Koh Tao

So I am jumping back a little here, we have now been home for close to two months (and I have not even posted 1/4 of the posts of our travel that I should have by now) and yes I have been a little slack in the posting department but this is all due to good cause. We have built a vegetable garden (not just any vege garden, it’s a pretty neat one, it looks great thanks to Daves amazing building skills and my staining skills) and been getting our home to be just the way we like it. So that’s my excuse anyway 😉

Back to the story at hand, I am taking you back to Thailand, Kho Tao to be exact, where we had a really nice 8 days of unwinding, swimming, reading, eating, drinking and exploring. We stayed at a great little place called Samatha Bed and Breakfast which was newly built and a nice place to retreat to during the peak heat of the day and at the end of an evening out.

Lucky Seafood….

I really like this photo for some particular reason. We ate at this little place several times, their Thai Green Curry and Red Curry were to die for and the cheapest we found anywhere on the Island.

Help your self to a seat at the table!

Time for an afternoon caffeine fix!

A day in Kandy, Sri Lanka

We were soon on our way to Kandy where we would spend our next night. On the way we stopped at one of the many Spice Gardens and had a very interesting tour learning of all the health benefits that the different herbs and spices have to offer.

In Sri Lanka I was again reluctant to get on a bus, the driving habits of the bus drivers in Sri Lanka seem to be fairly similar to that of their fellow bus driving friends in Vietnam…. CRAZY! As you can see, this bus thought it would be fine to pass on a corner… oh no wait there is a car coming maybe I wont!

We made a few stops along the way to have a look at some of the road side offerings.

Once we arrived in Kandy, our driver Chris took us to a place for lunch which served a great choice of curry and rice. What I love about the curry and rice in Sri Lanka is that you don’t just get one dish. Curry and rice on average consist of up to 8 to 10 different curries, sambal and assorted dishes. After we were completely stuffed full with these wonderful tasting dishes we took the time to explore Kandy a little further.

Of the countries we have been to I would have to say the Sri Lankans are the some of the warmest and kindest people we have met. And they just love to have their photo taken, which is great for someone like me who tends to be a little shy when it comes to asking people if I can take their photo. Most people would ask me if I could take their photos without me even needing to ask! Brilliant!

A shoe repair man on the side of the street… cheap rent.

Ice cream vendor and fresh fruit by the lake in kandy.

Electroplating Jewelry (Gold and Silver) an interesting process to watch.

After walking around the streets of Kandy we checked into our guesthouse and relaxed with an ice cold beer on the balcony overlooking the surrounding Mountains. Later on we went to a cultural show of local dances which was interesting enough then before heading back to the guesthouse, watched the sunset over the lake. Soon time for dinner, we decided to give the guesthouse a chance and have our dinner there. Food in general in Sri Lanka is never served in a hurry which you soon get used to and as long as when you plan to have your meal you are not already starving, the wait is not so bad. So three beers later and some time spent researching the next days events our dinner arrived from the unassuming restaurant, and I would have to say it was one of the best meals we had while in Sri Lanka. Dave had curried chicken which had a lovely rich and spicy gravy and I had deviled chicken which was a slightly drier dish but full of strong savory and spicy flavors and both of them were ‘Sri Lankan hot’ which was great! Finally we had been given a dish that made our mouths tingle and the beer seem that bit more refreshing.  The both of us have a great fondness for very spicy food, however while we have traveled through SE Asia we have found that even when we ask for ‘very spicy’ or ‘extra hot’ the person taking our order has a slight smile on their face and says OK. Then disappointment always would follow with the dish coming out ‘tourist hot’.

All in all it was a great day in Kandy followed by a great evening and authentic Sri Lankan meal. Next stop Ella.

A good day to have a BBQ in the Mountains

 

After a great weekend in Elba and dinner at the old train station Monday rolled around pretty quickly. Millie and I went up to my favorite little vege shop on the corner and got a few goodies to make some breakfast and to have for lunch. We took a one use only BBQ along with some vegetable to Grill and some Lamb cutlets and pork fillet. A bottle of red wine was also added into the bag with some yummy strawberry’s too. Dave, Millie and I jumped in the car and headed for the hills. It was another beautiful, hot, sunny day!

We were sure to take all rubbish back down the mountain with us, being the ‘tidy kiwi’s’ that we are!

 

Characters of Antigua

While spending time in Antigua we came across many interesting people and some cool sights.

One of my favourites was this little girl who sells Coconuts and Pineapples on the weekends.

Here is her little stall, she will chop open a coconut for you on a hot sunny day and give you what ever coloured straw that you would like to drink it’s cool refreshing liquid. Once finished she then chops it into pieces for you. You can have your coconut and eat it too!

I couldn’t not put her little cat on here, too cute!

This was the best Jerk Chicken I have found in Antigua! The chicken is piping hot with a yummy crispy skin and a grilled flavour to die for. Samson her cat supervisors the cooking process and likes to have his photo taken too.

The Survivors! You can catch them at Bumpkins on a Saturday from 4:30pm, enjoy an ice cold beer whilst listening to come of their cool tunes!

A couple of homes that caught my attention.

This is Jacko, he is famous for his Donkey Taxi. Donkey is not so keen on swims.

Big Mommas Kitchen! You can find Big Momma down at Pigeon Beach every Sunday, as you can see on her chalk board she has a range of mouth watering Caribbean dishes. Her Jerk Pork is pretty good!

As mentioned in my last post, Jackees Qwik Stop is one of our favourite places to eat! You won’t find Jackee herself there in the evening but you will find Tammy her daughter. She lets us take our own wine and her home-made hot sauce is some of the best you will find! It is not for the faint hearted!!!

Reminiscing about Bali while in Italy

I don’t know about you but I get cravings for certain foods often if I have not been able to have it for a period of time. We are privileged in New Zealand to have such an extensive range of foods available to us. You name it, you can probably get it!

So currently while we are living here in Italy I am craving an extensive ethnic list of food! Don’t get me wrong, I love the food here, it’s wonderful! But sometimes I just crave something other than Italian style cuisine.

We were having lunch yesterday and the coffee that was served with lunch reminded me of the coffee we would get in Bali (Bali Coffee) which was ground so finely that you needed put it through a plunger, just pop it into the pot let it sit for a while and then pour. It had a great earthy smell and a sweet taste with very little acidity.

I am starting to waffle on a little now. So back to the coffee at lunch which reminded me about the coffee in Bali which then reminded me of course about the food in Bali (yummy) and of course then about the fun holiday that we had in Bali last September.

So since I don’t have access to any of the ingredients required to cook any of the dishes that we had in Bali (aside from fish sauce and the occasion bunch of coriander that I manage to get my hands on). I thought I would post a few photos, to satisfy my current craving.

While exploring the area we were staying in (Seminyak) the boys discovered a great little local Warung (what would be described as a small local café style place that serves traditional local Balinese food). It made a nice change from the slightly more mainstream Warungs that we had been going to in the heavily populated tourist areas. It seemed to cater more for the locals which was nice.

The food here was super tasty and super cheap… As was the Bintang! The people of course were very friendly too! They made a pretty good Sambal, which was one of the things that we enjoyed with every meal while in Bali.

I regret not taking more photos of the places we ate in while in Bali, the food seemed to have so much life and colour which in turn made for so much flavour in the dishes also!

Sambal is chilli based and used as a common condiment in the Warungs and Restaurants of Bali. There are many versions of Sambal, but one of our favourite was Sambal Matah which is of Bali origin (Sambals can been found throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the Philippines) and consists of a lot of finely chopped Shallots, Lemon Grass, Birds Eye Chilli, Shrimp Paste and Lemon Juice. Yum!

As well as really liking the food in Bali, I really enjoyed the people of Bali. Some of them seem to have so little but they are the happiest looking people and they seem so content with life. The children just loved having their photo taken which made for some great photos!

We came across these two selling polished shells when we were staying on an island called Lembongan. A small island around 10km southeast of the Mainland.

We spent a couple of nights in Ubud (Eat.Pray.Love Territory) and found the local children here more than happy to have their photos taken!

While in Ubud we went on a mountain bike ride  through several little villages and lots of Rice Fields. At the end of the ride, you end up at the owner of the bike companies house for a home cooked lunch. Great hospitality. And again a friendly bunch of people.

Would I go back? In a heart beat!