This is a video from last week. The whole funeral lasted seven days.
I have read online about soil or water being provided from the royal institution for these affairs; in this case it was a candle with a bundle of flowers (made from corn husks and fragrant tree bark) that was eventually lit by a representative from Bangkok. I need to find out more about this, though.
This was my second time at a funeral with these honors, and I learned a lot more this time. It was a fitting and touching sendoff for Nam’s grandmother.
Were in Sangkha, Surin province for Nam’s grandmother’s funeral. We’ve been coming up here to visit her once or twice a year for 15 years. It’s a small town near the border with Laos known for black magic, apparently.. I never saw evidence of that, though. The funeral is going to be a totally recognized 7-day affair, and it’s going to be hot, so we are grateful they made a hotel with a pool here recently. Because of covid, we hadn’t been swimming for a couple if years… Instantly worked out a shoulder pain I’d had for a few months.
And now we are in a Hoetel.
They are cheaper than Japanese models but offer similar performance; parts are ubiquitous and repair is simple if you DIY, and cheap if you take it to a repair shop.
Covered previously. One day, we will travel to nearby Phetchabun province and get some HD video of these guys. I’m not sure if it’s the plastic chair aesthetic, but all the latest videos are in Nokia era resolution – 240/360/480 LOL.
A star egg makes everything better, especially when cooked to crispy bottom/gooey yolk perfection. Also, crispy pork is the way to go as far as Thai basil stir fry goes. I mean, to each their own, but some ingredients are clearly better than others for any given dish. More on this pad krapow hierarchy at a later date.
“The Vietnamese call this insect cà cuống. It is a highly prized food and often boiled and fried whole.” LINK
Here in Thailand, it is called maeng da or malaeng da, and is mostly used ground up in chili paste called nam phrik or jaew bong. The pheromone that so famously attracts the females has a unique and powerful scent, unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. Not unpleasant in and of itself, but very strong. I can eat it, but have never tried it raw… I found the one above freshly dead, in my driveway. It did not smell. It’s the only one I’ve seen in the wild, although they sell them live at the fresh markets and deep-fried at edible insect stalls.
Incidentally, maengda is also slang for “pimp” in Thai.
The ad blurb translated by Googs:
Last day. Golden minute. When it’s gone,
Boiled chicken. Golden minute. Big size. Only 89 Baht each!!!!
One day only. Discount for 60 baht immediately when shopping for fresh food department. 600 baht or more / receipt.
This Chinese food festival!! with valuable quality at Tesco Lotus.
Tesco. Boiled chicken with entrails. Size M. Size 1.4-1.6 kg. Normal item is 189 Baht each.
⏰ Golden minute. Reduced to 89 baht each!!!!
⏰ Golden minute. The last day. 1 July. Year 63
The name of my student’s high school as revealed in her self introduction last week. I can’t immediately find it on Google, though. So I guess this post will come up as the first result from now on.
Pages like this one and this one and this one got me interested in the cold war antenna array known as the “Elephant Cage.” It was built by the US military in Udon Thani province, northeast Thailand, at an air force base used for signals intelligence back in the day, and suspected of housing a CIA black site in more recent years (although it is now apparently a mushroom farm/museum open to the public). Wikipedia describes the Elephant Cage as thus:
The AN/FLR-9 is a type of very large circular “Wullenweber” antenna array, built at eight locations during the cold war for HF/DF direction finding of high priority targets. The worldwide network, known collectively as “Iron Horse”, could locate HF communications almost anywhere on Earth. Because of the exceptionally large size of its outer reflecting screen (1056 vertical steel wires supported by 96 120-foot towers), the FLR-9 was commonly referred to by the nickname “Elephant Cage.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/FLR-9
None of the Elephant cages exist anymore, although parts of the one in Udon might still be found around town, if local stories are to be believed. I just wanted to compile all of the photos I’ve bookmarked in a single post.
Little things like this still blow my mind every day in this country – it’s part of the charm.
Fortune telling is still a huge part of the culture, and for some reason, tarot cards seem to be getting very popular from what I see online.
These are actually the most popular type of tourist attraction in Maha Sarakham, after dark at least. During the day, I would say SermThai Plaza shopping mall wins first prize.
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.
I threw together a bunch of leftovers and it turned out real fine… Pon Yang Kham beef is the best in Thailand, from a Thai/French cattle hybrid. It will never be world class, but it’s the best of what’s available in Thailand.
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).
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.
It’s quite possible this is an alternate spelling of “Nick.” But somebody should talk to them about it. Maybe their website is a bit more low key? Nope.
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.