Week Thirteen - Hua Hin

Trip Start Aug 26, 2003
Trip End Aug 24, 2004

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Thursday, November 27, 2003

Day 85 - Tuesday 18 November

Up for 8am taxi. Same 4 wheel drive jeep for trecherous crossing back to pier. 45 minutes alter arrive in town bustling with farang. Tout selling tickets informs us that the only fast boat to Chumphon which seats 35 is fully booked. This is the first day of their season on which the fast boat has sailed. Quandry. Do we go to little nearby island by longtail boat and stay on only expensive resort or take the slow boat to Chumphon and stay there the night before travelling up to Hua Hin. Go to lovely French owned bakery for chocolate croissant to ruminate. Decide to get slow boat. Have to clamber across other boats to board. Old sort of fishing boat full of farang. Farang is the word for backpackers for those of you not aware. Long strips of foam for lying on under canopy. We decide to grab one of the seats at the stern in the nice morning sunshine. Bad move. Before we realise it the shaded deck is full of recumbent travellers and we are stuck for 6 hours under the blazing sun. Most sleep for the journey. We just roast. Nice flat calm seas which makes for a pleasant if hot trip. As we reach the mainland get chatting to English guy called Duncan who has just completed his Dive Master on Ko Tao. He is heading to Bangkok then following similar journey through Laos etc. He tells us that there isnt much to do in Chumphon and that we would be better to head on up North. Arrive in docks near Chumphon at 4. Get truck to station with Duncan to discover next train to Hua Hin and Bangkok not until 7.30pm. Discover there is a bus at 6pm so bid Duncan adieu and get tuk tuk to bus station. Nice Station Master, who is the double of the guy in the famous photo of the Vietnamese man getting shot in the head, looks after our backpacks whilst we take walk to find Internet Cafe to try to book accomm for Hua Hin. Vow to recreate photo if bags not there on our return. Eventually find one where Duncan is sitting. Book City Beach Hotel for 1900 Baht per night. About 30 quid. Bus takes 5 hours with one stop. We havent eaten today since choc Croissant so Peter decides to buy things on a stick at our only stop in petrol station. Reformed pork of some sort made to look like a sausage. Other one looks like and tasted like 4 white balls on a stick. Yuk. Back on bus two snoring monks amuse other travellers but annoy us. Arrive 11pm into Hua Hin. Lots of people about and looks like nice place. Tout offers to get us tuk-tuk. Whilst we wait Nic notices Hotel behind us. Thank tout for his help and walk to Hotel. Lovely room with the works. Crash.

Day 86 - Wednesday 19 November

Nice breakfast and book room for another 6 nights. Mark - Andys brother not here until Sat or Sun so will stay to meet then leave and go straight to Laos by plane via Bangkok. Check with tourism office that we can get 2am train on 25th to get us into Bangkok in time to get 8.30am flight to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Go to Travel company and book flights - 130 GBP for both and also book golf for P on Friday. Walk through lovely gardens of Sofitel Hotel where they filmed The Killing Fields. Lovely topiary. Rooms start at 6000 baht per night. Have cocktail in grounds and some satay. Ice cold towels crown it out. Walk along beach. Only beach in Thailand where horses are allowed - we think. Take photo for Sophie. Have dinner in Italian place few beers and back for nightcap in our lovely room.

Day 87 - Thursday 20 November

Wander around markets picking up few bits and bobs. Surprised to find bobs here. Get few Christmas cards and head back to Sofitel Hotel to write cards. Much beer and cocktails in most expensive place in town. Go then to the non expensive Andrenalin Bar for happy hour. Financial genius.

Day 88 - Friday 21 November

Early start. Peter picked up for transfer to Palm Hills Golf club at 9.30am. About forty quid for club hire, fees, caddy and transfer. Half hours drive away. Lovely wee caddy called Pe which is easy to remember. Clubs me beautifully and great reader of putts. Play with Thai couple from Bangkok and Eddy, another Thai guy from BKok who is travel agent. Very very hot and humid. After two holes trousers are soaked. Luckily wearing three part troos and startle others by walking onto third tee in shorts after arriving in longs. Dont understand what they all saying but glad to amuse. Play quite well and enjoy company. Bars every three holes provide much needed water. Nicola meanwhile lying on beach. Meet back at hotel at four. Peter sodden. Wander around town have dinner and back to hotel for couple of beers in room.

Day 89 - Saturday 22 November

Peter decides to try to play golf again today. Nicola happy to go to beach. At 8.30am Phone Royal Hua Hin Golf Club to see if they have any tee times. They say I can join 3 ball in twenty mins. Quick shower and cross road to get tuk tuk to course which isnt far away. Wake driver who says it will be 50 baht. Tell him to return to sleep. Cut off nose to spite face and leg it instead. Grumpy as ever in mornings. Arrive already soaked in sweat and join 3 Swedish guys. Royal Hua Hin is Thailands oldest and perhaps most royal course. Nice but not as nice as Palm Hills. Two of Swedes are single figure men the other just started. They are here in Hua Hin for two weeks and ask me if I will join them tomorrow to play Palm Hills. I say I will check with Nic. Their hotel is not good so I recommend City Beach. They transfer later that day. Once more return to hotel soaked. Get changed, have lunch - where Tomatoe Ketchup explodes over P ruining last pair of clean shorts - and find bar to watch some rugby match. Yawn. No doubt Andy suffering Hyperactive ENG Gland. Go back to hotel to see if any message from Mark. No word. Sit in hotel and have few beers. Decide to join Swedes for golf tomorrow. Pick up is at 9.30am. Presume Mark is only back late tonight and will meet tomorrow.

Day 90 - Sunday 23 November

Peter heads back to Palm Hills with Swedes whilst Nic heads to beach he says he is doing her a favour. At club Peter happens to be allocated Pe as caddy again. 300 caddies at course and Pe only works 3 days per week. She remembers my name. Wearing long trousers this time thanks to Tomato Ketchup and am v warm. Pe offers to cut legs off trousers. Ha ha. Play much better this time and narrowly avoid buying lunch. Christoph pays. Back to hotel meet Nic and message from Mark to arrange meet. Meet at 7.00pm. Dont really recognise. Have few beers at hotel then head into town. Seaview restaurant for best meal in Hua Hin yet. Mark picks courses. Last to leave restaurant. Go to Kings Bar - one of Marks haunts - for couple of frames. Mark never loses on this table. Ireland 2 - England 0. Money changes hands. Wont say how much. My Swedish golf partners join us. Great crack all round. Last to leave bar. Mark takes us to Hua Hin Brewery to famous disco attached to Hilton. Shortly after arrive music stops. Last to leave. Swedes head back to hotel after inviting P to join then at 8.45 tomorrow for more golf. Mark knows of late night drinking bar. The Bar With No Name. Flies are out in force but by this stage even Nicola ignores them. Impressed with how many bars seem to know Mark even though he has only been here since March. Couple of Swedish characters join us and some local girls. Swedes Bo Se and Arnold. At least we call him Arnold because he is huge and looks like Swartzenegger although he doesnt look it in the photo. Bo Se is very big and very funny. We are nearly the last to leave. Mark still there when we depart at about 5am. Later learn that he went to give alms to the monks with some friends at dawn. Very noble. Great nights craic.

Day 91 - Monday 24 November

Dont get up today until 1pm when P is sent across the road for Burger King. Three Whopper meals with milkshakes. Peter gets one. Back to bed to watch films. Mark suggested last night that we might be as well to get taxi to Bangkok for flight tomorrow to Laos. He phones to say that it is booked for 3am tonight at cost of 1600 baht. About 25 GBP. Saves any messing about on trains then taxi to airport etc. Arrange to meet for fairwell at 7.45pm. Spend rest of day in bed. Meet Mark and go for dinner. Few quiet drinks back at hotel. Mark gives us Lonely Planet Guide for Cambodia and plenty of tips. Eventually say goodnight at 11pm.

Good Books

Some good books that we have read -

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - 9/10
Life of Pie - 8/10
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathon Safran Foer - 10/10 - brill book - Steve and Andy would love. Have given to Mark so will see what he thinks.
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