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Published: February 24th 2010
Our Pink Taxi
pretty cool way of fuelling up, huh?
We got up Friday morning and decided we're too lazy to schlep our bags to the Sky Train stop and ordered a taxi. On the way, the cabbie asked where we were going and he said he'd take us there (2.5 - 3 hours) for 2,000 Baht (about $60 USD). After doing the math, we decided it was going to cost us close to half that amount and would require at least 4 more baggage transfers. We opted to splurge and take our pink cab all the way for the next 3 hours.
Interestingly enough, it seems that most cars & cabs in Thailand run on propane rather than gasoline or diesel. When pulling into a gas station along the way, there are pumps that dispense 3 or 4 different octane levels of gasoline plus diesel, but most of the pumps are only for propane. Propane is much cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Gasoline costs about 3 1/2 times more than LP gas.
Our cab has a tank that takes up about half the trunk of his Toyota Corolla. He gets about 150 kilometers (95 miles) on a tank. Therefore he gets about 8 miles per gallon. Assuming a
Hua Hin Beach
Not the best we've seen but better than Minnesota this time of year
Corolla gets 30 miles per gallon on gasoline, at relative prices it’s $0.11 per mile on gas or $.087 per mile on propane and they’re preserving the environment.
It costs about $500 to convert a gas-burning automobile from gasoline to propane. Considering that North Dakota and Montana have enough natural gas reserves to power us into the 23rd century, why don’t we just tap into that and thumb our noses at the Arabs? We could be nearly foreign oil-free in a matter of a couple of years and keep all those energy dollars at home. Our politicians in Washington have their heads in the sands (of Arabia?) and what are we as mere voters to do?
However, the environmentalists in Washington DC won’t allow even eco-friendly drilling to tap those resources, just as the environmentalists in California won’t allow efficient solar energy harvesting in the deserts. Oh, well, I digress.
Hua Hin is set on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand, Hua Hin has a population of around 55,000 people and the King of Thailand has his summer palace, Klai Kang Won (Far from Worries), adjoining the beach. Since we’re both concerned with things like
Sundance Hotel Pool
Notice the elephants guarding the pool.
blood pressure, Far From Worries is a good thing.
Our time in Hua Hin has been spent a little boutique hotel attached to the largest private hospital in the area. The primary reason the Sundance Wellness Residence was opened in 2007 is to accommodate people who are patients or families of patients at the adjoining hospital. The grumpy old men are feeling safe, secure and coddled. We check our BP and pulse every few hours and are grateful that the ER is only steps away.
We had a chance encounter with the Thai man who owns the hotel. It turns out, he graduated from UNLV (I’m a Runnin’ Rebel, he says) in 1970, about the same time we were sprung from the University of Minnesota. We judge him to be about 3 years younger than us because he didn’t have to spend time in the US military. He first built the hospital in 1997 and started the hotel 10 years later. Our conversation lead to his and our time in Las Vegas, he as a student, we as Grumpy Young (sorta) Men who were attending the COMDEX (computer) convention for many years.
The hotel has a nice
Pad Thai 'R Us
Our favorite food vendor at the street market. She's one of about 2 dozen, but definitely the most smiley. She's the one with the pan, not the pot.
little pool jealously guarded by fierce elephants (see picture). It’s not very deep but it sure is relaxing. We have found that trying to brave the midday sun here is sheer insanity. Even poolside in the shade it’s hot. I’d say it’s been close to 100 degrees Farenheit (42 C) every day. The air conditioned room seems soooooo nice.
The hotel and hospital are located on the main street of town adjacent to the Street Market. At least I think that’s what it’s called. Six days per week the place is overrun with booths like a flea market and one whole side (about a block long) is filled with food stalls. They have some of the best Thai food imaginable and it’s very very fresh. As to expense, you know us, we eat like kings have an entrée about 2 in the afternoon and again about 8 at night along with a couple of large Chang (Thai beer) for about $6-$10 US per day for the two of us. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The picture here is of our favorite Pad Thai (a Thai dish that I most often order when back in Minnesota and
You sit with your feet dangling in the tank of water and let the little fish do their thing. $15 an hour to get nibbled by minnows? I don't think so. Somebody must like it.
am at a Thai restaurant) place, where she cooks the best ever. She smiles all the time and is always so happy to see us, even if we eat at one of her neighbor’s food stalls.
Massage in Thailand is a booming industry. Everywhere you turn, there's a massage shop. Most popular is the Thai Massage which I think is a little like a full-body visit to the chiropractor. My 1-hour Thai massage in Bangkok cost 300 Baht (about $9) and afterwards, I hurt in places I didn't know existed. How one little 90-pound girl can inflict that much damage on legs, backs, arms and an entire grumpy old body, I'll never figure out.
While we were in Bangkok, we saw a sign advertising a Fish Massage. Here in Hua Hin, we actually got to see one in the street market. We are both having a hard time understanding why one would pay $15 per hour to have your feet nibbled by minnows. If you’d really like that, come to our Minnesota lakes next summer and you can do it there for free.
We’ve taken a stroll down the beach and have been under whelmed. The water
gives new meaning to working the high wire
and beach are nice enough, but we’ve been spoiled by the multicolored water and coral sand that doesn’t burn your feet as in Caribbean Mexico. Also the beach access is very limited and there is really only one public entrance into the beach area. That is about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) on foot from our hotel. When we walked down there the other day, we cheated and snuck through a fancy hotel.
I know the water on the west side of the Thai peninsula (like Phuket) in the Andaman Sea is of the colors that rival the Caribbean. We’ll get there next week.
Originally we had planned to spend 4 days in Cambodia and then move on to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for 3 days and then 3 days in Singapore, 3 days in Phuket, Thailand (a resort area) before going to Viet Nam and then Australia. Currently, we’ve had to eschew Cambodia and we are spending 5 days here in Hua Hin, Thailand, move our Singapore visit to post-Australia, spend a few days in Chumphon, Thailand then Phuket, Viet Nam and then Australia. It’s a good thing we’re not tied down to a rigid schedule. My wife, Cheryl, would abhor this flexibility (she’d call it uncertainty) and it would drive her nuts. I love her and miss her terribly, but boy! I’m glad this is being done with the other Grumpy old Man. However, he still has no hair.
One day while walking the street on our way walking to the (fancy schmancy) Market Village, we chanced to observe Sparky, the electrician. As you can see, Sparky (our name for him) is walking along the wires bordering the street while pulling another cable between poles. We didn’t stick around long enough to watch what he was going to do when he actually got to the other end, but this is by far the most bizarre electrician sighting we’ve ever had (and we’ve had some bizarre electrician sightings).
Our options from Hua Hin are to bus or taxi back to the Bangkok, take a flight to an upscale Thai resort area like Pataya or Krabi or to wander our way south down the peninsula with a stop or two on our way to Phuket. Take a guess. Which would you choose if you were the Grumpy Old Men?
Our next stop is Chumphon (CHUM pon), another town of similar size about half way to Phuket. The reason we’re targeting Phuket (a high-profile Thai resort area) is that we can fly directly to Viet Nam (either Saigon or Hanoi) from there. We’ll let you know
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My eyes! My eyes!!
Okay, boys. The wife-beaters and fanny packs have to go! Hal, do you think if Loren had more hair, he would be less flexible? Maybe that is the key to choosing a travel companion.
Hal, I really enjoy reading your blog and the pictures of your fascinating trip. Maynard.
A Couple of Old Codgers
to hair or not to hair
I don't know about the more hair question, it's been sooooo long since he had hair that I can't remember what he was like. Hal