Monkeying Around In Nong Khai
Boxing Day and still with the smell of Santa’s reindeer droppings in the village air, or was it the buffaloes, romantic fool me, we took to the road on a day trip to Nong Khai. A 65 click journey through our local town Sang Khom, onto Ban Sang Na Khao and from there we joined the Phon Phisai to Nong Khai highway.
The highway junction leaves behind pot holed roads and a drive through Ban Sang Na Khao’s brick tiled bumpy main street. A passage that would make Lance Armstrong’s teeth chatter and shatter a formula one car. My 3000 baht car rental deposit slowly weaved it’s way around, expertly steered by Wonderful Wi.
On the much smoother highway we passed banana stalls and part built houses that seemed to be in the same stage of construction they were on my previous visit three months before. On the outskirts of Nong Khai we took a left off Highway 212 into Ban Salakaeku and its magnificient Sculpture Park.
This was my fourth visit to view the wonderful sculptured statues of Buddha and mythological beings, set in a glorious garden surround. At 20 baht entrance fee for farang, and there were a handful around, it’s a must see attraction worth ten fold the price.
Nong Khai’s Indo-China market is an A-Z of souveniers, fashion, handcrafts and fish restaurants with plenty of bargains on offer. One offer I had to refuse was Wi’s one of a chance to take a few shots with her new Pink Sanyo CG9 camera.
Walking around in a country where the distance between one ladyboy and the next, is probably shorter than a five baht samlor ride, is not recommended with a shocking pink camera dangling from your wrist. A chance meeting with an effeminate 100 kilo, bum bag wearing farang, squeezed into those – have you just come from the fruit market or are you pleased to see me – lycra shorts, dramatically increases with the colour of your accessories. A shocking pink camera could bring a whole new meaning to flash photography.
My shopping complete, I leave the delights of the market to Wi and head off snapping away with my cheap Vivitar camera. My Vivitar excretes its own aura of – small town farang pi##head just wants a few blurred images to show his mother he wasn’t drunk the whole holiday. The Vivitar 8010, you know it makes sense.
The Go Thasadej Bar is on the edge of the market and is ideal for a quiet lunchtime drink. Everytime I see the Thai barman I am reminded of America and Camp David, and the board game Scrabble and which has a greater points score, gender or bender.
A good hour and a few drinks later a collage of bulging plastic shopping bags swing around the corner with Wi’s smiling face poking out of the top. This is my cue to drink up, settle the bill, pop in my gum shield and take the roller coaster ride back to our village, passing a smoking formula one Ferrari and Lance Armstrong’s vibrating lycra shorts on the way. Nong Khai is a lovely day trip but it’s much more enjoyable with dark colored accessories.
With Christmas only 362 days away I would like to make a suggestion of a present for your loved one. Novelty slippers, the perfect Xmas gift, available in three sizes, kids, ladies and ladyboy. They will deepen the dimples in your childs cheeks, bring a Colgate smile to your ladies lips, and bring tears of joy, rolling down, smudging mascara and reddening rouge before nestling with a gay shimmer in the stubble of your loved one’s chin. Novelty slippers, a novel idea brought to you by Hoo Don.