Why TripAdvisor Sucks.

Holy shit, no wonder Northeast Thailand is so misunderstood:

The closest the Mekong River comes to Maha Sarakham province is around 170 kilometers away, in Mukdahan. One of the tributaries of the Mekong, the Chi River, does flow right through Maha Sarakham province and city, so it is connected, but if you want to use that logic, I nominate the Adriatic Sea as a wonderful Thing to Do in Maha Sarakham Province.

Also, the Mekong probably shouldn’t be grouped into Nature & Parks anymore since the water is barely flowing at times and most of the wildlife is dead and gone. The most accurate description for the foreseeable future is, “Heavily Exploited Power Source Where Giant Catfish Once Lived.”

I clicked the green See 1 Experience button shown in the lower right corner of the graphic above (the actual page is here). It took me to a page called OVERVIEW MEKONG DELTA (My Tho – Ben Tre)… Both of those places are in Vietnam for fuck’s sake! Not sure if Trip Advisor is aware if these two countries are not same same or if they are aware and it’s all just keyword games (because the word “Thailand” is in the link for a page having nothing to do with Thailand), but either way, it’s fucking despicable… Shitty travel sites should at least be responsible for lightly educating the shitheel tourists and backpackers they foist on the locals, yo.

Let me tell you about my day

Tropical Storm Podul (North Korean for “willow”) has been dumping on us since around midnight and I spent the day trying to prevent everything we own from being flooded including vehicles, property, and cats, as well as preparing to sign a lease for our new juku and organizing teaching materials for a seminar at a vocational college in Roi Et city tomorrow (which just got postponed until next week).

My home:

My work:

The highway we were supposed to take:

The area we were supposed to go:

A new skyscraper being built in the shape of a wot (alt spelling: wode; the circular pan flute of Isan):

The newly-created Roi Et Coast Guard station:

And finally, a common sight in the countryside that always brings a smile to my face:

That’s the road to Max and Mina’s school, a couple minutes from our house on the old Maha Sarakham University campus. Nam also found a big pla salit (gourami) stranded in our driveway, and I pushed his armored side along until he could swim back down into the flooded street. When she told a friend about this when we went shopping later in the day, he asked quite seriously why we hadn’t eaten it!

Note: Most of the photos on this page are borrowed from social media and were forwarded multiple times before I used them here. Please let me know if you’d like attribution.

Khon Kaen to Maha Sarakham

When Nam is driving, I like snapping photos from the passenger seat. Up here in Isan, this type of photo is defined by capturing the camera in the side mirror and long green fields of rice when it’s the right time of year. Otherwise, it’s just a big, hot, dusty expanse.

How do you like them jackfruits?

My favorite urinal in the whole world because peeing while staring at swollen jackfruit pairs is somehow fascinating.

This is at an all-you-can-eat hot pot/grill buffet that has unfortunately changed owners, upped their prices, and is no longer worth going to. RIP Mum Aloi Ban Din Dam… Your 99 Baht buffet was the best in town!

Sunset Cast

Sometimes I miss lugging around a DSLR.

We visited a nearby reservoir, Kaeng Loeng Chan (they really need to simplify the official English spelling), on the weekend. They were holding a work rally to cover the newly-created Health Park with grass sod and quite a few people showed up to volunteer (or as a Thai would say, to make merit).

We got bored of the manual labor after less than an hour and walked around the banks of the reservoir instead, taking photos and looking at dead crabs. The water seems too murky and oxygen-depleted to support fish close too shore, but they must be out there somewhere. Maybe I’ll take the kids fishing out there sometime.

Dragonfly table

So this happened lol.

We were looking for a used table. They cost about 3,500 to 4,000 baht for a decent one. Delivery would be around 1,000 baht since there were none for sale around here.

Went shopping at our neighborhood shopping mall yesterday and found this one (Dragonfly 20mm) on sale with a set of paddles for 4,750 baht.

Ka-ching!

Sunday Hoops

A three day weekend is something special, but especially so when you’re a little kid. Mommy was off at graduation practice for her uni, so the kids and I got in the Crown and cruised around lazy Sunday style, picked up some fries at Mickey D’s, and went to some shaded outdoor courts across from their school for a picnic and some basketball.

These days, Max is trying out all kinds of sports to see what he likes. He was into football only for a couple years, but has gotten into ping pong more recently. He’s expressed interested interest in starting up muay thai again, so we will start on that at Nam’s uni next week if we can. Just the past couple of days he’s been dribbling around a basketball, so today was the day to find out if he could get the ball up to the basket yet:

A photo of Max in his pre-basket days.

Max in his full post-basket glory. Be proud son, not everyone has a snapshot of such an important moment.

This was his very first unassisted basket, and there was much celebration. All in all, he got in three baskets today and wore the hell out of his arms. As I remember, this is an important growth marker for kids – playing until you’re worn out, then playing some more on top of that. So I pushed him some more for good measure.

As we were leaving, some high school girls came around to play in their green team uniforms and we watched them start practicing. Max asked if I could dunk, and I said no, but he should ask the girls if they could.

He asked why, and I told him it might be a good pick up line. He asked what a pick up line was, and when I explained, he got pretty annoyed with me and asked why I wanted him to have such an old (!) girlfriend. I told him it would make all the little girls in his class jealous, after which Max got angry and stopped talking to me for a while. But we listened to trap on the way home, and even Gucci agreed with me.

Monkey Atlantis

Maha Sarakham’s premier tourist attraction is under water!

The monkey forest park in the nearby town of Kosum Pisai (AKA Monkeytown) is now completely flooded. The river running through it is usually quite wide and only about a meter deep; it’s a great spot to relax under the trees and watch fishermen throwing cast nets as a fresh breeze blows through and monkeys steal food from cars and incessantly mount each other.

Now, it’s under several meters of floodwater because the Ubonrat Dam upriver was opened after the heavy rains.

Pushed out of their home in the forest, the monkeys are now living up the street at the school and the temple, and even cruising the streets around town.

Hopefully, the monkeys can go home again soon so that order is restored in Monkeytown.