A Sailor Needs His Rum

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March 14th 2011
Published: March 14th 2011
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Saturday March 12th, 2011

Gulf of Thailand

Latitude 4 degrees 38 minutes’ north- Longitude 103 degrees 55 minutes’ east

Yesterday we stopped at the resort island of Ko Samui. It is the largest of several developed islands that belong to Thailand. The island was very lush and felt reminiscent of Polynesia. Thousands of coconut palms were everywhere and the island was very green and well watered. Mango, banana and lime trees were growing all along the roads and pathways. We rented a very fancy taxi-van with two other couples from the ship. Our driver said his name was Oz and the van was so plush it was sort of surreal. The inside of the van looked like a disco with mirrored tiles and lights in the ceiling. The seats were all leather bucket style and it was a very comfortable ride. The first place he took us was a waterfall where the locals were taking tourists on elephant rides for $30 US per person for about a 15 minute ride; an obvious tourist scam. We told Oz that we did not want to go to the usual tourist sites and directed him to take us to the south side of the island. I had read that side was the less developed area of the island. We stopped to look at some rock formations that jutted out into the ocean and right next to that was a local market where Jane bought four cool looking wooden spoons made out of some kind of striped wood for 100 Bot (about 3 dollars). Then, I saw a Rum Distillery listed on a detailed map I had gotten and asked Oz to take us there. It turned out to be a great find. We were the only tourists there and had the owner to ourselves. She had inherited the operation from her parents and gave us a very interesting presentation about the history of the estate and rum manufacturing in general. The child of a Vietnamese mother and a French father from Martinique she spoke English with a French accent. They grew all of their own sugar cane on the estate and made rum using an old family recipe from Martinique. They had a special kind of distillation equipment that came from France. She said their process took six hours instead of the usual two hours that many other factories use to make cheap rum. The proof was in the tasting and so we tried several different types and flavors to make sure what she was saying was the truth. I have tasted a lot of rum and I will have to say it would have even impressed my old cruising buddy “Captain Frog”. And believe me he knows rum. It was of course necessary to buy some to take back to the ship. After that we continued along the coast road and stopped at a little beach bar that was really off the beaten track. With a great view of five little islands right offshore and friendly service we hated to leave when it was time to head back to the ship. I think all of these islands in the Gulf of Thailand would be a good place to return for further investigation someday.

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16th March 2011

arrrrggghhh: More Rum
Sure wish I could visit that distillery with you guys. You make it sould like really Good Stuff. I still have 7 cases of Diamond stashed. I'll try to get a couple of cases to Asheville with me somehow. Maybe a case on the flight in late April. Keep them blogs coming. Frog

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