11th December 2008, Thursday
After a short nap, we took baths and had breakfast at Da Yu Bin Chinese restaurant somewhere in Sg. Petani. Forgive me, but the bus ride at night and lack of sleep just put my brain into some trance like state that I didn’t really remember to jot down anything for the purposes of blogging. LOL!
The dim sum is alright. Its specialty is the huge prawns in the har kow. Succulent and juicy! Our host also ordered soft and buttery smelling man tao to go with some Indian curry. It was said to be the specialty in this shop. Man tao with curry is a must try. YUM!
After the late breakfast, we went to visit Shih Bee’s husband’s new spare parts shop. We were amazed that, in less than 5 years the business had gone from small business to almost medium sized business and showing no sign of slowing down. I am happy that things went on pretty well for the family.
The eight of us plus two children packed our things in two cars and made our way on the highway to Changlun, where we parked our cars and hired cabs and then van to Hat Yai. We were advised by the cabbie to include RM1 when we get our passport stamped by the Thai immigration. Wow. Imagine the amount of money the officers would get. If there were 100 people lining up at this Sadao immigration per day per counter, he would get Rm100 extra. Easy job huh? Yet, there was no smiling officer for this Land of Smiles. They couldn’t be bothered to look at you also.
It seemed everybody in Hat Yai is in a hurry. They drive like Mad Max. The driver sped 130 kmph on the narrow two-lanes road heading for Hat Yai and actually overshot the police block by a few metres. He got down, opened the compartment for officer to see, then was allowed to go.
You will know it the moment you reached Thailand. Mangled electrical cables are common sight in any parts of Thailand. Since it was the King’s birthday not too long ago, there were Thai flags as well as the yellow colored flags decorated with the royal emblem leading the way to the small town. Shops, hotels, cafes, restaurants and also small stalls were also peppered with national flags.
The moment we reached Hat Yai, it was already 4 pm. We eased our hungry stomachs eating at the road side stall. we had plates of char kueh teows, char kueh kak, fried rice, and fried noodles. I remember Hat Yai used to be more dense and packed when I visited six years ago. I found this time round, the place, even though still busy with people, it was not as packed and hectic the way it was six years ago. I guess because of the fanatic terrorism and bombs two years ago that rocked the otherwise lively Hat Yai and shattered the livelihood of everyone regardless of race and religion in Hat Yai.
After the very late lunch, we headed to the hotel to take a short rest before going out again. This time, I suggested massage. I remember I went for Thai massage in Grand Plaza Hotel and it was probably the best I had so far among the many trips I made to other parts in Thailand. Surprisingly, the price has not increased much even after 6 years. I remember it was 240 baht for two hours and now, its 250 baht for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
I was somewhat disappointed with the result. The masseurs sort of “force” us to have stomach massage to “release wind” for additional 250 baht. I insisted that I do not need stomach massage to “release wind” as I fart ALL THE TIME! She ended giving me extra stepping on my back. Yes.. she stepped on my back twice. I think she forgotten that she stepped on me when she excused herself to go to the toilet and came back and did the stepping all over again!! Of course, the others had a great time laughing at me. I think the lady was disgruntled that I didn’t agree to the extra massage service. In the end, I still tip her 100 baht. I remember they told me that they only get 30-40 baht for each customer. I am a sucker for sad and dramatic stories.
After the terrifying massage, we went to have dinner at Hia Kai, a seafood restaurant opposite the famous Hia Kui along Saeng Sri Soi 2. We went to Hia Kai because we were told that this Hia Kui is super expensive. From the way we see it, Hia Kui has more customers compared to Hia Kai and were a little skeptical.
We gave in to the miser in us and went to Hia Kai. We were huddled into the air conditioned room and was told, no extra charges to use the air conditioned room. I chuckled at the thought. I think we Malaysians are quite famous for haggling prices and would be wary if the restaurant charge us extra for merely using the air conditioner.
We ordered the usual – some fried sotongs, thai escargot, crabs, tom yum, vegetables, etc. It wasn’t too spectacular to create an impression but it was quite a satisfying dinner.
We were quite tired towards the end of the day, coupled with the bruises inflicted from the over-pijaking by the masseur.. haha.. no lah kidding. Actually the masseur squeezed me a little too hard with her fingers on the neck as if I am a piece of meat. Sigh.
All in all, it was quite an eventful day.
PS. Thanks to Yuin again for the food pictures and also I nicked the massage pic from him as well!