Phimai

Trip Start Sep 18, 2004
1
52
69
Trip End Jun 05, 2005


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Friday, April 8, 2005

Written by Nelly

VFW Cafe
Khorat was one of the US air bases during the Vietnam War. Supposely quite a few veterans decided to stay in Khorat after the war. Today, Khorat is a busy industrial town with bad traffic. We did not see many foreign tourists, the two Caucasians we saw around town were both unfriendly deranged looking men. We were not sure if they were veterans or not, but we were too scared to find out.

We had breakfast at the VFW cafe right next to our hotel. The Lonely Planet guide said that this cafe is where the veterans hang out. Although we didn't see any veterans, the cafe did offer the cheapest western breakfast we've had in Thailand (14 Baht for two eggs and toasts!). The place looked like a run down diner with greasy booths and tinted windows. It even had a surly waitress to serve up the greasy food.

Phimai
Phimai, sixty kilometers north of Khorat, was built around the tenth century by the Khmers. It first served as a Hindu temple, and later became a Buddhist temple when the Khmers converted to Buddhism. The Thai Fine Art department had fully restored Phimai twenty years ago. Personally, I felt that the restoration work was not so great. Not all the pieces fit together, we found piles and piles of old looking stones, carved pediments and pillars sitting outside of the main complex. The white plastic drop ceiling installed inside of the sandstone temple was perhaps the worst offense. Jesse, on the other hand, was not bothered by the creative restoration. He thought that at least it gave us an idea how high the ceiling was at that time. From now on, I should never trust Jesse to do any restoration work on our house. (Editors note: Jesse has impecable taste and the author doesn't know what she's talking about.)

Banyan tree and lucky eels
A couple of kilometers outside of Phimai stands the largest and oldest Banyan tree in Thailand. As banyan trees grow larger they send branches back down to the ground, effectively created more trunks. This tree is so old and large that it's numerous "trunks" make it look more like a small jungle than one single tree. Outside of the jungle, one vendor was selling bags of eels and cages of birds. We've encountered such vendors in quite a few historical and religious sites in Thailand. They sell caged animals to tourists, so the tourists can release the animals on these auspicious sites to gain karma. We were rather puzzled by the whole thing, wouldn't the freed birds or fish simply be recaptured by the seller again? How could a person gain karma by giving financial support to unscrupulous wild animal catchers?

After Khorat
After Khorat, we took a bus to Buriram to see Phanom Rung, the largest Khmer monument in Thailand. (See next entry.)
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Comments

royr46
royr46 on

Update to Blog
The travellers where not in Korat when the US Military is having there annual training exercies called 'Cobra Gold' During this period it is difficult to book 3 - 4 Star hotels. These are all US soldiers, airmen, and marines that participate. The Mall has so many American's that it is not a rare event. Military all appear to be young with short haircuts.

The VFW has relocated from the right side of the Siri Hotel to the left. It has keep its LOOK but has been remodeled and is Now a very clean and cheap place to eat. With Thai's now being the majority of personal that eat there.

The Amercians that stayed moved from the VFW after a falling out about it being so dirty. They moved to the Sepatana Hotel for their meetings and hang out at the PIZZA place on the next street over from the Siri Hotel. There is a 7-Eleven nearby.

The Siri Hotel has been remodeled and a Single Room is 390 baht breakfast is an additional 45 baht or you can eat at the VFW for 30 baht for a full American style breakfast. (Juice, Water, Coffee, Egg, Sausage, Toast, butter, and Jelly...45bht)

phusit on

phusit

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