Wednesday, May 09, 2007
By the Shores of the Andaman Sea
Paradise: a place of extreme beauty, delight, or happiness.
While Phuket may not quite be Paradise, there are too many crazed Tuk-Tuk drivers for one thing, it certainly has its charms. The warm clear beauty of the Andaman Sea is chief among those charms, contrasting sharply with the turbid and chilly Japan Sea here in Kanazawa, or the rocky coasts of Northern California. Those places offer my only real 'beach' experience, so the deceptively gentle looking Karon Beach was a revelation.
I say deceptively gentle because the surf is actually pretty big for a swimming beach. Riding the waves might be a bit difficult, they weren't that big, but they were certainly more than large enough to knock this land-lubber right off his feet. One tumbled me pretty good actually, and really taught be to be a bit more careful. I quickly learned how to judge the waves, and relearned that the deeper, the better off you are when dodging breakers.
Speaking of large waves, Karon Beach was one of the areas hard hit by the tsunami back in 2004. (Side note, the earthquake that triggered that devastating tsunami is the longest recorded by a seismograph, at between 500 and 600 seconds. The Ishikawa quake we had was 30 seconds, the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 had strong shaking of a mere 48 seconds.) Despite the damage done a mere two and a half years ago, Phuket's toursits facilities have recovered handily. Only in a few places did I see an damage, and all the roads, hotels, and restaurants are going strong.
When I stopped off for lunch on my first day, I thought I'd try something new, rather than the same old (delicious) green curry or pad thai. I went with hot and sour chicken soup (tom yup gai). The waitress asked if I wanted it prepared spicy or mild. I raised my eyebrows and said I wanted it spicy, of course.
I am an idiot.
Now I enjoy spicy food. I revel in it. I love Wasabi, Jalapeños, Chipotle, heck I even consume Habanero death sauces. In all my life I don't think I had ever encountered anything of this magnitude in heat. It was intense but really that is putting things rather mildly. I finished the soup, but I suffered and enjoyed the meal the whole way. It really was wonderful, I mean it tasted great, but it is certainly one of those dishes that separates the men from the boys, and the sane from the totally over the moon nutcases. Like myself, for example.