Thailand: Isan

Nang Rong: "Jan the Caterer"

Nang Rong

Buriram Province


March 11, 2005

My Dear Party Animals,

"I old woman," my friend Lek said to me. "Lek thirty!"

My friend Lek works here in Nang Rong. Her daughter, mother, sister, brother, nephews and nieces all live in Ayutthaya, many hours away.

I decided that Lek would have a proper Birthday celebration with her friends and colleagues. I would cater a dinner-dance at The Honey Inn in Nang Rong.

Also on the Invitation List were our mutual friends, members of Phanna's family and other guests at the Inn.

Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat): Prasat Hin Phimai

Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) 


December 4, 2004

Dear Family and Friends,

I have had a very happy two weeks.

On 22 November, after departing Bangkok by train at 05:45 I arrive four hours later at Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Khorat. After a brief nap at the impressive Khorat Hotel ( A/C, TV, king-size bed, huge bathtub -- all for $14.25 per night -- a little expensive for this area),I had a buffet lunch of a variety of chicken and fish dishes and coffee and dessert (watermelon, pineapple, ice cream - not! -- for $2.25 -- also a bit expensive). I met yet another ex-serviceman and his Asian wife . . . everybody is happy.

After lunch I hired a motorbike taxi and visited three Wats (Buddhist temples) nestled into quiet corners of this otherwise bustling city in the Northeast -- an area called Isaan.

Kantharalak: Khao Phra Wihan, Cambodia



Phra Wihan


December 1, 2004

Dear Family and Friends,

Giacomo and I traveled east from Nang Rong, a five hour bus ride to Kantharalak, and checked into the Kantharalak Palace Hotel.

The next morning we hired motor-bike taxis and sped south to the Dangrek Range, the mountains of the Thai-Cambodia border.

Unexpectedly, our drivers took us first to Khao Phra Wihan National Park - one of the sites designated as "Unseen Thailand." I'm glad we saw it.

Down a long railed stairway, past the "good luck" sticks "holding up" the mountain, was a small sensitively carved bas-relief executed directly into the sheer face of the cliff, looking outward to the deep valley and plains below. The smooth and detailed images are a mystery to the archaeologists.

Then, across the border to the main site.