Isaan Trip: Day 3 – Phimai

Actually, it’s still the middle of day three. Too hot to be out now so I’m writing in the afternoon instead of the evening.

The temple. Main reason for coming here. Seen one reconstructed pile of Khmer era carved stone, you’ve seen them all? Got their early. Shot old stone all the ways that struck me, then shot some more with people in the scenes. Must have been having fun because I drained one battery. If I had a tripod I’d go back tonight and to see how it looks with all the ground mounted spotlights lit. Admission was 100b for foreigners, 10b for Thais.

The museum has big pieces from the temple that can be better seen because they’re not 15 feet in the air. Also many small pieces, mostly bronze but some gold. Good signage in English explaining the how and why of construction. Guide book says it’s air conditioned. Not a chance. Not a visible duct or vent in the place but it is ringed by windows, all of which were open. One can make merit by feeding the fish in an adjacent pond*. 10 b for a bag of pellets. (A bag 1/4 the size at one Wat in Hua Hin costs 20 b). The pellets leave an oily feel and obnoxious stench on one’s hands. Washed my hands best I could, but there was no soap. My camera now smells faintly of fish pellets.

Lunched at a Chicken Rice place. Mom handed the plate to a girl who ladled on some sauce and started toward me. Mom called her back, made a new plate and this time the sauce came on the side. Mom knew farangs can’t handle that much Isaan-strength hot sauce.

Real men don’t use DEET. First two stores had low strength insect repellent for kids and floral scented spray for women (comes in a pink container). Third shop had the strenght and lack of scent I wanted.

Real men don’t use SPF. Found scented body lotion with SPF 30, foundation makeup with SPF 50, finally some ordinary lotion at a third store (which was a different 3rd store than where I found the DEET).

Some more random notes about yesterday. Snacked at the night market last night. This was the first night market that was 95% food, 5% trinkets. Ones in tourist areas have much higher trinket percentage and much higher incidence of food intended to be consumed on the spot. Here the Thais were shopping for dinner to take home.

That river in the photo on yesterday’s post? Moon River. Seriously.

Saw three foreigners on first day in Phimai, backpacker couple and a German man who managed to convey audible quotes when he said his Thai “wife”.

When I stood to get off the bus in Phimai the people standing in the aisle just looked at me. My culture says they should squeeze to one side, indicating I could pass on the other side, but only movement I saw was breathing. So I did what I’d seen the ticket taker do earlier: I bulldozed my way through.

Tried to buy a hat before leaving Hua Hin. Only one that fit was thin nylon and the crown rested directly on my head. Thought it would be useless, so I passed. New mantra: Any hat is better than no hat on a sunny day during the hot season in Isaan. Bought a baseball cap while walking back from the museum. Picked one from the display without a price sign. Held up 4 fingers to the shopkeeper, indicating 40 baht. She shook her head, punched in two numbers on a calculator with a big display, then showed me. OK, I’ll pay 35.

Everything is cheaper here than in Hua Hin, sometimes by a big percentage.

Dusk in Phimai


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