Issan the rural northeast forum
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Post by parrot » November 2, 2015, 6:38 pm

We made a memorial trip to the place I was stationed 43 years ago.....Nakon Phanom (NKP) and a side trip to Ta-U-Ten to visit the Thai-Lao weekly market. NKP has improved since last we visited 4 or so years ago. Several new eating spots and several new hotels. We asked a local cop there where was 'the place' to stay......he said The River Hotel.....and there we stayed.....1499 Baht for a suite, river view, free breakfast and an excellent restaurant for supper. The living room in the suite was 6x6 meters......the bedroom slightly smaller with a individual size bed. Nice modern shower, 2 tvs, fridge, spa and coffee shop in the hotel, and English speaking staff. The place was booked full all last week, then a few openings when we drove up yesterday afternoon. By evening, the hotel was again booked solid and the restaurant was packed at 9pm.

NKP now sports a Lotus, Big C, Makro, Global House, MK Restaurant and Swensons. Had the city offered all that back when we made an exploratory visit in 1995, I'd reckon we'd have opted to retire there instead of Udon. But back then, NKP was a backwater.........sidewalks rolled up as soon as the sun went down.

For anyone who might have been stationed there.......we saw the owner of The Sportman Tailor......a very popular tailor with GIs back in the 60's/70's. He's now 80....still speaks GI English and still lives in the same shop below what was the Honey Bar and Honey Massage.

On our way to Ta-U-Ten, we drove up to the Friendship Bridge just outside of NKP. There were 2 18-wheelers in sight and a few cars........but it's obvious there's not a lot of crossings going on there. On the other hand, the boat crossings from the center of NKP to Taket continue as always.....packed full of people and merchandise.

As seems to be the case every year, the closer you get to NKP the more the rice is being harvested. We saw 3 harvesters in action.........and saw several stores with a few in front for sale. I'm guessing the days of manual harvesting are going the way of the water buffalo plowing a field.........just too labor intensive at a time when the youth aren't up for working out in the hot sun.

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