Last Day In The Kingdom

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Photos by MJ Klein – FOOD PHOTOS!

After 2 weeks in Thailand it was time for us to spend our last day there, seeing friends and doing things that we like to do.  First order of the day was lunch.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

We met our friends for lunch at the First Choice restaurant in Khonkaen.  Left to right, is Peter Keeling, who is currently in the process of writing a very important book on the origins of the Thai culture, Nigel and his lovely wife Gigi.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

On this trip I got to spend quite a bit of time with Peter discussing his book.  Hui-chen and I got to read some of it to.  Historically, I think his book is important.

After lunch, which I spent eating and not photographing, we took a walk over to The #1 Bar to spend the afternoon.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

On the way we passed this motorcycle which had the word Indian on the gas tank.  This is not what it appears to be!

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

Unlike Taiwan, guns are legal in Thailand, and even foreigners can own guns in Thailand if they meet the criteria.  Our friend Brunty showed us his gun when we visited Ubon, and he’s written about it himself, so it’s no secret that he owns one.  I didn’t see any guns in this shop (which happens to be a block away from The #1 Bar), only ammo.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

This woman running the bar is new since my last visit, and she couldn’t be nicer.  Unfortunately I don’t know her name!  Notice the setup on the bar – that’s my plan for the afternoon: Sang Som, Sprite and soda water.  It was a good plan!

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

Of course, the entire staff is new too.  The woman in the center is the new chef and she’s good.  The woman on the far left is Thai, but the woman on the right is a Burmese refugee now living in Thailand.  From what I hear, she’s suffered terribly for being Burmese.  Saumen, this photo is for you too!

In the early evening, our friend Mr. Somkhit, the owner of the factory that we came to Thailand to see, gave us a call and said that he would like to meet us for dinner in Khonkaen.  He came over to the #1 Bar and we left in his car to go to dinner.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

This is one of my famous undercover photos, hastily composed and shot during the cover of darkness.  This is a Thai police checkpoint that was setup near the #1 Bar to (supposedly) catch drunk drivers.  The time stamp on the photograph is 17:55 so it’s just a bit early for them to be out trying to catch drunks.  More than likely they are out trying to suppliment their income. As I have written about before, the only time I was ever robbed in Thailand was by a police officer.

We went to the Roma Hotel to their restaurant, called The Sorrentino.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

This waitress is great.  Not only is she nice, but her English is great and she likes to joke around with the customers.  She heard Hui-chen and I speaking Chinese, and she cut in with some Chinese herself.  We went to the Roma a few times during this trip and she made our experiences all the better because she was able to explain the dishes to us.  Earlier in the week we had gone to a restaurant that had an “English” menu which was nothing more than transliterated Thai. In other words, the menu had items like “Som Tam” with no explaination.  That menu is great if you speak Thai! We don’t!  One of the waitresses offered to sit with us and translate each dish for us but we politely declined.  Our table was right near the band and I didn’t want to spend 30 minutes saying “huh?” while she explained each dish to us.  I told her that it wasn’t her fault that the menu was useless, but that we had to go to another place.

The Roma has bands too, which is one reason why we always like to sit indoors.  The Roma has an excellent menu of Thai, Western and Japanese dishes.  Their sushi is as good as anywhere else I’ve had it.  They also have a few Chinese style dishes that are always good.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

Peter likes Sang Som as much as I do!  Notice we’re drinking the same thing: Sang Som, Sprite and soda water.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

This is Mr. Somkhit on the right.  Not just a supplier for our company, he is our good friend in Thailand.  A degreed mechanical engineer, Mr. Somkhit has an excellent command of English, although he seldom has a chance to use it.  He’s learning Chinese because his brother speaks it, and he likes to visit China for vacation.  We had a couple of laughs talking about some Chinese idioms.

Let’s check out some of the dishes:

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

“Thai sausage” salad.  I say this jokingly because these are cut up hotdogs (compare this article).  Surprisingly though, their flavor matched the Thai salad very well.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

We see a Chinese style duck dish in the foreground, complete with dissected heads, a plate of sushi in the background, and various dishes around the periphery.   It was a fantastic meal!

After dinner, Peter said his goodbyes and we went for a short walk with Mr. Somkhit.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

This is an open noodle shop where we’ve eaten on many occasions.  Cheap and not bad.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

Hui-chen asks Mr. Somkhit some questions about Thai culture as we walk around.  Mr. Somkhit is a great guy, and his wife is really nice too.  Notice all the food stalls in the background.  This area is one block over from The #1 Bar, and just up one block from the Roma.  Here you can find some excellent Thai street food.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

This area is always packed with people having a good time eating.  We’ve seen grilled chicken on a stick for 3 Thai baht (called “gai s-tick” in Thai).  If you only have 20 baht in your pocket, you can still eat here.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

I still had a little left in the bottom of my Sang Som bottle, so we went back to The #1 Bar to polish it off.

Last Day in Thailand 10-08

This is our parting shot for this article.  A huge moth had flown into the outdoor area of the bar and was flying around, occaionally landing on various customer’s tables.  One of the staff picked it up with her finger for a photograph.  It reminded me that we were taking off on a flight of our own the next day.  We said our goodbyes to everyone at The #1 Bar and headed back to our room

The next and last installment in this series is about our return trip to Taiwan, with plenty of shots of the new airport in Bangkok.  Be sure not to miss it by subscribing to our RSS feed!

Thanks for readin!

Articles in series Thailand, Fall 2008:

  1. Return to Thailand, 2008
  2. Khonkaen Nights
  3. Return to Sabua
  4. Daily Travel in Thailand
  5. Last Day In The Kingdom
  6. Back To Taiwan
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4 comments

  1. Great report and photos. In every country I’ve been too that doesn’t use a roman alphabet, they seem to call everything English if it’s written in roman letters, regardless of whether it’s a romanised version of the native language or not. I was once given an “English” menu that was actually in French, but the staff in the restaurant insisted it was English.

    cfimagess last blog post..Mingun Paya, Burma

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