Humans are Great – Vichai

We’d just finished up a pretty full on few days of adventure, hiking beside a national park in sweltering heat in Central Thailand. Accommodation had been scarce and we’d spent a few nights in temples and at a stranger’s house. We arrived in Ban Dan Lan Hoi in the early hours of the afternoon, suspecting we would have to find another temple or kind stranger to take us in for the night. Gab asked one lady selling meat on a stick (a common sight) if there was anywhere to sleep, miming and Google translating, and surprisingly she motioned for us to follow her. She took us to the hardware store, as you do, and in very broken English one of the people there said we could stay at the local guest house. Huzzah!

The guesthouse was slightly out of town so that night we had to walk back to get food. On our way we happened upon a beautiful restaurant, Ban Boran Cafe, that had so much personality. There were little trinkets from Hawaii and all sorts of fun and wonderful decorations lined the walls. It was very quiet and we ventured in, thinking it wasn’t open but Vichai, the owner, greeted us in English and showed us to our seats.

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I glanced over the menu, it couldn’t be true, there was pizza! I prepared myself for disappointment. We’d been to a lot of places with many different delights on the menu but when we went to order said delights, we were told they were not available. We would inevitably end up ordering Pad Thai, a delicious dish but one that we had nearly every second day, if not more. Vichai took our order and gave me the good news, pizza was available! When it came out in all its cheesy glory I was like a little kid at Christmas. Life was good.

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Over the next three days (we extended our stay because we loved Vichai’s restaurant so much) I ate cheese based dishes, Gab devoured some delicious curries and Vichai shared bits and pieces of his life with us. He had studied in Hawaii but was originally from Ban Dan Lan Hoi. Vichai wanted to be closer to home and his family so had decided to open up the restaurant. It had been tough going he said because everyone in the town wanted to stick to what they already knew, rather than explore new venues and cuisines. We couldn’t believe Ban Boran Cafe wasn’t a raging success and so we tried to do the little we could to help, showing him how to use Instagram and putting the restaurant on Google Maps.

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On the third day we took a rest day and Vichai taught us how to make a mean red curry. It was like watching an artist at work. Beautiful.

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When we were leaving for the last time, we asked Vichai if he would come walking with us and cook our meals for free. Surprisingly he declined.

Humans are great. Writing this post made me hungry. Off to eat dinner.


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