Day 3

Nong Khai Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 21 › view all entries
The bamboo shrines in production
Day 3 – October 26, 2007

After the 3 am conference call, I have several more phone calls and am scheduled to cover iCopyright’s live response at 6 am.  By 5:30 I give up and get up and go work until 8.  Followed by a quick shower, Jared and I headed out to check out Nong Khai.  

We have absolutely perfect timing for a festival.  Different groups of men carve elaborate designs into freshly cut bamboo to build new shrines.  There are street vendors everywhere selling handicrafts and every imaginable kind of food – good food.  We walked all along the waterfront and were about to turn back when a local started calling us over – we mistakenly thought he wanted us to go drink with him.  Wishful thinking I suppose…  What he really wanted to show us were the long boat races taking place further down the river.
Breakfast


 As we walked toward the boat races, enjoying the cheering from the locals, we  passed a group of Buddhist monks who wanted to take their picture with us and then ran into another group of men carving a shrine.  They were carving, eating, drinking and singing.  One of the men stopped us and handed Jared a glass of dyed red whiskey over ice.  Jared obliging partook and thanked them.  Just as we were about to move on, my glass arrived.  Terrified that I was going to be drinking horrendous whiskey, yet hopeful it was something else due to the lack of red dye, I slowly lifted it to my lips.  With all of them watching in anticipation I smiled as I realized it was nothing more than bad beer poured over ice.  Thus began the next two hours of  eating, drinking and singing with the locals.
Boat Races
  We drank cough syrup flavored whiskey, topped with soda water and beer - I can’t think of anything much worse except maybe the cough syrup flavored whiskey served warm and by itself.  The food consisted of  beef (I think) dipped in a spicy green sauce that was delicious, sticky rice, a couple of other things I didn’t recognize and later on – intestines.  Jared and I each graciously if not apprehensively took a piece and after 5 or so minutes of chewing came to the conclusion that if we just swallowed it like a pill it would probably go down.  They cooked all the meat over a small ceramic jug filled with hot coals – I’m not sick yet so I’m assuming they were hot enough to kill whatever may have been living in our mystery meat.
The random locals who fed us and gave us booze...


By 11:30  (a.m. – I know…I have no idea how we started drinking that early) we had to get going to catch the truck down to P.P. to hopefully see the Maekong fireballs – bubbles of methane gas that come out of the river at the end of Buddhist Lent.  They were sad to see us go but told us to come back another day and they would teach us how to do the shrine carving, and assured us that they loved me as a sister.  Uh huh…..

The ride to P.P. was full of other travelers, everyone from Peace Corp volunteers to people who would be traveling from 4 months – 2 years.  P.P was an interesting town and definitely ready for the festival.  We found out later that there were over 400,000 Thai’s there.  Not including the small number of farang.  The riverbanks were packed with people eagerly waiting to see the fireballs.  All around us, people were lighting floating lanterns that would fill like a hot air balloon and then take off into the air.  Around 9 pm, candles started floating down the river, by the thousands.  We unfortunately didn’t get to see the fireballs, but the experience of being there in and of itself was worth the trek.  

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The bamboo shrines in production
The bamboo shrines in production
Breakfast
Breakfast
Boat Races
Boat Races
The random locals who fed us and g…
The random locals who fed us and …
Thais preparing for the fireballs
Thais preparing for the fireballs
Nong Khai
photo by: Laurabob