|Jack showing off his sweet digs|
Our friend Jack from 30bananasaday.com invited us to come stay with him in his beautiful beach side villa overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. How could we say no? So after a few weeks on the durian hunt, we decided to give ourselves a little vacation, sans durian (or so we thought).
We were lucky to arrive in time for mango season. I love mangoes, and to
be honest, at this point in our journey I was happy be eating mangoes
and not durian! Mango season reaches its height in April, the hottest
month of the year. While we arrived at the tail-end of the season, there
still plenty of mangoes around, and for a decent price (0.57 USD a
pound). There are more than 100 types of Thai mangoes, which they call
“Mamuang.” On Koh Phangan, there were four varieties in season. From left
to right in the picture below: the Keo-Sa-Woi, Chok Anon (Honey Mango),
Mahachanok (Rainbow Mango), and the famous Nom Dok Mai (Flower Water
Mango). You can check out more about Thai mangoes here. For a list of the world’s most widely known cultivars, click here.
|My favorite was the Mahachanook (Rainbow mango), second from right|
Thai people love mangoes too, although like everything else, they
like them under ripe and sour. I often see Thai women peeling mangoes
so hard and green they’re basically a vegetable and eating small chunks with a
knife while watching their soap operas on a grainy television. It’s also common to see ripe mangoes served with a thick, pudding-like sticky rice (recipe on Saturday). Thai people eat durian with sticky rice too! But it seems to me like most Thai people I talk to like mangoes even more than durian.
Mangoes have been cultivated in Thailand for at least 4,000 years, and
are integrated into their culture. For example, it
is believed that growing a mango tree on the south side of the house
will bring prosperity and good luck to the family.
Although it’s not durian season on the islands (the season begins in May), the vendors were selling Monthongs from the mainland for 60 baht/kg, the same price found in Chanthaburi. With friends to share it with, how could we resist? It wasn’t the best durian, but I had a lot of fun feeding our inedible portions to these puppies, who seemed to think crunchy durian was just fine. I guess they have Thai taste buds!
Jack’s place was literally a staircase away from a beautiful white sand beach. I had a nice time swimming, running up and down the beach, playing yoga in the sand, and getting some much needed R&R. It’s low season, and the beach was nearly deserted most mornings, except for a fisherman in a baggy red shirt and a cone shaped hat combing the exposed reefs for small fish. Nevertheless, there are some beautiful fish out there, and one evening I saw a crab with luminous blue legs as large as a small cat! It was actually pretty scary, with huge bulbous eyeballs and a gaping mouth, not to mention those pincers.
Poor Rob didn’t get a chance to enjoy our beach side resort. He’ll explain why in the next post…oh no, a cliff hanger!