Thailand travel 32: Duck curry at Kopitiam by Wilai in Phuket Town
Have a massage (lousy) at Kim’s on Phang Nga Road before my “last supper” — read lunch — in Phuket City, at Kopitiam by Wilai on Thalang Road, drawn in by it’s attractive vibe and by people looking like they were enjoying good food.
Pending is the journey home. Something I’ve never relished. Going home, that is. Dating back to boarding school days when I would go home with just about anyone who asked rather than to my own home. Says more about me than “home.” I believe home is where the heart is, and we carry our hearts with us, like our breath, so anywhere and everywhere is home.
And being “at home” on the move has a sense of adventure while “home” in the conventional sense comes with duties and suchlike.
Back to Kopitiam by Wilai, which is on Facebook, I order from the “authentic Thai” section of the menu.
Have learned from an experience at The Beach Restaurant in Hin Lad Bay at Thong Krut on Koh Samui, what seems forever ago but was in fact about three days ago, that Thai chillies are likely to be more spicy than hot.
The duck red curry dish with pineapple has three Thai chillies next to it on the menu, their hottest. The duck is the attraction for me. “You like spicy?” the waitress asked. Nice of her to check in. “Yes, Thai spicy,” I confirm.
It’s delicious. Burns my tonsils on first mouthful, except I don’t have any. I remind myself that it’s probably not a good idea to cultivate the taste for too spicy. Have read reports. But this is great over the mound of jasmine rice asking to be dug into and relished. As always, nose runs. Pleasure centers come alive. Not sure about that, but like the line.
The woman behind the counter in this eatery, filled with historic Chinese-themed memorabilia, is warm, smiling like she loves her eatery — what she’s created and what she’s doing.
Not surprised now I’ve read some links about this place. I believe I was served by Wiwan “View” Bumrungwong, the manager who is around most days, and that it was her mom, a long-time restauranteur of note, who was at the desk counter. No wonder excellent food and busy.
Back to Kim’s massage. A large place. One of three recommendations I get from my guest house manager when I asked where to go for a massage. Not as many massage places in Phuket Old Town compared with everywhere else I’ve been.
Her hand-drawn map shows the three options. Two for different branches of Kim’s, that I had read about when googling (came up on Trip Advisor). The other for a boutique place further away that didn’t appeal. Mixed reviews, the Kim’s.
And the most disappointing massage of my trip. I asked for strong. In the past have had torture. But this one was uncomfortable. Like she didn’t have a feel or know what she was doing or was trying to do “strong,” which I asked for, but didn’t quite know how.
I had booked for 90 minutes and it cost 450Bht, not well spent. First massage that left me with muscles after that felt bruised. Sore. Funny that the previous torture ones left me invigorated. And torture at the osteopath leaves me invigorated. And torturing myself at yoga leaves me invigorated. Not this massage. Must ask my massage therapist friend Carole if she can tell me why.
From lunch: back to pick up my bags at the guest house. Dash off with back pack, front pack and carry bag — umbrella up — into the rain with the advice of the guest house manager to rather catch the 600Bht taxi than the 100Bht bus as time is not on my side. But I believe it is. And you see more from the bus. The local airport bus. Which despite huge traffic jams gets the handful of us with suitcases and backpacks there, at least on time for me. But that is another story…
Namely, if faced with predictability or adventure when the unexpected happens (plane not delayed but cancelled), what do you choose? Get flown to Bangkok for a rush-trip back home? Or spend two more days on Phuket Island and have another Thailand outdoor food market adventure, this time at Nai Yang Beach. What a question…
© Wanda Hennig 2016, story and photos.