heavens opened & there was a torrential downpour. This was the first rain we had actually seen on this trip. Maybe it is another omen!

    The flight onThai Smile Airways was fine apart from the chinless balding Yank sat next to us who was a bit excitable & kept shouting to his mates behind in a very irritating squeaky voice.

    We took a public taxi to our hotel, Bangkok Panda House, which was actually a hostel, but in a gated community. Jackie booked it. David the owner, who is half Malaysian, half Chinese, took us up to our family room. To our horror we discovered that we had a shared bathroom with 2 double rooms.

    We dumped our rucksacks & went back down to see David for a calming beer, but he had run out. He suggested we go to the 7-11 not much more than a quarter of a mile away on Thanon King Kaeo, which is a busy dual carriageway. He offered us the use of his motorcycle, but told us we would have to drive the wrong way up the dual carriageway, so we should go slow!

    We politely declined his kind offer & walked, doing our best not to antagonise the packs of stray dogs. At one point in the there were 5 dogs in front of us & 5 dogs behind us. In 7-11, we bought 6 large bottles of Chang, which was probably way too much. We then returned to Panda House where David was keen to demonstrate his culinary skills to us.

    David insisted we have his homemade Chinese dumplings, both steamed & fried, containing pork, fermented duck egg & other things & an array of spices. We had a total of 20, all of which were very nice. David was very passionate about his food & insisted we try his homemade sauces & we even tried raw fermented duck egg that had the texture of cheese. It was all an education.

    During the cooking process & dinner we got to say hello to some of the other residents of Panda House who were all sharing a mixed dorm. There was an old bald bloke covered in tattoos that was permanently looking at his phone in one hand, whilst zapping mossies with an electrified tennis racquet in the other. Then there was a skinny girl who walked in & had a chat, who had gone out that day in effectively a white string vest. Then there were 2 young blokes, who had apparently tried to share a single bed & finally another young lad who later that night came out in a pair of long johns & asked us to keep the noise down. Who said we were too old to party!!

    We were having a nice time chatting to David, when our 1st floor neighbours returned from a night out at the Bangkok Ladyboy Show. They were a Chinese mum, dad, son & daughter-in-law. Dad joined us at our table & insisted we join him for a pot of tea. It was made in the traditional way, the first brew thrown away to clean the leaves. Mum, son & daughter-in-law sat at another table & drank coke.

    They seemed a nice family & were able to have half a conversation with them through David. Dad giggled a lot & loudly, which caused the request to quieten down. We discovered they were from Jiuzhaigou in western China, which is just a 3 hour flight away. They were keen to show us on google maps where it was & the images looked stunning.

    It was their 1st time in Thailand & they had stayed in this hostel for the entire week, which is really bizarre because it takes an hour to get into Bangkok city centre.

    At 11.45pm, the wife & youngsters went to bed, we then turned in not long after midnight. We then had to sit in our room, whilst the Chinese were showering in our communal bathroom, waiting for one to finish so we could use the loo & clean our teeth. Their showering continued until 12.45am.

    Song of the Day - No Fun by Sex Pistols.

    2nd Song of the Day - One Night in Bangkok by Murray Head.
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    Angela Bambridge

    You lost me at communal bathrooms!! Safe journey home! xx

  • Day34

    Day 33 - Are We So Predictable?

    January 12, 2020 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    I think we are. We know what we like!

    We got up at the usual time, skipped breakfast, then took up our usual spot on the deckchairs outside Soul Kitchen. I went for my usual run, then went for our usual beach walk.

    Upon returning to Soul Kitchen, I walked towards the bar, when one of the three staff, called out “Big Water”. Exactly what we needed & usually got.

    We had a pre-lunch walk, before walking up into the restaurant, where the staff started giggling & presented us with our usual 2 large Changs. I ordered the Garlic Dhal Set, that won us over on our 1st ever visit & Jackie ordered Tempura Prawns & a naan bread. (She was suffering naan envy!).

    The GDS was as good as the 1st time & Jackie had a mountain of battered prawns so that she could hardly eat any of her naan. I had to assist in that department rendering me unable to order a dessert. The lunch was further washed down with our usual second large Chang.

    The afternoon was more walking, followed by a big water & once Happy Hour arrived, I headed to the bar & was given two small Chang, which we usually order. It was then ‘Same Same’ for two more, then we blindsided them by ordering Mangodaquiri each to end our last day in Khlong Nin Beach.

    We decided our final meal would be at MaMa’s Style, so it came as no surprise to find that it was closed for the night. It was an omen, we were supposed to eat in Soul Kitchen. I ordered Massaman curry for a final time & Jackie last minute chose chicken kebab & chips, which unexpectedly was wrapped in a Naan bread. We ended up having half each. As an unexpected bonus, I was now able to order the mango & sticky rice topped with coconut & sesame. Jackie was only going to have a mouth full, because she doesn’t really like it, but managed to eat half of it, then said we had eaten too much & should skip breakfast.

    We’ll see.

    Song of the Day - Soul Kitchen by The Doors.
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  • Day33

    Day 32 - Pesky Kids Ruined Our Lunch

    January 11, 2020 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

    The plan today was to have a decent lunch at Soul Kitchen. After discussions, we agreed that we would go to breakfast, but we hardly ate anything. I had two slices of toast & scrambled egg which was apparently too much. Jackie had a mouthful of toast & egg. Still we would appreciate lunch at Soul Kitchen all the more!

    The Irish tinkers were also at breakfast, but had multiplied to four. They really do breed like rabbits!!

    Out we went to lap our last two days of sun. We arrived at Soul Kitchen to discover it was closed, as were half the other bars & restaurants. Luckily it was quiet & we found an acceptable alternative in Otto Restaurant that had identical deckchairs.

    Having apparently eaten too much breakfast, I went straight off for my run on soft sand due to the high tide. Upon returning to Jackie we went straight off for a walk & discovered the source of the restaurant closures.

    It was another ‘Children’s Day’ in a marquee at the end of the beach. Hundreds of parents with their children at what could best be described as a festival / fair / beauty pageant. There were kids everywhere, sprawling out on to the beach & into the sea.

    We tried lunch at Otto’s which is a German Restaurant & serving predominantly western food. We ordered Spring Rolls & some fat chips to accompany our Changs. It was naughty, but nice.

    In the afternoon, Jackie decided to go down to the waters edge & lie on the sand in everyone’s way, whilst I had a siesta under my book. I woke up sometime later to see Jackie’s sarong still at the waters edge, still in everyone’s way, but no sign of her.

    Forty minutes later, she still hadn’t returned & I was considering getting up out of my deckchair to look for her, when she appeared with shiny blue toenails . Apparently she had had a pedicure & her toenails varnished by one of the little ladies.

    As one might expect, the German bar didn’t have a Happy Hour, so we had a sunset drink instead, before going shopping. We bought our last Hong Thong of this trip & a shed load of crisps & nuts, which wouldn’t surprise me if the purchases pushed us into the realms of excess baggage!!

    We hauled our shopping back to the room, only to discover that the maids hadn’t cleaned our room, instead just left loo roll & water outside our door. I blame the kids!

    I later enquired at reception why our room hadn’t been cleaned & allegedly it was due to sickness, more like pulling a ‘sickie’ so they could go to the Children’s Day. I still blame the kids!!

    After getting ready, we sat on the balcony with a Hong Thong & admired the dire dress sense of our Eastern European neighbours - Ill-fitting vests & shorts. We might’ve donated some clothes to them if they weren’t so glum 🙁.

    We went back to Spicy Spicy, which we now know is officially called Lay Lanta Bar & Restaurant. It turned out to be all about Jackie & her spice - spicy spicy 🥵 🌶. She ordered Mussels & a curry fried rice. The owner got so caught up on how spicy Jackie wanted it, that she forgot to ask me what I wanted. I later ordered chicken curry in coconut sauce. All lovely & bloody spicy. We weren’t allowed to have a pudding, unless we shared, so we decided against it, apparently.

    Song of the Day - Saturday’s Kids by The Jam.
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  • Day32

    Day 31 - Visiting Old Haunts

    January 10, 2020 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Went to breakfast at 9.00am & firstly was disturbed to find 2 Irish tinkers in the pool drinking beer & playing music loudly for that time of the morning. I hope to hell they are not in the room next to us. Come back sour krauts all is forgiven.

    We were then thrown off kilter by the breakfast buffet disappearing & instead a cook to order policy. We both ordered the American breakfast of decent coffee, juice, toast that was bread that would have been more toasted if left in the sun for 10 minutes, decent scrambled eggs & a hideous chicken sausage & ham.

    After breakfast we hired a scooter & set out for the top of the island. Our first stop was Long Beach, which we soon considered lucky we weren’t staying at. It was dull & lifeless.

    We continued on & spotted an old hotel, Lanta Mermaid, we had stayed in for 3 nights back in 2012. We stopped to inspect the beach & decided it was pretty good, but we prefer where we are now. We had a walk to blow away a few cobwebs & we were struck by how much more built up it was since we stayed there.

    Onwards & northwards we went until we arrived at Ban Sala Dan. We drove through the ‘Walking Street Market’ & was very impressed with the little seafront restaurants & shops. It was our first visit & didn’t know it existed before.

    We then picked up the road that runs down the eastern side of the island & headed south towards Old Lanta Town. There are no beaches to speak of on this side of the island, instead mangroves & a dug up road ‘Under Construction’. We had to slow to avoid ploughing in to a troop of monkeys crossing the road.

    We rode straight past Old Lanta Town & pioneered our way along virtually dirt roads to the southern end of the island. It was an arduous journey & quite frankly not worth the effort. The only thing of note at the end was a school that was having a children’s day, that all the parents seemed to be attending. Not our scene!

    We returned to Old Lanta Town, parked up & had a stroll through the high street. Jackie accurately compared it to an eastern version of an old western town in America without the Sheriffs. It was very quaint. The restaurants on the sea side are all at the end of jettys. We selected Pinto Restaurant, because no-one was trying to entice us in.

    The waitresses seemed a bit miserable, but I did my usual of grinning like an idiot & loudly saying hello to them, forcing them into a response. Jackie hates it when I do that!

    Both the setting & food were glorious. Jackie had a seafood & lemongrass salad & I had sweet & sour pork & vegetables. It was a very enjoyable meal & the waitress even smiled.

    After a stroll around, we saddled up & cut through the island back to the western coast. We passed Mrs Thip at her Lanta Thip House. This was the other place we stayed at in 2012, which is ingrained in our memory after Jackie hurled a hefty glass ashtray through the balcony ceiling of the flat below just missing the occupants, but that is another story!

    We stopped at Beautiful Beach for old times sake & had a beer from the shack in the dying sun. It was an appropriate place to end a beautiful day.

    We now have a new set of sour Krauts next to us, but I did my usual & forced them into begrudgingly saying hello.

    That night we returned to MaMa’s Style for an eclectic mix of battered calamari & chips, morning glory & Massaman curry for me. We still haven’t repeated the morning glory that was so good in Spicy Spicy.

    Song of the Day - What a Beautiful Day by The Levellers.
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  • Day31

    Day 30 - Inglorious Morning Glory

    January 9, 2020 in Thailand ⋅ 🌙 29 °C

    How do we manage to wake up at 2.30am & not get back to sleep again?

    We went to breakfast & had toast & bananas. The coffee was still cheap instant rubbish.

    After breakfast we booked our minivan to Krabi Airport for lunchtime on Monday. It was then down the beach & a brisk walk to the end & back to burn breakfast. I couldn’t see anything on the outward journey other than severe suntan lotion sting in my eyes. Drastic action was required & I had to have a sea water eye bath!

    After the walk, I immediately followed it up with a run along the usual route. Lunch was liquid only. After we did the walk for a second time, then abused Happy Hour.

    The big news is that the Roi Thai sign has been taken down & the restaurant is now trading under the La Marina name only. Did I run Roi Thai out of town with my scathing review?

    The beach had been quieter today, probably people starting to go home for work on Monday. So we went to highly reviewed Jai Dee Restaurant, which has always been full when we’ve previously looked. Lo & behold there was a spare table so we grabbed it.

    What a disappointment. The service was slow, bordering on I think they forgot about us, the 2 different chicken dishes looked & tasted the same & the morning glory was flaccid & tasteless.

    It will be back to MaMa’s Style & Spicy Spicy only for the remainder of our stay in Ko Lanta.

    Song of the Day - Morning Glory by Oasis.
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  • Day29

    Day 29 - Naughty Jellyfish!

    January 7, 2020 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Breakfast wasn’t much to write home about. The only good things were decent bread & toaster & bananas.

    No running today, but we walked the entire beach twice. The only thing of note was on our walk we were approached by a cockney geezer in his 60s with his missus, who said “Can I rack your brains?”
    “Go ahead”.
    “Those purple jellyfish things, are they really...................................naughty?”
    We didn’t know the answer, but we were able to reassure him that they didn’t sting”.

    Lunch became a discussion point about whether we should have breakfast or lunch, because we can’t have both! I favoured breakfast as it’s free. In the end we shared a satay chicken anyway.

    We stayed on the beach until sunset, then got home showered & went out. After we wandered round & ended up at MaMa’s Style for a couple of very fine Massaman curries. Definitely our favourite dish of the trip.

    Song of the Day - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson.
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  • Day29

    Day 28 - You know You Make Me Wanna.....

    January 7, 2020 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    We got up at 9.30am, showered & packed our rucksacks. It was our last night in Paedoville. It wasn’t that bad & in fact I could have stayed on, but Jackie was having none of it.

    After packing, we still had half a bottle of Hong Thong & one can of Coke Zero, so we demolished it for breakfast. Whilst we were doing this on our balcony, a 12 year old paedo victim & simpleton, came over & introduced himself as Adam. He insisted on shaking our hands & telling us about his cut finger. “Jackie grab the bags we are leaving now”.

    We checked out with chubby Alex & told him we were going up the road for a change of scenery. What we really meant was that we were going more upmarket.

    For some reason Jackie had dressed up like Lulu in a short dress, which made backpacking seem ridiculous. So instead it cost us 100 Baht (£2.50), which is actually a lot, to be carried by Tuk Tuk about 400 metres up to Clean Beach Resort. We checked in, but our room wasn’t ready, so we dumped our bags in reception & headed for the beach.

    Jackie was made up with our new accommodation & insisted we had a celebratory Chang at Soul Kitchen. We then walked the entire length of the beach & had a dip in our secret infinity pool. There were a couple of workers, but we didn’t get caught.

    Lunch consisted of Pad Thai & Massaman curry, then we collapsed into our deckchairs for the afternoon. It was the best sunset of our trip so far, so it would have been rude to leave early.

    We finally paid our bill then set off for 7-11 for a bottle of Hong Thong. We returned to our ‘luxury’ abode, got ready & had a quick snifter on our new balcony.

    Next door are a couple of sour Krauts in their 60s who didn’t acknowledge us, even when I said hello. Utter weirdos. He was sat in his swimming trunks & a hat & she came out wrapped in just a small towel.

    We then returned to scene of SpicySpicygate. Funnily enough they remembered us. Jackie ordered mussels - spicy & I had chicken with garlic & peppers, but the star of the show was our side order of Morning Glory. A new favourite. We also ordered corn on the cob, but it arrived after everything else by which time we were full.

    The evening ended with us on our balcony playing Johnny Cash at Glastonbury on the IPad.

    Song of the Day - Shout by Lulu.
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    Gavin Farley

    Hilarious mate, you need to publish these. With Adam on the cover 😂

    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Funnily enough I didn’t get a photo of Adam.

  • Day28

    Day 27 - Pizza Pandemonium

    January 6, 2020 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    After plonking ourselves down in deckchairs at Soul Kitchen, I then went for my customary run along the beach, followed by walks up & down the beach.

    We planned to have a pizza tonight, so we decided to have just a couple of starters for lunch. We ordered Crispy Tofu with Peanut dip & Fried Sweet Potato with Tahini (Sesame Dip). The Crispy Tofu was exceptionally & unexpectedly good.

    The afternoon was spent in our deckchairs right through to sunset, with the usual libations at Happy Hour.

    That evening we went out for our much anticipated pizza at the French Bakery, which gets rave reviews. Outside, Jackie started having second thoughts on whether she wanted pizza, which resulted in us walking up & down the street, before deciding we would have pizza.

    We entered the French Bakery & went to sit at the best positioned table, but the waitress informed us it was reserved. It did have a sign on it to that effect. She ushered us to another, but it was too close to the ovens. It was already a hot night, so we got up & sat at a table on the other side of the restaurant, but decided we didn’t like it because it was near a pool table. SO we got up again & plonked ourselves on a table for six at the front of the restaurant. The waitress who had been monitoring our movements came over & informed us that the table was for 4 or more people. By now I think everyone in the restaurant was aware of our presence & the owner (who had been tending the ovens) stormed over, snatched the reserved sign off our 1st choice table & said we could sit there. He then said something to the waitress that sounded decidedly like he was giving her a rollocking. What a kerfuffle, not the entrance we had in mind!

    Having perused the menu, Jackie came out with the immortal line “Shall we share just one?”
    I was flabbergasted “You are bloody joking, we’ve only had a starter all day”. So that was it, we ordered 2 pizza, a pepperoni for Jackie & a ‘Lanta’ for me.....when in Rome.

    The pizzas came out & were a huge warm disc of doughy loveliness. Jackie spent the next half an hour telling me why we should have shared just the one. It didn’t help that I couldn’t finish all of mine & Jackie ate not much more than half of hers!

    After dinner we took a trip to the 7-11 for some provisions, then returned to our balcony for a game of Cribbage. Jackie won, but only with my assistance!!

    Song of the Day - Pandemonium by Killing Joke.
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    Chris Bambridge

    Well done Jackie....I remember the Irish Sea game. Just shows the skill of my partner!

    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Leave it. That wound is still raw. Simon

  • Day27

    Day 26 - Spicy? Spicy Spicy

    January 5, 2020 in Thailand ⋅ 🌙 27 °C

    Straight to the beach today & claimed our usual beds outside Soul Kitchen. I then took my usual run along the beach, but now barefooted. My toe is just about healed now.

    Later after a short walk we had an early lunch, Jackie a Tom Yum prawn rice dish & I, chicken & cashew nuts with a naan. Then followed a long walk along the beach, which had become a jellyfish graveyard. Hundreds of round transparent blobs were littering the sand & shallow waters. I embarrassingly screamed when one brushed my foot. It was more embarrassing, when on the return journey, we saw a young girl picking the jellyfish up & throwing them back in the sea!

    We couldn’t have our daily dip in the infinity pool, because there were some builders working there.

    At happy hour, we took full advantage, but this time sat in a couple of deckchairs (like Darby & Joan) until dusk & the restaurants were starting to fill up with early evening diners.

    That night we went to another street shack. Jackie went for Tom Yum Soup with prawns from the bbq, whilst I ordered a chicken curry in coconut milk. The owner asked Jackie “Spicy?”, to which Jackie replied “Spicy Spicy”.

    When her soup arrived, Jackie tucked in and soon her nose was running, her eyes were watering & she was turning a delicate shade of beetroot. The paper napkins were used up within minutes, but apparently it was lovely. The staff were laughing when they came over to check that everything was ok, which included the chef, who wanted to know which idiot ordered it spicy spicy.

    My curry was very nice, but spicier than usual. I think I got tarred with the same brush.

    We returned home so Jackie could be close to a toilet & we sat outside our room with a Hong Thong listening to The Stereophonics on the iPad.

    Song of the Day - This Life Ain’t Easy (But It’s The One That We All Got) by The Stereophonics.
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