Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Bulk shopping abroad

I was in Bangkok this week with one of my Hong Kong clients and she decides over breakfast that we should pop by the supermarket to buy a few bits and pieces for the people back home.

Upon hearing this, I think to myself that I'll buy my usual modest box of nibbles for the team.  Small digression - I generally end up faring rather badly when I bring food back for my colleagues as the only person who actually eats everything is yours truly.  I'm still working off the kilo I put on from the box of assorted Lindts I brought back from my last trip.  So I try and keep these gifts small and as unappealing to my tastebuds as possible.

Anyway, off we go to the supermarket where I choose two boxes of Thai Spice Pretzel Sticks (I am less likely to single handedly devour a box of salty sticks than a box of, say, dried mangoes) and head to the checkout where I am joined by my client who has bought about 2 kg of food!  

She explains that the instant-noodles-are-so-much-better-than-in-Hong-Kong and that her maid always-drinks-coffee (she says this as she waves 4 bags of coffee in the air) and that you-can't-get-these-corn-flavored-Pockys-anywhere-so-they're-a-must (again waving a family pack of 10 corn Pocky boxes).  

What ever happened to the idea of bringing back "a little something" from one's travels?

With that, she shepherds me back into the dry foods aisles, fills up my basket, sighs with satisfaction and off we leave - my client pleased that she's stocked up on much loved favorites and me having suffered a complete paradigm shift in food gifts. 

Just a little something I picked up in Thailand 
- 20 boxes of Pockys (10 corn, 10 chocolate banana)
- 10 packs of instant noodles
-1 box of Thai Spice Pretz

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Oh and then...

After Sri Lanka, we hopped over to the Maldives which you can imagine was simply dreadful...  

Of course, the thing about the Maldives is that you imagine that you'll get terribly bored sitting in a hut on stilts, sun bathing, eating and snorkeling   But instead, we just sunk into a haze of relaxation.  

The place we stayed in was Italian and probably served the best pasta and gelato east of Rome.  So not only were we sun drenched but we were also blissfully full of ravioli, prosciutto and sun dried tomatoes. 

Postprandial recovery spot

Local fauna

Sunning, sleeping and dreaming base

Welcome 2013

Where we stayed: Gangehi Resort  - heavily Italian in every possible way.. except the decor

Sri Lanka in pictures

Sri Lanka, with its reckless drivers, flower-filled air and smiley people was this year's Christmas destination.   There are two ways to see Sri Lanka: clockwise or anticlock wise.  We went clock wise.  There's also really only one way to get around, and that's with a driver.  After seeing two motorbike accidents and a van suspended over a broken wall, I could see why. 

Sigiriya - paranoia at new heights

Like much of Asia, there is no shortage of Buddhist temples, palaces or ostentatious water features.  But Sigiriya fortress balanced on top of a rock takes the cake.  Think: son kills father (who happens to be the king), takes the thrown and then hides out on top of a rock waiting for his brother to come to seek revenge.  You couldn't make this up if you tried.  

Beautiful Tamil tea pickers.  Note the arse in the background is the only man and sitting chatting on his mobile phone while the ladies pick, gather and carry

We then haired it down to the Tea Country where we planted ourselves for Christmas, drank lots of strong tea and lay awake at night with our eyes out on stalks.  

There's the fish market and then there are the fish stalls on the beach.  Tuna was running

Galle followed in the South.  Unfortunately it's as heavy on the colonial architecture as it is on the little tourist shops and mediocre food, so we kept our stay on the shorter and sweeter side.  

For those of you mad enough to trust my travel advice, stay at Ulagalla for luxury in the cultural triangle, Madulkelle Tea Lodge for cabins in the midst, The Dutch House for the most romantic hotel of your life in Galle and Colombo Courtyard for the overnight stay in Colombo.
Devour the rotis, curry and mangoes but the food isn't the highlight. 
Our best meals were in two Indian restaurants in Colombo: Chutneys and the Mango Tree