We decided to get away for a long weekend. The offer we received for our business had set us thinking and we wanted to discuss a slightly new business direction, a decision partly also a result of a business meeting we had in Bangkok on Thursday.
So we chose to return to a resort just outside of Khao Yai that we had stayed at before, almost exactly a year ago. We arrived in the early afternoon, collapsed on the bed and did nothing. Well, I did manage a swim - again I had the pool to myself - we had something to eat in the restaurant, not so good as we remembered it, but by 7.30p.m. we were asleep.
But not for long as Pinky took it upon herself to do regular inspections of the room throughout the night so by the morning we felt like we had had no sleep at all. But we had an appalling breakfast - not a particular slight on the resort - where can you get a decent freshly cooked hotel breakfast these days - and decided to go out early as we would be knackered later in the day.
Khao Yai, a huge national park, was just a few metres up the road from us and neither of us has been before so we packed Pinky into the back of the car and drove off. The entrance fee was 40 baht for Thais (written in Thai) and 400 baht for foreigners (written in English). I got out my social security card ready to barter the price down for me, but we never got that far. 'No dogs' a uniformed woman shouted at us. I asked Ploy as we turned around, if this woman had given any reason. They frighten the elephants, said Ploy. Oh, fair enough, I thought, I have also seen the cartoons where elephants are afraid of mice, the same elephants that were used to hunt tigers. Did you know elephants can fly too.
Where to go now? The road we were on led us back home and behind us was prohibited, dog free,land. We turned right towards Wang Nam Khio. Let's just drive, I suggested, who knows what we may find. That woman had just done us a big favour. It was close to lunchtime because of our tardy start so we decided to just look for a nice restaurant. We passed a nice looking place looking out over the hills of Khao Yai but drove on a little more and happened upon Toscana Valley, part resort/golf club, part apartments/houses, all built in Italian style.
We returned to the first restaurant we had spotted and had a lovely lunch there of barbequed fish. After the heat of Saraburi the coolness of the mountains was very welcome, (as a write this at 4.a.m. it is over 100degF outside with the heat factor), and after we finished the meal we chatted with the owners as a thunderstorm rolled in over the hills. Nine million baht just for a small apartment at Toscana they told us, quite believable from what little we had seen, but Ploy went on to discuss land prices with them, swapping telephone numbers in case something else came up that was perhaps at a hundredth of that price.
We left after the storm abated and drove down a road that led to a vineyard. Not being particularly enamored by Thai wine we drove past and happened upon a temple that, it turned out, is a favourite of the Princess Chakri Sirindhorn. It is easy to be templed out in Thailand but then you happen upon a gem like this one. Sat atop a hill, gleaming white, we were the only people there save for a solitary monk. We spent over an hour there, just enjoying the cool air, watching other storms blanket the hills and enjoying the silence.
We took a leisurely drive back to our bungalow, I bought a bottle of wine, we dozed, watched some TV, ate a chocolate cake Ploy had bought and slept the sleep of the dead.
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