Our blog for our trip to the far east. Taking in Singapore, Thailand, Laos and home before and after we leave

Friday, March 24, 2006

24th March, Nong Khai, NE Thailand

This is our first chance to get online for a couple of days, after two nights in Khorat. Khorat was a bustling town where we stayed at a reasonable quality hotel for about 10 pounds including breakfast. Also they were having a festival to comemorate a town heroine which started yesterday, and was one of our main reasons for visiting the town.

Our trip was by bus from Bangkok, and took about three hours in air conditioned comfort, complete with a drink of Coke and a banana cake en route. Arriving at Khorat we checked into our hotel, The Srivajiya, then explored the town. We eventually ate at a food court in a shopping mall where I had to use my negligible knowledge of Thai and RG phrase book to discover what they were selling. I say eventually because we spent a good deal of time looking for a restaurant in the guidebook which either didn't exist any longer or was in an entirely different location to that on the map. Damn you Lonely Planet!

After returning to our room in order to freshen up we headed out, stopping for a drink at a bar called Khorat Texas, where we had to avoid the attention of passing beggars. However, one thing that couldn't have avoided our attention was an elephant blowing a harmonica which a man wanted 20B (about 30p) to feed some pieces of non-descript vegetable matter. What can I say, I'm a sucker for musical pachyderms. We then sought out another restaurant that wasn't there anymore, before settling on a modern style Thai place which looked quite trendy. It was still very cheap.

Next day we visited a nearby town with some Khmer ruins which have been suggested to be the model for Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The central pillar was pretty spectacular. Back in Khorat we made for the beginning of the festival which seemed to involve a lot of Thai women in elaborate traditional costume and some Thai dancing, and lots of people standing round whilst an announcer spoke for ages in Thai. The locals were enjoying it, though it largely passed us by. They did have some good fireworks, mind

For dinner we found another Thai restaurant which, being bored with the usual stuff, I decided to opt for something random off the menu called Namprik something or other. I got a plate of raw vegetables, a bowl of sticky rice (consistency: chewing gum), a small bowl of pungent sauce and a whole, small, deep-fried fish. It was edible, though I was a bit worried at first that the sauce might have raw fish in it. It didn't since we found out later that it was just chilli and shrimp paste. I've had more satisfying meals it has to be said. A few more beers and we made our way back to the hotel

This morning we were up earlyish to catch a bus to Nong Khai which took hours. Our guest house is overlooking the Maekong river, and it's nice to be somewhere a bit quieter. Now we need to find somewhere to have a nice cold Singha


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