Isaan By Motorbike – Day 3Kevin (เควิน) Khaosan
I took my time getting ready. I felt really good after sleeping on what felt like the best bed in the world. After I packed I went out for breakfast. I found a Khao Tom stall. Khao Tom is the answer to a bad stomach. It is a rice soup, boiled until it’s almost dead. Some small additions are made, maybe a little sliced spring onion, some fried garlic, chopped coriander leaves and depending on the vendor some bits of beef or pork and if you are really lucky then you could get some congealed blood blocks in there. The additions are all optional; however you take it, it is great for the stomach.
I bought some more medication and a pair of gloves to cover my already burned hands and set off. The first destination for the day is Ban Tae Rae. It is close to Sakhon Nakhon. The town is so small that it was hard to work out if I had passed it or not on my way to Nakhon Phakhon.
Just before Ban Tae Rae the road passes over the edge of what I can only think of as a reservoir. The water comes to only a couple of metres below the level of the road. The water seems to be endless. In his small boat at the edge of the road an old man was collecting huge snails for sale.
Just a little down the road from the old snail man, to my surprise was a church. It is not very often at all that I have seen a church In Thailand. I know the Christian faith is growing in the country, but this place was quite aged already. Saint Michael’s Catholic Church.
The only reason to stop in this tiny village is to buy some dog. Yes, not pedigree chum dog food but the real thing. It took a relatively long time to find the dog meat in such a small place. I was hoping for a large dog market, many stalls selling dog soup, dog curry and so on. I was not disappointed as although a lot smaller than I had anticipated there was still the object of my dreams ready for me to purchase and consume.
The stuff I got is kind of like dog jerky. Sun dried with a little bit of spicy flavour. The taste is a little bit like Pepperami. Made me think about where they get the meat for the aforementioned meaty snack. The Thai name for the meat is Nuea Mar Yang. Quite reasonable as well I thought, 150 baht per kilo.
The object of my desire was to be a nice bowl of dog curry or maybe some dog soup, Tom Yam Mar. What I found was the tiniest of meat markets. There was a little bit of dog meat, well raw dog meat. It was in the customary glass ice boxes.
After this I got going, loaded with jerky. I stopped at Wat That Maha Chai. A very quiet temple, a few local people were making decorations for an upcoming special occasion.
Ok, on to Nakhon Pakhon with the excessively long legs well and truly behind me. This leg was over so quickly, the roads were beautiful to ride on, some straight, some curved, awesome. Before I knew it I had arrived at my destination.
I left the main highway and took road to the port. I parked up and found a shop to get my hard earned can of coke. A pleasant lady offered me a chair to rest on. So nice. I sat and watched the river flow. It had flowed before I got there and it will flow after I have left. But it was still good just to watch it for a while and make sure it continued to flow. It is the widest river I have ever seen and at this point it is still a few hundred kilometres from its estuary. It is easy to see why it is used as a border for so many kilometres. This huge brown snake dividing the two countries so accurately.
After relaxing I found my way to the TAT to get some information about where to sleep in this sleepy little town. They were so helpful. Drawing the names, locations and prices of the local accommodations on the town map for me.
I chose a middle priced room, 300 baht per night. Air conditioned with a hot shower. The Windsor hotel was recommended by the TAT girls. One of the girls on the desk speaks amazing English which was a big surprise out here in the middle of no-where. The room was lovely; a big bed, everything working properly, minibar and multi language television.
I had a shower then went for a massage to loosen up after the ride. I found a great massage room in the Indo China market. There were two ladies who worked their magic on me. The cost of the massage was 200 baht. This was not for a time period but for the treatment that is administered. They told me about the nerve damage that I already know that I have just from touching my feet. Amazing, they worked on me for around 45 minutes then told me that enough had been done. So cool.
I went out for dinner to a lovely restaurant that overlooked the river. The restaurant was built on stilts on the bank on the Mae Khong. Every time some walked across the floor the whole thing gently rocked, like a flower in the breeze. It was so nice to sit and watch a local guy fishing for his supper as I ate mine. An amazing amount of shrimp in my Tom Yam Goong. Sour and quite salty, a huge portion and more than enough rice to soak it all up. This was definitely restaurant for Thai people. No English menus, no spoken English. Once again I was very happy that I could speak enough Thai to get by. The restaurant was half full which yielded a good atmosphere. This is one of a few different restaurants on the river side. Nothing too modern, nothing to ramshackle – really, really great.
I finished up my meal then got myself back to the hotel. Just a quick stop in the restaurant next door to get some ice-cream as my night cap.
This felt like a really good place to stay. It is a shame that I had to move on the next day.
Note: Story author is Steven Noake.