Thursday, March 24, 2016

고척스카이돔, aka Gocheok Sky Dome

Nexen Heroes Professional Baseball Team of the KBO has moved from their home at Mok-dong to the new domed stadium in nearby Guro, and I met up with good ol' Andy and his two older kiddies to check it out for a pre-season match versus Samsung Lions (although the less said about the game, perhaps the better).

Curiously, while I thought I left the subway at Gaebong station, I guess I lost track of things, and later learned I actually got off at Guil (these are sequential stops on Line 1 heading toward Incheon). Still, signage and walkways make it easy.

Since it was preseason, all seating was general admission (and while previously pre-season Heroes games were free, this year they are 10,000 W). The seating chart is below, too--and the home team side is now along the first base side.

Here are a couple of shots from inside. Sadly, I failed utterly to take pictures of the cute kids. OTOH, they're so cute they probably would have broken my camera!

Anyway, the seats are super-wide and comfortable, with a cup holder on every arm, plenty of legroom,too. On the downside, there are some sections where you may have to cross fifteen people to get to your seats. As of yet, not an impressive selection of food providers, and not much in the way of pocha outside, either.

Still, never a rain delay from here on out!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Thailand, Koh Phangan: Food

I snapped a few pics of snacks available in a typical Thai convenience store (aka 7-Eleven); frankly, they mostly don't look delicious, but thankfully the same cannot be said of the huge majority of food I ate on this trip (and, it has to be said, any other).

As mentioned before, I spent one week at Smile Bungalows at Bottle Beach (Haat Phuad) on Koh Phangan. Lots of traditional Thai fresh foods available here. The first picture, however, is a salad new to me, called Phyla Gong, which was awesome, even though I don't know exactly what it is. Other standard fare, done well, included some curry and and order of tempura shrimp.

But my favorite seafood when near any ocean is the grilled red snapper. On Bottle Beach, there are only four or five resorts, and they seem to take turns doing a seafood grill-up dinner. First is my fare at the resort next door, followed by the offering at Smile:

My second week began at New Lapaz Resort at Maenam Beach on Koh Samui. First up some giant prawns, delicious:

Another high point was a beef "sizzler" which is lit on fire then delivered to your table:

I have previously documented many meals at Maenam Village, but though it is a critical part of my holiday cuisine, I don't think I've ever published a breakfast pic. To end this post, and my brief Thailand vacation, here is breakfast at Tommy's Swiss Restaurant, including scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, ham, and a rosti, Swiss-style hash browns with bits of ham in it. An amazing way to fortify oneself for the coming day!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Thailand, Koh Phangan: Spring Vacation

My flight left Incheon after midnight, I had a four hour layover in Singapore, a short flight to Koh samui followed by a van ride to the pier at Bophut for a ferry ride to Tong Sala on nearby Koh Phangan, followed by a 200 Bt songtaew (pick-up truck taxi) to Chaloklum where the taxi boat pier, such as it is, is located. The photo above is the scene as I waited for enough passengers to arrive for the taxi boat to leave for my final destination, Bottle Beach. The pic below is said taxi boat, underway.

Bottle Beach is a tiny crescent of white-ish sand on the north side of the island. The ocean was clear and clean, the waves almost always gentle ripples, the sky azure. In a word, idyllic. Lay out and read, cool off with a nice splash about in the sea ...

I stayed at Smile Bungalows, on the west end of the beach, which while not empty, was not massively crowded. Grass-roofed bungalows, lots of foliage, cold beer and good food (about which more later).

I stayed at Bottle Beach for a week. My second week, I wnt back to Koh Samui, landing at Maenam. I stayed a few days at a place called New Lapaz Resort, which had not such a great beach situation as the seawall was lapped by the waters during high tide, though they had a nice swimming pool. My last few days were at Mickey's place near the Chinese temple, were I usually stay.

Meanwhile, there was a storm which barely affected Koh Phangan, but it dredged huge volumes of sand up onto Maenam beach, completely burying the deck of the Chill Out Cafe under two feet of sand, as shown in the second shot below.

I say the storm barely affected Koh Phangan, which is true: we got some drizzles and some threatening clouds. Then we got some winds, which whipped up some higher than usual waves--real breakers, some of ten feet or more. Just before lunch on thursday, I was playing in these waves, along with a French family and a German couple, when I got completely tumbled and turned around by a wave. It turned my facing the shore and tore my glasses off my head, despite the fact I was wearing an elastic strap. Those glasses cost over a thousand dollars--now Poseidon has some very nice spectacles indeed!