Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thailand - Incredulous

What an odd place. We've been on holiday for two weeks and I'm confused and amazed.

I'm staying in a 5 star resort with oompa loompas carrying luggage up and down 3 flights of stairs. Shiny purple outfits, long white socks, and black shoes. No lifts but just the sight of these characters hauling 30+kg luggage up and down stairs. Cheers to you oompas!

I walk down the pavement with the trend being people on the right, and yet the cars drive on the left!? This doesn't conform with the way it works in NZ, AU, US.

They drive like complete lunatics and yet whenever parking on a slope they carefully put a brick under the front tyre - even for the numerous brand spanking new Hilux 4wd utes. And just why are so many of the vehicles so new? I couldn't afford one of these back home.

We're walking through Krabi township and an Islamic girl walks by in headress and long sleeve shirt - imprinted with the Playboy motif...

Across the country comes the sound of Hotel California - why, why, why!???

We eat lunch at a small white walled joint with the usual cooking stations out the front. It costs between 25 and 50 baht for lunch, about 1/5th the daily income of many of these people in the room. It's almost nothing to me and yet back home we'd squirm if we had to pay 3x as much on lunch.

Five drinks at a bar with a pool table cost us more than a candlelite, waitered meal by the sea with a 1kg crab selected from the tank and freshly cooked on the spot for us. How on earth does that work?

We go to Rei Lei and visit the Diamond cave. We're the only visitors during our stay - and yet Rei Lei is full of people, bars, guest houses, resorts, posing climbers, mad uncontrolled development, crap stuck in the mangroves, and the general detritus of short term exploitation. The cave was worth the visit.

And Hotel California plays where ever we go...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Artisan Bread Makers Guide

After spending the last 15 mins searching yet again in Google for my favourite pizza dough site, I've got the time and the smarts (for once) to load it on this blog. From now on I will know the link - and maybe you can get some use as well.


And just in case the site ever goes down the essential recipe (as originally adapted from Vincenzo Buonassisi's PIZZA Plus, English Edition, William Collins & Sons Ltd. 1985, who adapted it from the original Italian Edition by Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri, S.p.A., Milan, 1982. ISB 0-00-411202-4... ya da ya da ya da...):

2 tsp dry yeast (14g)
1/4 cup water (59g)
3/4 cup flour (100g)

Let starter work for 1 hour.

7/8th to 1/4 cups water (207 to 296ml) (depending upon desired wetness of dough - refer to site for details)
2 1/4 cups flour (300g)
1 tsp salt (5g)

After kneading leave to double in bulk on floured cotton (100%) canvas.

Cook at high heat on pizza stone or in pizza oven - should be complete in less than 5 mins.

Also, note that the home page is a good jumping off point into other sections as well... http://www.theartisan.net/

Monday, October 09, 2006

Another dark and (slightly) stormy night

But what a great adventure...spotting eels and fish by torch light.

 I've never seen so many fish in a small river before. They were spell bound by the light. With my hand in the water I could attempt to grab them - but the wriggly eels would slip straight out - so very slippery and velvety smooth, but not far. They just hunker down again and hope you've gone away.

What had in the past seemed so ugly and returned such childhood fears, seemed instead quite pretty and so very well set in the background of the dark bush and running river. 

And the little native fish - again we could spot them out: splotchy black and stunned at our arrival. Silly buggers, but smart enough to know to run when I tried to bend down and touch them. They very would very quickly depart.

Back on the 4 wheel bike up and over the boulders on the river bank, through the water then racing past the trees looking out for possums. None seen - lucky for them because the rifle was only a short return trip.