Monday, July 31, 2006


Khorat is a quite large town in the Isaan region of North Eastern Thailand, and it was there that we headed after Surin. Noi's police brother picked us up at our hotel and took us to the railway station to meet Patrick and Noi who had sorted out tickets for us.

The town of Khorat is pretty big and fairly unlovely. The first day after arriving we just went for food with Pat and Noi at a nearby mall. Pat is obsessed with a chain restaurant called MK, which does steamboat food. You have a boiling pot of soup on the table and get brought pots of vegetables and seafood (or meat, but not in our case) and cook them in the pot. It was OK, although some of the fishy things were really quite horrid. Gemma tasted one and nearly threw up into the pot.

The second day Noi's army brother and family arrived to take us to more Khmer ruins at Phimai. Gemma, Patrick and I sat in the back of his pickup and I had great fun waving and wai-ing at people that we passed along the road, and in cars, buses and on motorbikes. I think I nearly made someone on a bike crash when he tried to return my wai though. Before Phimai we visited a village with an archaeological exhibition which was interesting. Gemma bought a bamboo flute. Noi's brother began to play one flawlessly in a traditional Thai way, whilst I just about managed to murder frere jaqcues on it. It's good to know that the recorder lessons I endured as a child had a beneficial effect.

Near Phimai is a giant (3,500 square metre) complex of Banyan trees. Pathways have been crafted through the roots of the intertwining trees and make a very nice and cool stroll. We ate at the roadside eatery next to the Banyan. A meal for 7 costing 3.60 Sterling. A man was selling sugar cane to feed his mates' Elephant so Gemma and Patrick bought a bunch each. I tried getting a photo of Gemma feeding the beast, but it had other ideas and ate all of the cane in about 2 seconds flat. It seemed to like it a lot.

The ruins at Phimai were pretty good, albeit similar to the ones at Phanom Rung, and, I presume, those at Angkor Wat. These ruins had a few more people about, including quite a few monks. Both Gemma and I tried to sneakily take their photos without them noticing. I got surveyed by some giggling schoolgirls.

The hotel we stayed at in Khorat was a similar affair to the one in Surin. A nightly programme of Karaoke based entertainment, this time round the pool. It was pretty dreadful. We couldn't face hotel food, especially since the menu included delights such as, 'Fried Noodle with Crap Meat'. Happily there was a farang owned pizza shop next door so we ate there both evenings. The place had loads of certificates on the wall from military training operations, so apparently the US Marines also like the pizza there.

We checked out the following morning and army brother drove us to the bus station from where we made for Bangkok.

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