Lay ahhhhhhhh na

17 03 2010

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16

PROLOGUE:

Life at Layana is stressful. So many decisions to make. So much on the line.

Before I go into Wednesday’s report, I feel the need to create some sort of understanding of my situation as I write this. Part of our stress comes from this blog. You see, when it is “Linda’s Blog Day” I must feverishly be taking photos all day and thinking of what I am going to be publishing and how I am going to possibly fit in the actual writing process. The time after I hit the “Publish Post” button is pure bliss. I know that for 2 more days I don’t even have to remember what it is we are doing. I don’t care if pictures get taken or what we ate for dinner. Ahhh – the serenity. I know that Rich and Janel feel the same – we have had several late night discussions on the pressures of writing THE BLOG. . .

Perhaps this small diversion from Wednesday’s blog will give the reader some idea of the stressful situations in which Rich, Janel and myself seem to be wallowing in. It is Thursday morning (around 10:30am). Rich and Janel went off diving today – I didn’t feel the urge so I stayed behind. I had a leisurely breakfast on the veranda. Now I am poolside (in the shade) perched on a padded lounge chair (fixed specially by my pool boy) and I have my “service buzzer” handy. So sad that I must “work” (on the blog!).

However, I feel the need to get rid of the stress of completing yesterday’s blog. I could conceivably wait until this evening to write, but then I chance missing a part of Happy Hour. So much stress. . . Fortunately today I have a one–hour seaweed scrub followed by a one and a half hour Swedish massage scheduled starting at 1pm. The other source of my stress today is the decision I must make whether to have my “pre-spa” Thai Massage at the little hut on the beach that is about 30 steps away from where I am sitting. I am thinking it would be a good idea. Of course – the Thai Massage at the little hut is such an extravagance at 250baht for an hour (about $6) so the decision requires a lot of thought. (Janel and I have been indulging in this “pre-spa” routine for the past couple of days so it is not a new problem – it is ongoing.)

Janel and Rich will likely return just as I am finishing up my treatments. We will have collectively make the monumentous decision of whether to order a “pre-happy hour” drink at the pool or to wait it out until 5:30. We have played it both ways in the past. Sometimes waiting until 5:30 seems like an eternity. Naturally, there is the decision of whether to imbibe poolside or right down on the sand – the service buzzers work everywhere.

Following Happy Hour we must determine where to have dinner. The decision-making process is neverending on Koh Lanta. (and I have only told you of the highlights)

Ok – back to WEDNESDAY:

Janel wakes early and checks email, etc. Nice and quiet. Rich and I finally rise and we all trapse on down to breakfast. It has been pre-determined by Janel and myself that we will select the Thai breakfast portion of the buffet. After our mandatory museli concotion we visit the wok station where the ingredients are all lined up to choose and the chef immediately comes to life. We tell him what we would like. I go for a dish I had earlier in the trip – I don’t remember the name, but Janel does and helps me order. It has wide noodles, soy sauce, fish sauce, prawns, mushrooms, greens and lots of sugar. Janel chooses a fried rice mixture. The chef offers to bring it to our table, but we ask if we can watch him prepare – of course!

Time for Thai breakfast

The noodles and fried rice are delicious. When we finish our selection I decide that I must have my morning mango. All of the other fruit selections are cut and placed out for you to grab and go. The mango, however, must be requested. I get one every morning. I am not sure if I love it because it is delicious or because I get to have it specially prepared. What do you think?

Delicious or Pretentious?

Yesterday we scoped out the beach scene and found where we believe is the Prime Spot for both shade, wave viewing and people watching. We scurry to the spot and request that the pool boy prepare 3 chaises. Done. With Kindle in hand I mark my turf. Janel and Rich are going to make a trek down to a local dive shop to inquire about diving tomorrow. Not me – I have had my fill of diving for this trip and opt to schedule spa treatments instead (big surprise).

Enjoying the Prime Spot


There are a few vendors on this beach, mostly selling jewelry. Janel and I spotted one yesterday and pantomimed asking if he had any earrings. No – necklaces/bracelets only. Too bad – not interested. However, when I see a vendor today I mime “earrings” and he nods his head “yes.” I motion for him to approach us but he makes a sign that I can tell means Layana does not allow him to approach their guests! Ok – I guess I will have to walk down to him – oh bother.

He does, indeed, have about 3 pair of earrings, none of which we like. But a beautiful shell necklace catches my eye and I bargain hard for it. I end up buying it and an happy with my purchase. The vendors here are very different from the ones we have encountered in Mexico – no hard sell here at all. Very comfortable whether or not you decide to purchase. I like that.

“How much is that one?”

Shopping is over so Janel and Rich head down the beach to the dive shop. Rich has alaready informed Janel that they will have to ford a stream across the sand to get there. I don’t think she understood exactly what that meant.


The “stream”

I settle in with my Kindle and enjoy the ambience. The beach here is completely chill – unlike any other we have been on. Now and then a few beachgoers saunter past – some red, some bronze; some beautiful, some not so much. It is an interesting mix. Around the resort no one is frantically making demands or looking like they have somewhere to go. There is most certainly an air of contentment all around.

We have decided that Layana Resort is probably the nicest place we have ever stayed – anywhere. While it is gorgeous and private, it is NOT pretentious or glitzy. It is super friendly and comfortable. You have the feeling that whatever you might want they will get it for you and smile all the while. You are greeted by every passing employee and they give genuine smiles (thus the moniker for Thailand – “Land of Smiles.”)

Janel and Rich return from their trek and just in time, too. Janel and I are trying to sneak in a “pre-spa” Thai massage at the hut next door. We were there yesterday and planned already to return. We think we have time so out we go. The ladies remember us from yesterday and ask “Thai Massage?” Oh yeah. Nary a word is spoken as they get right to work. With every Thai massage I get I become a little more flexible and am in a little less pain! Actual “Thai” massage differs from other massages in that it is a dry massage and really focuses mostly on the legs with stretching, pulling and pressue points. Sounds horrendous, but they are very relaxing.

We finish up and tip the ladies this time. They are so thrilled that they give us pieces of watermelon and try to teach us a few words of Thai. So sweet – we like them a lot. We have no pics of this operation as of yet, but will try to snap some before we leave.

It is getting to be time to head to the spa for our “real” treatments. Rich is already there ahead of us. He was quite reluctant at first to go to the spa. Then he opted for the 1 hour “head, back, shoulder” treatment and got hooked. Today he has booked a TWO HOUR Layana Signature Massage! (spa junkie)

The long, boring walk to the spa (!)

Janel anticipates her massage

Part of the waiting area


Today Janel has chosen the “Rejuvenating” massage for 90 minutes and I am getting the “Visible Repair and Refinement” facial. We are put into the same room and crawl up onto the tables. the facial is awesome – lots of different “goop” and a face/head massage. I come out with my skin glowing. Janel comes out and looks 10 years younger.. .

Looking 13 again. . .

Ahhhhhhhhhhh


We eagerly await Rich’s return from the depths of his 2 hours ordeal. He arrives looking super relaxed and happy.

How cool is this?

“I think I could get used to this”

“I KNOW I could get used to this”

Rich has loved his treatment. His therapist, Kasa, is awesome. She is smaller than I am and Rich and she had several laughs as she tried to contort him into submission. I can picture Rich sitting on the table with Kasa behind him – her foot in his back, gripping his shoulders with her hands and pulling with all she’s got! She told him about some kind of cream that she recommends for his tight shoulders and promptly returns with some to show him.

“Maybe you can get your wife to put this on you”

“Just like this”

We bask for awhile in our spa glow and enjoy our tea and fruit. As a side note – Rich has become quite fond of Dragon Fruit. I am not sure if we can find it at home. Oh no. Before leaving the spa we book our treatments for the next couple of days. Since Janel/Rich will be diving tomorrow I book 2 treatments for myself. Friday is “purchase one treatment and your partner receives one free.” Let’s see. . . Janel and I partner up and choose the 90-minute Hot Stone Treatment. Rich and I partner up (do you see the common denominator in this equation?) and he chooses the Aromatic Swedish Massage while I go out on a limb with the Indian Head massage. We are so happy that these decisions have been made and we won’t have to worry about it for the next 2 days.

Oh my – it is coming on to Happy Hour time. We manage to hit poolside at exactlyl 5:30 – perfect timing. I quickly order up a Coco – Loco (I have been waiting for the proper setting) and Rich chooses a Caparinha. My drink arrives in a full on coconut shell. Coolness!

Pool service at its finest (I have tried to get this picture to flip, but it just isn’t worth the stress of continuing to try)

Does this follow Linda’s Diet Rule “Never eat anything larger than your head?”

Janel comes out with the computer to work on the blog. Poor dear. She orders a Mai Tai and gets to work. We have noticed a strange phenomena here at Layana. All day long the pool appears to be bustling. We are never here during the hottest part of the day (2-4) since we are usually at the spa during those hours). Then, just when it cools down and becomes gorgeous out (5:30-7:30) there is literally no one at the pool. Just us. Not complaining mind you – just observing. Every day that we have been here we have had our drinks usually IN the pool. We are the only ones. We are sure that the staff talks about the crazy Americans who have their drinks served to them while they are in the pool. But we also know that even it they don’t allow drinks in the pool they would NEVER question us or say a word about it! Brilliant.

“our” pool

We watch the glowing sunset from the edge of the infinity pool and feel very, very lucky to be here. We are already planning to relax at this same location tomorrow.

Ok – we must consider dinner. We think we will visit Thai Cat again. It is such a cool place and the grilled fresh fish is outstanding. We change into dry clothes and walk down the beach. Thai Cat is quite crowded tonight and there is not a “beachfront” table available at this time. No problem – we consult with the GrillMaster and head to the bar to wait.

View from the bar to the Grill Master’s station (Grill Master in white)


I have grown quite fond of Mai Thais so I order one. Janel orders a Pineapple Sour. Rich does not have his reading glasses and can’t read the drink menu. He is relying on Janel and me to make a suggestion. We ask the manager to suggest and he recommends that Rich try a Gypsy. Sounds good – orange juice, lime juice, vodka and rum(?) It comes in a frou-frou glass and Rich notes that it is not a “manly” drink. Not really very good, either. Too sour. He wants to ask for sugar, but I tell him that would be a slap to the bartender. He manages to suffer through it.

Bar at Thai Cat

Should I order another Gypsy???”

Finally a table becomes available and we sit and study the menu. Deciding that we probably had the best side dishes last time we were here, we order the same two – som tam (spicy green papaya salad) and tom yam goong (spicy shrimp soup). Janel and Rich head to the Grill Master’s station to choose our fish for the night. They return and report that they have chosen two pieces of Grouper and a whole Sea Bass (smallish). Sound like too much food!!!

The food arrives and we dive in. Tonight’s fish is wonderful. The grouper is succulent and mild – it has been filleted. The Sea Bass is on the bone (just as we like it) and is a little more firm. Both are deliciously sauced. We manage to eat it all up. Janel and Rich love to pick at the whole fish and try to get every tiny morsel. The Grill Master would be proud.

Looking for hidden morsels


Got one!


“I think you missed one right here”

Got it! Mmmmmmm

And so the day ends. Another great day on Lanta. Can we get up and do it again tomorrow? We’ll see.


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One response

18 03 2010
jandeillinois

Now this sounds like the absolutely perfect day . . . aaaahhhhh.

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