A super busy day which involved a hell of a lot of eating and drinking.
At 9am Poppy and I found ourselves sitting around a very low table, tucking into a nice cup of tea at the 'Asia Scenic Cookery School'. It was a lovely little family home with two classes of 6 people learning how to cook traditional Thai dishes. For 900baht we were going to learn how to cook Spring Rolls, Chicken and Cashew Nut Stir Fry, Green Curry, Banana Fritters, Pad Thai and Chilli Coconut Soup - as well as how to make curry paste from scratch. Poppy and I were the only ones out of our group committed enough to stay for the whole day. The other six cooked five dishes and then scarpered before even enrolling in the fun of spring rolls.
Our little group was lovely with only one man in it. A middle-aged gentleman called Ron who told everyone he was called James to wind his wife up. Comedy Gold.
We were so excited and made even more so when our teacher Mam showed us around her herb garden (where I learnt the different between lemongrass and citronella) and then took us to the local food market to explain to us how to choose the best and freshest ingredients for our chosen dishes. Poppy and I took the chance to buy a HUGE passion fruit shake which was probably the best move of the whole day as our chilli portions were rather healthy and those shakes probably saved our mouths from permanent damage.
The first thing I made was the Pad Thai, by far my favourite Thai dish, and I managed to fall at the first hurdle. When she said add water, I did so. And then made the thing into soup. While everyone else was starting to serve up I was still standing there slyly trying to siphon off all the extra liquid. It still tasted good and the peanut chunks and lime saved it a little but was admittedly a little too watery to be appealing to anyone else.
We ate those pretty much straight away but then we went on to make three more dishes which we were going to eat at the same time. The Chicken and Cashew Nuts, the Banana Fritters and the Green Thai Curry all went much much better. So much so that i could barely move after devouring them all. The only 'slight' mistake is when I asked to make my curry 'Thai spicy', I didn't quite realise that meant inedible. I tried a little bit and after the tears and the sweating I decided to save it by adding 1kg of sugar. It definitely helped even though Mam looked on a little less impressed than I was hoping.
Once everyone had gone Pops and I rolled some very sexy spring rolls, which I will most definitely be doing back home and then we tried to tuck into our spicy coconut soup but by this point my trousers were totally undone and I could barely stand up so I had to leave half of it. 7 dishes before 3pm is pretty good going!
We were then taken back to our hotel (there was no way we were going to walk there!). We thought we would have missed Sacha's presentation but just as we found his presentation room he stood up and started presenting. Now I know nothing about tomato plants and Pests and Diseases but I still quite found those 15minutes very interesting. The Conference itself was a bit of a shambles and people were wandering in and out and talking through his presentation but he did very well to hold his own. Had I been up there and had people been interrupting my PowerPoint I may have wagged my finger at a few people.
While we waited for him to mingle and then go back to his place to change for the closing ceremony, Poppy and I had a little swim followed by a few pool side cocktails.
Once showered and changed I once again snuck into a very posh meal in our very hotel for the closing ceremony. I sat next to a hilarious Jewish Israeli gentleman who seemed very unperturbed by my limited knowledge on P&D (pests and diseases I soon learnt) and he soon had me rolling about laughing at his stories about trying to bake his first croissant and what was and was not P.C. (as we were being served shark fin soup). We only managed to stay for an hour and a half before Poppy and I snuck out for her final dress fitting, which was looking more ravishing every time we saw it.
We then zoomed back to the hotel, picked up Sasha and then wandered around the night market one more time. We shopped around a little more and then walked to a little bar where we played some jenga and sampled their best cocktails. I went for a V.T.R - vodka tequila and red bull, which was surprisingly easy to drink despite its terrifying contents. Then, due to a lost game of jenga, Sacha bought us our first bucket - literally a plastic bucket filled with Thai rum, coke and red bull. Not sure I will be taking that delight home with me.
I then took a quick toilet stop which turned into a mini disaster... I walked in, saw an open stall, thought it was a long drop, did my business and then on exiting realised that there were proper toilets in there I had just made use of the drain... rooky error.
Once I got myself together and got back to the bar to meet the other two, the wonderful bar lady was busy writing down an address in Thai and told us to go and find a tuk tuk driver to take us there. We had no idea where she was directing us and thinking back I have no idea why we trusted her so implicitly but we did and then 20minutes later we found ourselves in a little maze, in the north of the town surrounded by very cool bars, all blaring different music and all containing hundreds of tourists.
We settled on the 'rockier' bar with the live band and went straight to the bar to order our buckets. Sacha and Poppy got proper plastic buckets, while I sat there with a rather ornate looking fruit bowl. I thought nothing of it as I tucked into my mojito. That was until a very friendly Thai lady leant over and asked me why I was drinking out of a shower bowl... apparently they use the bowl I was drinking out of to scoop up water to wash themselves with. I must have had 'I'll drink out of anything' written on my forehead - which to be fair enough was true as I finished the drink nonplussed as to the container I drank it out of.
The band was brilliant and reminded me A LOT of a more tattooed 'Gangreen'but I think it was improved dramatically by the hilarious off beat dancing going on in front of it.
Once the band had tuckered themselves out a few people joined us for chats and drinks as well as a couple of VERY sweet Thai kids (out at 2am...) who wanted to arm wrestle us for 20baht and who were desperate to sell us Jasmine necklaces. Poppy and I both got a necklace and had a couple of arm wrestles but all for nothing - I wasn't about to encourage their late night escapades!
By 3am we were back in our lovely hotel putting the world to rights as I tried to organise Sacha's imminent wedding and honeymoon, whilst sticking to a strict budget and time frame. I don't think I sold him on taking a 6 month honeymoon, although I think I managed to persuade Poppy and I that we needed to find fiancés ASAP to go on the honeymoon of a lifetime. Maybe we should just marry each other?