Monday, December 16, 2013

44. Pattaya - Bang Pra

45 km

I returned my little HONDA scooter this morning and got back on the BMW. First it felt pretty weird, but, as always with this motorcycle, very soon it felt very, very good. A few images from last evening and off we go north to Bang Pra to see friends.

Not quiet right but still a BMW, as a custom oil painting. There must be another aficionado out there.

Seafood everywhere.

The ride follows the old Sukhumvit Road, Highway 3, and passed the large container sea port in Laem Chabang where my motorcycle arrived pretty exactly two month ago. The harbor facilities cannot be seen in detail from the highway, except for some very tall gantry cranes and other container handling equipment which hovers in the distance. The motorcycle was a little concerned that it would be going back into a wooden box and already back on a long journey across the oceans, but after we left the harbor control gates behind the BMW ran as smoothly and fast as ever. 

From Laemg Chabang is is only a short ride to Bang Pra, home of a famous golf course, but more importantly, the Thai Flying Club. 

But before we get there I like to follow my nose and see where this distinct rotten-fish smell comes from which can be smelled since I left Pattaya. Of course we are only a few kilometers away from Si Racha, the town which produces the famous original Sriracha sauce, also very common in the U.S., there made by Huy Fong Foods, with a different taste and consistency. The area on the coast here produces also the ingredients for the fermentation of nam pla (น้ำปลา) and ngan bya yay fish sauce. This is where the lovely smell is coming from.

Fresh caught sea food on drying racks.

This IS fresh fish, look at the clear eyes, and compare those the next time with the offerings at your local supermarket.

Enough of the smell and fish, and up the road towards my friends house near the airfield.

Photo courtesy "Thai Flying Club".

Here, some 20 years ago, I met a group of great people and especially one couple and I became good friends. This was my first trip to this beautiful country. Unfortunately the husband, an avid MOONEY owner and pilot, passed away years ago, but his wife and grand-daughter invited me to visit them at their beach-house before I would leave Thailand for Cambodia. 

In those days my deceased friend took me on many spectacular flights across this part of Thailand, to the former U.S. Vietnam airbase  in U-Tapao, and we also saw the junkyard from above which purchased his previous MOONEY which he crashed in an accident. 

Now more than twenty years later, his wife wanted me to come and spend some time with them because I remember her of her husband, and she likes me to stay at the beach house. She is now 75 years old, still works as a judge in a juvenile court in Bangkok, and reminds me of my own mom. In a little niche she keeps the flying uniform and club hat of her husband, and the boots he wore when flying his beloved MOONEY.

Bang Pra airport, home of the Thai Flying Club

In the 1960s.

Om, her grand-daughter and her niece

And her sweet pet bunny -she has two of them- one black, one white.

Beautiful sunset over Bang Pra bay.

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