Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

December 26, 2023 to December 28, 2023

Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

Luxury Time

It looks like the Santa Claus Rally really took a hit in 2013 but faired pretty well through Covid.
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Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

We have had some rough travel so far this trip so we needed some luxury.  We knew we could find it at the Nartsiri Residence and Hotel in Ubon.  We ended our trip there in 2019 almost six weeks early because we wanted to be with Andrea's daughter who was pregnant with twins.  As it turned out it was good we went or we would have been trapped in Thailand during Covid and the twins would be starting college by the time we got to meet them!  

So, we went for luxury for three days and four nights. We hardly ever go for luxury so don't give us a hard time.   We didn't do much during our luxury time other than catch up on sleep, catch up on the journal and recover from a lot of hard travel on dirt roads.  We should have by now changed the name of this journal to, Unmettled Roads II because I think we have actually taken more dirt roads this time.  But then we would have to explain all over again why the misspelling of Unmetalled and we're not going there.     

The reception area of Nartsiri.
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We were in luxury but our bikes were put with the mops for three days.
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Our room had a nice TV that had YouTube, a rarity. I drove Andrea crazy with this music.
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Ron SuchanekChristmas + jazz is a combination guaranteed to put me in an unsettled mood.
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1 month ago
Andrea BrownTo Ron SuchanekRight? He was doing it just to make me stark ravers.
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1 month ago

You know, luxury is great sometimes.  I've mentioned before, that the Nartsiri Residence and Hotel has, included in the room price, the most wonderful buffet breakfast we have ever experienced.  Every morning we had a huge selection of classic, delicious Thai dishes along with all sorts of other foods and drink.  They even had three kinds of ice cream that you could scoop yourself!  I opened up my wooden leg and went crazy filling it.  It was so much fun.  We have been up by 5AM and on the road by 6 every day to try to beat some of the heat, so we were still on that schedule.  The wait for the buffet to begin at 6:30 was interminable but finally very much worth it.  I actually don't know how they make any money because the effort and expense to put on such a buffet every morning would be tremendous.  It was a treat for us.

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The Nartsiri Hotel's breakfast buffet.
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Chicken with loads of strips of ginger! One of my favorites.
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Gregory GarceauSecond only to garlic, ginger is also my favorite chicken companion. Oh yeah, the green onions are right up there too.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Gregory GarceauYes, and the ginger and garlic in Thailand is a slightly different version than in The States. It's tastier by far. Not to mention super fresh. I can't get enough of either.
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1 month ago
The basil in Thailand is so different (tasty) than anything in The States. The round things lining this dish are the most soft chunks of tofu quick fried so the outside has a crust and the chunks stay together. They were like pudding inside - delicious.
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This was just the start.
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Also in Ubon we went to what used to be called Tesco Lotus but is now ungrammatically called Lotus's which has made me lose a little respect for the company because of its ungrammaticalness.  Lotus's is a big grocery/department store chain in all the big cities in Thailand and in all the smaller towns there are smaller Lotus's called "Lotus's Go Fresh," which also bugs me.  We occasionally go to a big Lotus's for one reason; muesli.  The Go Fresh ones don't carry muesli.  

We walked around town a bit every day also but Ubon has a population of 250,000 and is quite spread out which meant that we saw very little of the city on our walks.  And the area we always walked in was the old original business center of town but is now a molding, decrepit ghostly quiet area with only a few struggling businesses left.  The buildings are either antique wooden houses or two or three story cement buildings all made in the 1960's style.  I'm sure they were once nice and attractive and it must have seemed like a very modern city when they were brightly painted.  But any building in Thailand requires a huge amount of upkeep all the time due to the hot and humid weather, bugs, mold etc.  This once modern center of town is decaying now.  I'm sure all the new exciting stuff is happening on the outskirts of the city but we didn't care.  

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If they were all cleaned up and repainted they could be rather cool again.
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These beautiful little worlds are in ceramic basins everywhere on the sidewalks.
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There are a very few samlors still around in some cities in Thailand.
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That's a lot of bananas.
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Jen RahnI love seeing them still attached to the bamboo-like stalk thingy.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnYes, on the hoof, so to speak.
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1 month ago
That's a lot of water.
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Jen RahnAnd that's just the side of it!
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Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnYes!
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1 month ago
Thais dry their sausages in the sun which is why we try not to ever eat them.
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This woman and her daughter made us most excellent Thai iced tea. The woman could speak a little bit of English and it was fun talking with her. People are so nice. She told us that when we come back to Ubon we have to come see her again.
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Gregory GarceauNice Davie Jones shirt. In addition to all the other fine qualities of the Thai people, I see they can go retro too. I'm so retro that I can remember Davie Jones was Marcia Brady's favorite rock star.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Gregory GarceauThe Thais can out-retro the best of us. They are good at ironic too.
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1 month ago
We also found our kind of Thai restaurant with the food that most Thais eat everyday such as fried rice or krapow (fried basil with pork), or in this case, pad siew - fried wide noodles with all sorts of other stuff. Andrea is happy.
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There are millions of these same design old teak doors in Thailand.
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We find old decaying places kind of fascinating, plus, we had the spotless Nartsiri Hotel to return to after our walks.  I've never seen a cleaner hotel.  Talk about maintenance!  Everyday employees at Nartsiri were scrubbing and polishing.  I looked in high, tight little places for some dust or dirt and I could not find any!  It was simply amazingly well maintained.  Even the cement of the parking lot had been polished somehow and was also spotless.  Sorry, I guess I never took any photos of our room or anywhere except the buffet!  

On one of our walks we went to an old temple.  I wanted to see the ancient wooden structure on wood columns in the middle of a pond.  It has been tradition to keep all the sacred texts written on palm leaves in buildings over water; libraries.  It was to make sure no insects could get into the palm leaf books and eat them.  Nothing can cross the water to climb the columns apparently.  

Thung Si Meung Temple's library.
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We couldn't go inside the library but you can see some of the palm leaf books wrapped in white fabric inside.
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While we were there I noticed the temple building itself looked quite old.  Inside, to my surprise, the walls were completely covered in paintings depicting village life from a couple of hundred years ago.  I love these sorts of detailed paintings so I was thrilled to discover them.  Everything I had previously seen written about the temple had focused on the wooden library in the middle of the pond but the temple was even more interesting to me.

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Inside the temple.
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Jen RahnThe creature on the top right looks like a Turtle-Crab!
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnIt looks like a crab to me but the bigger question is, what's that guy's head doing in the fishing net?
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1 month ago
Wait, what is that!!
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Jen RahnSpiny lobster?

The creature of my nightmares?
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnOne of my favorite movies when I was a kid was The Tingler. I imagine this is what the tingler looked like. It was attracted to fear in people and latched onto their spine. Like if someone was watching a scary movie the tingler would find you. Great movie.
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1 month ago
Jen RahnThat's awful!

Horrifying!
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnIf you think so the Tingler will find you.
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1 month ago

lovebruce

Today's ride: 5 miles (8 km)
Total: 557 miles (896 km)

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Suzanne GibsonThose temple paintings are wonderful!
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1 month ago
Bo LeeYou earned your luxury! Enjoy :-)
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Suzanne GibsonWhenever I find an old temple in Thailand with these sorts of paintings I get very excited. I think they are so incredibly beautiful and I love that they have not been restored in any way. There are not a lot of temples like this.
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1 month ago