An Alcoholic’s View of Rural Thailand – Part Two

Back in October last year I put my tongue in my cheek and bit hard. The result was a light-hearted post titled An Alcoholic’s View of Rural Thailand. Today I’d like to follow-up that popular post with part two, and it’s one which I promise required no pressure from my teeth at all.

For the best part of the past two weeks, I’ve spent time with Wonderful Wi at our village house in Udon Thani. Our regular day trips around the local area have meant I’ve so far clicked my camera about 500 times. I want to share some of those pictures with you. I’ve added a header and explanation to the photographs which aren’t by any means spectacular but are ones I feel give a good reflection of rural Thailand and its provincial towns and cities.

This post leaves the slice of lemon in the fridge, the gin in the cabinet and will hopefully give a tonic to rural Isaan.

Smoke on the water…. 

This is my favourite photo of my holiday so far. It was taken just yards from the Mekong River in Nong Khai and showed four Thai monks checking out the neighbourhood. Smoke on the water is an appropriate header for this one, although the funk monks might be better as this picture wouldn’t look amiss on a CD music sleeve.

Beam me some more Scotty….

If they had overstocked this stuff on the Starship Enterprise, then Mr Scott would have been even harder to comprehend. I’m a big fan of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee bourbon, but on this trip, I bought a duty-free bottle of Jim Beam. It was the first time I’d tasted it, and it compared favourably with JD. My Jim Beam bit the dust on day four of this holiday along with the last of my 200 duty-free cigarettes. Those Nong Khai smoking monks have a bit of catching up to outdo me when it comes to booree (cigarettes).

The world is the same all over….

This photo was taken from our garden gate and proves the world is the same all over. A grandfather takes his grandson for a walk and perfectly illustrates my point. When grandma tells grandpa to take the kid for a walk, the man of the house has to shift his butt pretty quick. It’s the same the world over.

Come and join the convey, isn’t it a colourful sight….

In two days (Sunday), Udon Thani goes to the voting polls for its local elections, and the candidates and their bandwagons regularly stream past our house with music bellowing out from loudspeakers. I haven’t seen anyone kiss a baby yet, but that’s probably because they’d have to get out their pick-ups and face the soi dogs. Politicians are very smart people.

Udon Thani Golf and Country Club….

At this time of year, there’s plenty of rice being planted and harvested in the paddy fields. This picture was taken from the rear of our house and shows a rice worker hard at work. I hope he puts just as much effort into getting the golf green in the top left-hand corner up to scratch. You could lose a few shots dropping in the drink. At the moment the hole plays a long eight-iron and at least twelve putts from where I took this shot.

Kamchanod, a tourist attraction waiting to happen….

Kamchanod is home to UdonThani’s most famous ghost story and also has the kind of sights seen in this photograph. It is a lovely place to view, and if you ever visit this part of Thailand, then it’s worth an effort to get there. Kamchanod is near Ban Dung.

A damsel in distress….

A damsel in distress. The lady was negotiating the waters which surrounded Kamchanod forest and became stuck in the river’s thick plants. One of her fellow workers waded in and helped her back to dry land. It’s believed the water surrounding Kamchanod is the underground entrance and home to the famous fireball breathing Naga serpent.

A damsel who’s going to cause a lot of distress….

Kamchanod again. A beautiful Udon Thani girl is serving an iced coffee. She’s undoubtedly going to break a few hearts and cause distress to a few local Kamchanod boys. You’d have to be ice-cool to snare this young lady.

Breaking News….Girl Guides raid village garden….

Yesterday was Teachers Day in Thailand and the evening before lots of schoolgirls sporting Girl Guides uniforms raided our garden of many of its flowers. The Girl Guides special mission was with Wilai’s approval, and all the flowers they gathered were free of charge. I hope the teachers appreciated their colourful rose flower bouquets.

Best wishes from Udon Thani and I hope you have enjoyed one or two of my photographs.

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I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

12 Responses

  1. Keith says:

    So what is the drink of choice after the JB runs out? On my last visit to Thailand I bought a number of 80 baht liter bottles of Thai whiskey which does not taste at all like whiskey to me. I only sampled these but the men in the village really seem to enjoy it. I usually stick to Beer Chang.

  2. Martyn says:

    Keith – My spirit is usually Jack Daniel’s but I gave Jim Beam a shot this time. I was quite impressed with it. On the whole I’m a beer drinker, Beer Leo is my usual tipple but this trip I’ve been drinking a lot of Archa Beer as I discovered they are now selling it in large 500ml cans. I prefer a can to a bottle. I quite like the occasional glass of Thai Regency Whisky with coke or soda.

  3. How says:

    Looks like you have settled back down quickly in Udon. Like the commentary that goes with the pictures. Short sweet with sprinkles of humour. Enjoy.

  4. Martyn says:

    How – Thanks for the read and comment. I’ve been in Thailand two weeks now but my laptop wasn’t playing ball so I was unable to post or view other blogs like yours. I’ve now got the thing purring in the right places.

  5. David Shiel says:

    Good stuff McGee keep at it. More more!

  6. Martyn says:

    David I’m pleased you liked the post and thanks for the comments on Facebook. I’m on holiday at the moment so my internet access is limited which is why I’ve been a bit slow answering comments.

  7. Catherine says:

    Martyn, a post sharing the real taste of Thailand is a great idea. Tour companies won’t be lining up to sign you up, but hey. Your Thai bits are far more interesting than the airbrushed versions they tout.

    It’s been ages since I ‘ve tasted Jim Beam. These days (what with not getting any younger) I ask for Why Cow. And why not?

    [ sent from merry Chiang Mai ]

  8. Martyn says:

    Catherine I’ve had no emails from any tour companies yet but I do wish Kamchanod would get a bit more publicity. They could also help themselves by producing some brochures about the place.

    I hope you’re enjoying a relaxing drink or two in Chiang Mai.

  9. I think if I had to live in Rural Thailand, I would need to quickly become an alcoholic to retain my sanity. I love Thai monks and their smoking, drinking, cellphone using ways.

  10. Martyn says:

    Lawrence, there is little to do in the villages and so it’s really easy to reach for the bottle to relieve boredom. Internet access is a must as it does give you something to do.

    Monks make great photographic opportunities.

  11. Snap says:

    Martyn, firstly my apologise for being so abscent from commenting on your (and everyone else’s) blog. I think your photos and captions sum up rural Thailand to a tee. I’m surprised anyone would wade into waters that were home to the famous fireball breathing Naga serpent 😉

    My favourite? It’s a toss up between the monks and the girl guides.

  12. Martyn says:

    Snap, there’s no need to apologize. I’ve been a bit lapse on comments myself lately. It’s always difficult to find time on holiday.

    Monks or Girl Guides…I think we’d better give the honour to the lasses.

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