Some of you know that in Paris we have already welcomed several couchsurfers. A couchsurfer is someone who travels and who enjoys the hospitality offered by a resident of the city visited by sleeping most often on his couch but some host even offers a private room. We had the opportunity to host a man from Argentina, a Chinese young woman, an Uzbek student and share a homemade dinner with a Colombian girl.
This time it is our turn to play the couchsurfurs in Thailand. We were welcomed by Pop (his real name is Thai Chutipong Benjasatkul), his wife Anne ( Thai Jittra) and their two children Yoong Chang, 13 and Ying Choop, 7 years old. The whole family speaks very good English, so the communication was quite simple, even between the children.
Pop lives in a family home south of the Praya River in Bangkok. When we say family house it’s really that the whole family lives there: Pop’s mom lives on the second floor, Pop and his wife on the third and fourth and his sister on the fifth. Pop is an entrepreneur, he is a head hunter for multinationals looking for Sales and Marketing profiles for their Thai subsidiary. Anne is a pastry cook, she makes amazing cakes in her studio and sells them to a bakery. She also teaches private lessons.
We were hosted in Anne’s spacious kitchen workshop (which also serves as a livingroom). Pop and Anne had prepared a fantastic program for those two days. We had lunch at the local market, which is two blocks away.
He made us discover:
– small crunchy pancakes filled with a little soft meringue and coconut
– Pork brochettes marinated in a satay sauce
– the juice of a tubercle whose name can not be remembered …
This is a chance to have been able to eat with Thai because the restaurants they go to eat usually do not serve tourists. Pop and Anne really wanted to make us discover the dishes of their country that we find in the street. They invited us for lunch and bought us things to taste all weekend. We were very touched and a bit embarrassed.
After a little rest, we left for a succession of activities for the greatest happiness of the children. First stop: the aquarium “Sea Life”. Before arriving to the aquarium we spent more than an hour in the traffic jam. We were impressed by the calm and zenitude of the Thai. There was no horn, Pop never complained about the traffic.
The aquarium is located in a huge modern shopping mall with a gourmet supermarket and floors of beauty shops, clothes … Once again the contrast is striking between this air-conditioned building and the outside of the building where the streets are filled with small food vendors, florists, hairdressers for two euros the cut or seamstress with her machine on the sidewalk. The only common thing could be …. the cockroaches …. The aquarium was beautiful, we spent over an hour strolling amongst many specimens including the sharks of course! The tunnel in the middle of the fish is impressive. The children went from room to room at a good rhythm with eyes wide open and Sacha came to look for us to show us his discoveries!
After a meal at the food court of the mall (which allowed everyone to choose his meal … Long live the Mac Do …), we returned always driven by Pop in their big car with a screen so that children can watch movies: convenient when travel time can stretch widely. After a good night’s sleep wewere ready for a Sunday with Pop and the boys (Anne gave a pastry course to a student). The day started with a morning outing in a huge special trampoline playground and an afternoon at the zoo (the kids wanted to bring us in to visit something more but we were exhausted!)
Upon our return we discovered the magnificent cakes prepared by Anne and her pupil of the day.
Time came for a snack and we continued the culinary discoveries, we tasted Durian paste and a mixture of grated fresh coconut, peanuts and soufflé cereal (when I say “we” followed by the verb “taste” , please understandood that in 80% of the cases it means “Sara tasted ….”). In the evening, our guests still spoil us by offering Tom Yam Kung a very fragrant shrimp soup, Thai omelette, crispy chicken, sautéed pork with vegetables (traditionally cooked in front of us). We finish the evening with a small French Madeleines session that are incomparable with the beautiful cakes of Anne but everyone swallowed them very quickly anyway!
We will keep a wonderful memory of this weekend. Our hosts were super friendly and very attentive. We really did not feel like we were couchsurfers but rather like spending time on a family weekend !!! A big thank you to this family.