The Hua Hin Pages arrived on the scene on this day in 1996. FBF thought it might be interesting to view some of the changes that have occurred in Hua Hin since that time and the present.
First, there weren’t too many sites on the Web that mentioned Hua Hin in those days. In fact, if you Googled (whoops, Google didn’t come along until a couple of years later) Yahoo’d or Alta Vista’d Hua Hin back then, there was only The Hua Hin Pages.
But then you couldn’t surf in Hua Hin in 1996, unless you called a dial-up account long distance in Bangkok. Dial-up INET didn’t arrive until a couple of years later and some say we’re still waiting for what could truly be called broadband.
Villa runs may be a thing of the past today but in 1996, the closest thing to a supermarket was the Hua Hin Shopping Mall and, although larger, had about the same selection of goods as your normal 7-11 today. There weren’t any 7-11’s here then either. The first to arrive with their stale doughnuts was the one located behind the market at Sra Song and Dechanuchit Rd (or Soi 72–the numbered Sois didn’t come until much later also).
The Chinese fishing tackle shop on Chomsin Rd near Kiwi Corner carried cheese and olive oil for the Italian restaurants but their other goods were so covered in dust that the use-by dates were long obliterated.
Local veggies, fish, and unknown cuts of animal carcasses were available in the wet market but, for anything as exotic as iceberg lettuce, Earl Gray tea, or a croissant, a trip to Bangkok and Villa, Foodland, or Central were necessary.
We now tend to take the hypermarts for granted but Petchburi didn’t get their Big C until 1998 and Tesco Lotus Ratchburi was the nearest of that breed long before Market Village even became a glimmer in Home Pro’s eye.
On the other hand, there was a quite reasonable amount of international restaurants in Hua Hin then. 1996 happens to be the year that the longest running international restaurant, Friendship, closed. Located where Satukarn Square came and went, Friendship played host to backpackers and hi-so alike for almost 20 years.
While Gino (simply the best) has moved on, many of the Italian restaurants in Hua Hin in 1996 are still going strong. Enrico is as flamboyant as ever and while some have played musical chairs with their locations, others are still where they were before and will probably remain for many more years and many are joining them.
While Willy sold out to Heidi and opened a new place, Mat closed down Sweden House and became a trekker. Don’t know where he ended up trekking to…
Wolfgang and Monta moved their Garden all around town and finally retired last year though the word is that Monta is preparing something new next door to Billy.
Ah, Billy, Billy, Billy. Billy took over the lease to Joy Guesthouse in 1996 and in those days, Terrible Tommy was the occasional cook, if he was in the mood or not asleep under one of the tables. But more about Billy tomorrow.
Walking down Memory Lane is tiring…