Saturday, February 25, 2012

Udon Thani, Northeastern Thailand

Leaving Bangkok before I'd seen everything on my bucket list was necessary if I was going to see more of the country.  The overnight sleeper train to Udon Thani was a pleasant and inexpensive way to get out of town.  Second class sleepers are what night train travel used to be like in the U.S. with daytime seating being converted to upper and lower berths for sleeping.  Curtains provide visual privacy for your bed made with fresh linens and a really nice thick woven blanket sealed in plastic so you know it has been freshly laundered.  The trip began at 8 PM and arrived in Udon at 8 AM next morning.  Price was about $14.  Food was available, but more expensive than eating off the train, but of course I am talking about dimes and not dollars more expensive.

Udon is in a part of Thailand that is not much visited by tourists, so prices are even less here than the rest of the country.  A very nice room here was $9 with bathroom, 60 channel TV, and balcony.  A friend from Alaska rents a condo in this town for $150 a month with weekly linen change.

All kinds of fruits, vegetables, and even hot food is peddled around town making it really convenient to eat anytime, anyplace.  Here Albert is buying a small bag of tangerines that were so sweet you realize the juice sold on the street does not have added sugar.

Thailand is tropical and a rice kind of country.  Beans are not grown here and are expensive.  At this western style restaurant which are always expensive compared to Thai food.  This bean dish is nearly $3 and I'd have to be one hungry Britt to order it.  If one can stick to eating Thai food meals are typically less than a dollar.

Chilies, on the other hand, are ubiquitous, and although there would be no reason to buy them unless you were doing your own cooking, would be cheap.  Thai people do not do much cooking at home since food is available everywhere and is good and cheap.  All food stalls pack meals to go which local folks pick up on their way home.  People worried about the food being too spicy will be comforted to know that much of the time spices are treated as condiments and are on the table for you to add as you wish.  When ordering for take-home just request "mai phet" (not spicy).

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