We took a break and flew to Thai land for 5 days. Considering the fact that my leaves were tentative even on the eve of the weekend, it was a miracle that it did happen!
And more importantly, am glad that it did. Thailand was chosen because it promised to fit snugly into our small pockets. To some extent, it did and was worth every penny (baht!) shelled.
We spent 2 days in the city of Bangkok, watching the bustling city co-exist with the historic Wats (Buddhist temples in Thai) with seamless ease; like India, may be! Since English speaking Thai are a rarity, we found our self playing Dumb Charades, most of the time, right in the middle of the roads! "Could you tell me why the Palace is closed today" is deftly translated to "Why (2 palms facing skywards) closed (2 arms crossed)? King coming?"!! Was fun, I tell you!
Among other interesting places in Bangkok, we found this amazing food court in Siam Paragon ground floor where you will be spoiled for choices. OK, I found just one veg counter among, probably, 500 counters. Being a hard core non-veg helped! Khao pat, Pad Thai, Tom yum are the common signature words we learnt in this quest! As for me, I preferred to check every thing that had a mention of gai or kai (chicken)! In the end, it would all boil down to any one of the famous red/green or yellow curry, as R said!
The next 3 days were spent at Phuket. To my surprise, Phuket showed striking similarity to Kerala and Goa. The typical Portuguese style houses (a search on the internet now confirms my guess - Phuket indeed has lot of Sino-Portuguese architecture), the beaches, the relaxed locals, the coconut-influence in the Southern Thai cuisine(rather the Thai Muslim curries), the surplus cashew and rubber plantations,the massage parlours(!!), and not to mention, the tide of Western tourists. But I heard Sand drifting off to a "When-I-was-in-the-US" style "Reminds me of Florida" :-)
Phi phi islands getaway was our #1 in the agenda. I had ogled at the turquoise colored water on the Google maps for too long to miss this one. And it didn't disappoint at all. Cliched, you might think, but there is not a better way to describe it - Pristine beaches, turquoise water, right-out-of-a-lost-world hidden bays, and the most beautiful corals and fishes. It will make no sense me describing. I won't do justice! Check it out yourself. I rest my case!
Khai Nai island. (click to enlarge)
So thats about a short write-up. Being back in Bangalore faced with the chore of unpacking, washing, grocery shopping and cooking; worst of all, the fast coming Monday turned me a maniac for the weekend. This week trudged on with me still thinking I was waking up at Phuket each morning and then realizing that I had a job to attend to :-( This has been my worst, lengthiest hangover ever. Sand says one look at Shanthi Sagar got him to back to real life. But for me, Shanthi Sagar also reminds me of exotic Thai dishes :-((
And to break the monotony of the week, we friends planned an OPT on Wednesday. Movie chosen was Kerala Cafe. A half-burnt Innovative Multiplex still lured us all with a ticket priced Rs. 100 (a jackpot in Bangalore!). If you can comprehend Malayalam, then just don't miss this. I'm not going to give a detailed review (like this *don't click that if you plan to watch the movie* crazy guy at rediff who didn't leave out any spoiler from the review - sue him!) or even a basic one. If you badly want one, may be you can wait for it to appear here. All I say is just go for it. Its a rare experiment of Anthology movie, done by 10 talented Malayalam directors and crew. Each story is woven in ten minutes with skill unmatched. One movie which tells you Malayalam cinema is still in safe hands! Made me feel a proud Keralite.
PS : Interesting Thai trivia - 'Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit' is the full ceremonial name of Bangkok, the world's longest name for a city!