Heading South at a Slow Pace - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

January 12, 2024 to January 13, 2024

Heading South at a Slow Pace

Hua Hin to Pak Nam Pran

These are fun. Sometimes they sandwich some chives or something else between the two halves of these batter fried things. No idea what they are called. We always refer to them as Aebleskivers. In Burma they might put a quail egg in them.
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Rachael AndersonThose look good!
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Rachael AndersonThey are fun to eat with coffee.
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1 month ago

Heading South at a Slow Pace

We had a really nice room in a well run guest house in Hua Hin that I'd recommend to anyone.  The Thasanee Guesthouse. We decided on it before we saw Frankie's comment on the Google Maps comment section.  When we saw that Frankie liked it we were sold and didn't look further.  

But the nice guesthouse didn't hold us in Hua Hin, a carbon copy of one year ago.  Hua Hin is a very large and spread out town where you can get anything you want.  The big hotels that dominate the best beachfront remind me of Miami Beach with Miami Beach prices too.  Even though we could get anything we wanted in Hua Hin, it left us wanting.  I guess we are not the Hua Hin type.  During the few hours we were in Hua Hin we saw more foreign tourists than we've seen since the War Remnants Museum.  

Before we left we found the same coffee woman we had had fun with a year ago.  We aren't exactly sure she was the same woman since she wasn't as animated this time but it was for sure the right coffee stall.  We did a quick run through the nearby central market for roasted peanuts, a papaya and two mangoes because we may not see another market for that stuff until Prachuap which we were more or less planning on riding to very slowly even though it is only around 60 miles away.  Last year we did it in two days but we always felt as though we missed some of the ocean front scenery. 

Our coffee lady in Hua Hin.
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Old style Thai coffee called Cafe Bolan, traditionally with a Chinese tea chaser.
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Just in the middle of Hua Hin we passed right in front of the Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas.  It used to be called the Hua Hin Railway Hotel.  It was the first hotel built in Hua Hin twelve years after the train came to Hua Hin from Bangkok and the wealthy started building large beach getaways there. That was in 1923.  Andrea and I didn't know it at the time but last year when we stopped and peered through the same gate it was on exactly its 100th birthday - an odd coincidence.

I actually stayed in the Hua Hin Railway Hotel 49 years ago when Hua Hin was nothing but a small insignificant town and the Railway Hotel, albeit a grand old wooden structure with big wrap-around verandahs, right on the beautiful beach, was a bit decrepit and well past its heyday.  There were no other tourists in town and no one else staying at that hotel.  It was a splurge at $5 a night but quite the experience.  The workers told me the King had stayed there many times so I felt quite special and rich!  Since then the Thai Railway sold it to Sofitel Hotels and it was renovated, enlarged, four pools added and a lot of other stuff to make it into quite a special place, which it is..  It's nothing like when I stayed there and the price per night now is $200.

I asked the guard at the front gate if we could just take a spin on the driveway and he was very smiley and agreeable.  The enormous curved verandahs are still there but I don't remember much else.  It's beautiful but we heard ostentatious live piano music (not at all Thai) coming from the lobby which turned our stomachs as well as our bikes and we rode out through the gate, waved a thank you to the guard and hit the road south. 

You can't see much but this is the curved verandah of the Centara Grand Beach Resort.
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I like riding on a road right next to the ocean even if there is a line of hotels between.  I love the different, softer, quality of air that always comes off an ocean. And there is almost always a breeze.  But eventually the road ran out and we had to turn out towards the big highway which we don't like one bit.  Fortunately, there is a nice bike path well of the highway for several kilometers and actually we didn't have to ride on the highway at all because of its existence.  It was lined with Pride of Barbados bushes which bobbed their showy flowers at us.  Once the bike path ran out we could take other small roads that ran towards the ocean but not yet exactly on the shore.  When it turned south to be right next to the ocean it was so lovely that we decided to find a place to stay immediately.    

Bike path just south of Hua Hin. These flowering bushes are called the Pride of Barbados. Thais always have these great ideas but then there is maintenance, and who is going to water things? That's where they fall down on these projects. All the plants in the planters are long gone.
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Bike path just south of Hua Hin.
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There are lots of these little inlets where fishing boats can escape to if the seas are too rough or just in off hours. Mostly they fish for squid at night in southern Thailand.
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Heading towards the beach.
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Coconut grove with the ocean beyond.
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The hotel we decided on was cheap, right next to the ocean and no one was staying there.  We find this to be the case almost all the time!  We got settled in our room and walked a few meters to Chabar Coffee which upon entering I thought I was back in about 1970, Hippie Town U.S.A. complete with Bob Marley music playing.  It was a recycled wood, handbuilt building with a platform level covered with classic Thai triangular pillows, colored and textured glass for windows,  As we sat there discovering new visual treats in every part of the room we realized that someone had put a lot of love into the making of it.  Largely on how comfortable we felt there we decided to stay two nights next door at Ban Haad Pran Hotel.  

Ban Haad Pran Hotel
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Chabar Coffee
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Ron SuchanekThat looks like a cozy (cosy? Which is it?) place.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Ron SuchanekIt was so cozy that we spent most of a day there lounging and working on this damn journal.
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All the wood at Chabar Coffee is recycled.
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A corner devoted to honoring the former King Rama IX.
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That evening we found on Google Maps a promising looking restaurant a couple of kilometers inland.  We lucked out with the Renu Kitchen where we got some really great seafood delivered to us in minutes and for an astonishingly low price.  There was no question that we would return the next night for dinner.

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Mike PalmquistI think the papaya diet is doing wonders for you!
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We save a lot of money making our own breakfasts at our hotels/bungalows. They average about $.60 per person per breakfast. Papaya has an enzyme that helps with any digestive issues we might have, but we never do. It's also nice to eat early at our guest house before any restaurants are open and then leave at sunrise with a full belly.
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Bill ShaneyfeltAnd low risk of digestive "issues" so common in that area.

When I traveled a lot before retiring, I mostly ate in the room. Partly to save time so I could go for a good walk, and partly because I just got tired of sitting waiting to get a menu, server return to take the order, wait for preparation, finally eat, then wait for check and then wait to pay. Also better food and whatever I chose to buy. Saved money too, but still it was paid for by my employer. Since being retired in 2008, I do not travel much, and usually with family, I suffer through "the process."
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There has been so much erosion that an ugly seawall has been built here and green mossy stuff has taken over the steps down to the sea. Very slippery.
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Slippery stuff.
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The next day we walked along the seawall, listened to quite an array of amazing birdsong in the trees surrounding our hotel and lounged at Chabar Coffee to work on this journal.  We met and talked with the owner who had made the place and we told him that the main reason we were staying an extra day was so we could experience his coffee shop for another day.  He was thrilled to hear that.  We meant it too.  He told us he had put his whole being into making the place; his whole heart and soul.  We could tell.  He was a sweet person and we were kind of surprised that he was not a musician....of reggae music!

The owner and builder of Chabar Coffee.
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It was a very relaxing day, enjoying the sound of waves and birds and maybe not so much reggae. Sometimes you just have to absorb the atmosphere of a place for an extra day.  We were both very happy we had chosen to do so.  To meet the person who built such a work of art and to be able to tell him what it meant to us was worth quite a bit to all three of us.  

"The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively."

 -Bob Marley

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lovebruce

Today's ride: 17 miles (27 km)
Total: 856 miles (1,378 km)

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