On the Road 2007 (Part 5) – Tamnanpar

After visiting Koh Chang, Nam and I headed back toward familiar territory: The miles-long stretch of beach at Rayong. We booked into the same hotel we had stayed at two years before, and I used the net cafe next to the lobby to find a good place to eat.
A review of Tamnanpar Forest Restaurant caught my eye, so we went off on a leisurely drive to find it since we were in relax mode and had no plans in particular. We were in for a surprise!

The view as you enter the grounds from the parking lot of Tamnanpar.
The weather was overcast (we had been plagued by rain showers the whole trip), and rain had muddied the waters, but the forest atmosphere was truly magical. Somebody has invested a lot of money, love, money, time, and money in this restaurant, and it really shows.

As I get older, flowers and insects become more and more captivating.

Two things I never thought I’d see written in English
“Best Public Toilet of the Year,” you say?
The very thought of a Best Public Toilet intrigues me… Who awards something like this? Is there an impartial panel of judges that visits public toilets on their free time, tallying piss stains on concrete floors and drunken scrawlings on gecko-infested walls? What is their stance on squat vs. western toilets, or paper vs. water/fingers?
Wondering about such things are a waste of time, however, because as it turns out, Tamnanpar inarguably has the Best Public Toilets, Ever. Take a look for yourself:

This is what you see when you are standing in front of a urinal.

Speaking of urinals, I could pee here all day.

Paper AND a spray hose – no standing buckets of fetid dookiewater here!

The majestic pathway to the magical men’s restroom

GENT!

LADY! I think you can get in trouble for taking photos like this in most places.

The inside of the LADY room, courtesy of Nam.

The center display of the main dining hall. Very cool.

Nam in front of some of the waterfalls in back of the restaurant.

Billed creature with webbed feet.

Nessies?

Another Skink Thing.
The food at Tamnanpar was very good, but not exceptional. However, the restrooms more than made up for any culinary shortcomings.
Unfortunately, we did not stick around for the nightly entertainment which includes an “Indy Jones” dance troupe performance of some kind – we’ll have to go back again with a video camera sometime. If you’re ever in Rayong looking for a cool place to visit, you might want to check this place out.
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All links for the On the Road 2007 series:
On the Road 2007 (Part 1)
On the Road 2007 (Part 2)
On the Road 2007 (Part 3) – Koh Chang
On the Road 2007 (Part 4) – Overloaded
On the Road 2007 (Part 5) – Tamnanpar
On the Road 2007 (Part 6) – The Animatronic Chicken Roasters of Rayong, Thailand

For you. Who me? Yes, you.

You asked for all of my Thai-related posts; this category contains most of them: Thai Society/Culture
This is a chronological listing starting from around the time I came to Thailand to ask for Nam’s hand in marriage (spring ’05).
The other Thai-related category on my site is Our Wedding in Thailand, which is just aptly-named as hell, if I do say so myself. It contains the exploits of two elephants, several hundred wedding guests, and the imaginary Jennifer Lopez living in my head, so proceed with caution.

Tuna Boat (?????)

pink-maguro.gif
Right around the time I finished university in Japan, I was in a bind. I had no money and limited prospects finding a job I wanted to do – I wanted to try working in a big company for the experience, but didn’t want to follow the normal job hunting procedure. Pretty much all of my classmates were set up with jobs or postgrad studies, which was worrying, but at the time I felt powerless to change the situation. The state of the Japanese economy was in constant decline, and there just were not many jobs around.
On the other hand, I didn’t want to return home to the states not having even tried to make it in Japan, so it was time to figure something out. I had a friend who was working for a fishing newspaper, who floated me the idea of working a maguro gyosen (tuna boat) for a year as a stopgap to finding “real” employment, and of course to save some coin. This is the Japanese equivalent of working on an Alaskan fishing boat, because as it turns out, it’s damn near impossible to find a job on a tuna boat these days. In the end, I didn’t look very hard, because everybody I asked said it was a bad idea.
Right around the time I gave up on the tuna boat idea, a random encounter at the bar I tended led to my first full time job. That, in turn, led to ten years of Salaryman. And into my current incarnation as teacher, as well. What’s next? Since life is cyclical and things tend to end where they began, I sometimes find myself thinking about tuna boats. But maybe not (JP language link).
And maybe not an Alaskan fishing boat, either.

Speaking of carp…

Over at the Fish & Fly site: Thai guide in record carp catch
There’s a lot of haters saying it doesn’t mean much since it was caught in a stocked lake, which is kind of a valid criticism – it would be more impressive if it had been caught in the wild. The thing is, they might not get that big out in the wild… All I know is, that has to be one nasty-tasting fish.

Iguana skillet

I woke up today and stretched out on my balcony like I do every morning. The hybrid eucalyptus/native vegetation forest has grown to twice its height since I arrived here at the end of last year, and the native wildlife has really settled in. It’s nice to watch fireflies playing tag before I go to sleep and wake up to bird calls new to my ears. This morning I looked down on our cooking area and saw an iguana chilling out on my cast iron skillet (note: It might the same kind I photographed at my university a while back).
He cocked his head at me as I approached:

what up, foo?
This out-of-focus photo is the only one I took that shows his full tail length. Amazingly, he let me approach to within macro distance, so the other shots came out somewhat better:

(as always, click on photos to open a larger version in a pop-up)