An Isaan Odyssey...
Checking out Nakhon Phanom
Entering the city there was no panorama to see, the land was too level for that, but I rode in with the Mighty Mekong on my left and quiet roads ahead of me.
This became a road with a promenade alongside allowing you to cruise with the Mekong river.
On the trail of The Galt
I approached Mr Galt's complex soon enough.
Mr Galt is noteworthy in the farang internet scene for single-handedly pole-axing Stickman Bangkok’s operations. He’s managed to successfully carve out his own working niche in Thailand. That it’s actually in the byzantine and cut-throat world of manufacturing speaks volumes. A captain of industry rises...
He has trained and built up a small private army of workers to help run his fledgling base that much I know. Some speak ill or him, some do not.
It would be a fine opportunity to forge new links and allow for a meeting of minds. If nothing else I’d be able to meet the man and make up my own mind about him
I reached his building...
True to his word and picture the building with 'chamber pool' atop it is indeed where he showed on his site. I know that sounds a little crazy but seeing it on a pc screen and actually riding up to it are two different things. It was a three storey complex, well maintained and with steel shutters on all three entrances.
It didn’t have the private army of Thais standing guard nor a convoy of oompah lumphahs to-ing and fro-ing with parts and materials but I did notice his black ‘swimming bowl/vat’ atop the roof. The lights were on too with the windows open. No doubt experimenting with his funktastic light arrays amid a jumble of wiring!
I actually laughed at this, the man certainly seems to be the selective exhibitionist!
I hung a right at the junction the building was on. One of the shutters was up and his silver CBR 150 was inside! If nothing else the Galt has good taste in bikes.
I was knackered from the riding though and didn’t feel like barging into The Galt’s domain uninvited. Being kitted up like the road warrior, leather armour an-all he'd probably mistake me for one of Stickmans cronies out to cause trouble!
First things were getting a place to stay. Whenever you arrive in a city, especially an unknown Isaan city finding a decent priced hotel or indeed anywhere to stay can be a pain.
The first hotel I tried by the river was 700 baht, too pricey.
The next was more reasonable at 450 baht a night. A bit of friendly haggling later and down it came to 400 baht.
After showering I explored the city. It’s well planned and spread out. The roads are good and traffic is light for a city of its size.
As I passed Tesco’s I noticed the Galt’s CBR parked nearby! No sign of the man himself though. I made a note and stuck it in the seat, basically to the effect of ‘Hey, this is WR, give me call and lets meet up.’
I continued buzzing around. Nice markets and friendly people lived here, matching Galt’s own description.
I counted my good fortune as nearby to the Galt’s building is a big bike specialist. Both a sportsbike and a scrambler were for sale outside. I looked over the sportsbike – A CBR 400 like mine. But the price they wanted were a fair bit high for a bike without book and it looked like it’d led a harsh life, with signs of abuse around a shiny fairing. The staff were friendly though. Most of them had already set off for the Bike Week in Khon Kaen. Reminding me that I’d be having to get a move on for tomorrows journey to Khon Kaen I enquired after a tank bag, they had one, but only the small size for bottles of water and food.
A thought occurred to me and I made some enquiries with the local Thais who lived near to the Galt. It seemed that the Galt was not home; his busy work scope had him elsewhere in Asia at the time I visited. Busy business being the Galt!
From his building came the sounds of work and industry, if nothing else his workers were busy in his absence.
I left another calling card in his post-box, just in case the one in the bike had been binned by the Thais; as it was now obvious that they borrow his bike for errands and the like.
I left his techno-workshop behind.
Just before sunset I forced myself out of the sanctuary of aircon to walk the Mekong. Without decent light It’d be poor photography, besides which the sunsets are rather cool in this part of Thailand...
It’s a nice part of the city here, along the river. I can see why Keith goes jogging and running about here, as do a few of the thai local people. Local couples walk and chat while the bachelors hang out of pick-up trucks drinkin’ the booze and watching the sun go down.
No tourists or backpackers clogging the place up.
Looking to the opposite shore Laos seems a peaceful and tranquil zone.
What looks to be a hotel complex and slipway stands out in the wilderness drawing you across somehow.
Ancient but stylish - Isaan-style tuk-tuk.
I wonder about travelling across to Laos for the future but, at a shop with two friendly Alsatians I am told the nearest place to get the ferry is a city called Mukdahan further south. Time enough for that another day I advise myself.
Night was falling now and the neon night scene of markets came to life.
Nakhon Phanom has a healthy night scene a few karaoke’s and bars along the Mekong River road. But thankfully not enough to generate hordes of tourists. In fact I only saw a few old expat couples of Vietnam era vintage almost certainly.
The whole place is a breath of fresh air.
My musings are all over the place tonight, but that’s partly to do with the karaoke bar I’m sat in scribbling this sht down in ;)
Rough and tumble with Isaan Charm describes it well.
Well, I've reached the Ends of Isaan now, the long trip and odyssey was well worth it!
All that's left is the next days adventures to Khon Kaen Bike Week! But that's another story ;)