An Isaan Odyssey...
After leaving the city behind up the roads went quieter and appeared a world away from those further south.
Swooping hills, dips and shallow corners were the norm.
A steelworks loomed on the hilly horizon creating an impressive scene as we blasted down a hill then climbed the next one towards it. I felt that this was the unofficial crossing point into outer Isan, with the low-lying lands behind us we’d climbed the plateau that Isan sits on.
Once the hills and turns were behind us it was just routine overtakes and straight roads until Khorat.
The by-pass road around it I ignored, both of us were hungry and there’d be plenty of fast-food places to grab a bite to eat.
We moved through the city outskirts until Tesco’s, which had a KFC.
Once in the parking zone, I was about to go inside when Ulrich moodily sulked that he preferred McDonalds, as they had burgers. He followed me inside though and I tried to persuade him telling him that KFC now have a zinger burger. ‘No, I can’t eat it’ He shrilled in his peculiar Germanic accent.
‘Why not, it’s only chicken I reasoned.’
‘No I cannot, It’s not my style’ He explained in his own way. His hands betrayed another reason; they shook with the signs of booze lust.
Giving up on him I ordered my own food.
I made a camera fck up and the next 2 hours of riding weren’t covered. Apart from a couple of near-misses and a police warning about using the right-hand lane it was uneventful.
Getting into Khon Kaen was a bit tricky from memory from my last visit. Found a McDonalds for Ulrich, who strangely didn’t even notice it until I repeatedly pointed the place out. On entering I noticed some fat, bitter and bleary faced expat. Age hadn’t been kind to him and he sat with an ugly thai woman. He glowered at us, unsmiling. I glowered back and then went to the counter. It’s strange but for some reason a lot of expats seem anti-biker. Sure they’ll use some poxy scooter for shopping about in, but this aside they’ll be content to sit their fat ass in a fortuner in someone else’s name .
Perhaps we ‘intruded’ onto ‘his’ little piece of Thailand and feel ‘unmanned’ by other Caucasian bikers who actually do like to adventure about a bit.
We stayed at the M-Plus Guesthouse. The digs were fairly cheap at 300 baht a night. On arriving there 3 cackling old witches of Isaan were outside. Their bombastic gossip quietened as we both pulled in. As I asked in Thai for rooms and the price two of them both guffawed and howled in surprise.
The buzz died down and we settled in and took stock.
This area of Khon Kaen was a different one from the last time I’d stayed here. Nightlife karaoke’s and bars were around and this at least took care of the nights activities. Net Cafes, were another matter. A working thai city not connected to tourism does have them, but on a much smaller scale. With no laptop and MMC reader I was forced to trawl from net cafe to net cafe in Saraburi, here I strike it lucky and my first cafe is a success.
The pretty, yet sly-looking girl digs around and eventually pulls one from a drawer. Nearly 10 Gig needs transferring this time to the external HDD. With a shudder I see it will take at an hour at the most as the data-transfer begins. Ho, hum, it’ll be a long sojourn at this place.
Getting back to the M-Plus Ulrich was sat at the witches table with about ten leo cans around him. Joining him he mentioned the three witches were with him earlier. He went on to say he didn’t like the witches ‘style’. Going on to say that they were laughing about him in thai (which he couldn’t understand).
I took a sleep break and manage to persuade the wild German to come out for some bar hopping. Ulrich was paranoid about drink-riding and smashing his bike up (he’d done this once before and was lucky not to be in jail) while pissed. I couldn’t be arsed taking a pillion rider around with me so it was by shanksy’s pony we went down to the bars (on foot).
We struck gold in finding a drinking den after about ten minutes walk. It was a thai/westerner style bar restaurant. Five girls, 2 of whom were lookers and no other customers!
Out came my trusty bottle of Sangsom rum and it was time to reward myself for the journey so far.
After several hours we headed back to the digs. Ulrich, being the master alcoholic, insisted on a can of leo at a mom and pop store adjacent to the digs. All seemed well until a drunken thai low-life started harassing us. Talking inane sht about football and basically gobbing off. We both knew the score though and played it like the grey men, ignoring him and talking among ourselves.
He soon got the message and cooled his heels a touch. Plenty of student chicks going back and forth when we got back but no action, it wasn't that kind of scene...
End of Part 2
Watch-Rider's story continues in Part 3...