Udon Thani, Graveyard Of The Dinosaurs
This FR is based on a late-night excursion in January, 2006.
Udon Thani has long been recognized for its fossilized remains of the great dinosaurs which have been found all around the province.
Nowadays however you can find real live ones, not of the T. Rex variety, but of the gender homosapiens. Like their predecessors they are distributed all over the area in the town and many villages, right up to the Laos border. They are easy to recognize by their obese stomachs and tendency to wear cheap market-bought shorts and T-shirts. They congregate by day in the major shopping centers, such as the Chaeronsri Grand, Tesco's or Big C, normally accompanied by a little dark-skinned Thai girl of at least 30 years younger appearance and at least 50 kg less in weight, who is inevitably clutching a designer label carrier bag. Unlike the dinosaurs of old, they seem oblivious to others of the same species and actually go out of their way to avoid contact, actually lowering their eyes to the floor to avoid the slightest chance that they may have to talk.
The reason for this strange habit is not at first very clear, but further observation reveals the possible reason to be a severe case of brain damage. They actually can't think of anything to say. Maybe the extended exposure to just talking in single syllables to their Thai companion has rendered them completely incapable of conversing in anything but the simplest of terms in their own language. Most of this new strain appear to have originated from the good old US of A, I suppose because of the huge number that were based here at the Vietnam period, and have now retired and come back to try and recapture the thrills experienced in their misspent youth. Some even ask is Nong, Noo or Nit still in this or that bar, completely oblivious to the passing time and the fact the bar has long been demolished and the chances are, that long haired, flashing eyed beauty is now a grandmother.
This nationality, although constituting the majority of these ancient relics are, by no means, the only ones. There are many Australians, Brits and a smattering of other countries contributing their own dinosaur relics as well.
Although this variety does not engage in verbal conversation, they do however have an internet forum where every day from early morning until late at night they write to each other in what must be their own language because it's totally unintelligible to outsiders. The first topic of conversation every morning being, how many baht can I get for my retirement dollar today. (It's been of major concern just lately!) After deciding they can stay here a little while longer, if of course their little darling hasn't spent it all for them, they then proceed to discuss, debate is not the word, such lively topics as where can I get my medicine cheaper? How much money do I need to get my "O" visa renewed? How much if I go to Laos if I don't have enough? Where can I get the cheapest lunch, not more than 50 baht please! Sometimes, rather belatedly, how do I know my wife loves me? The real biggy however revolves round the sin sot or dowry. Pages and pages of experiences and advice on this, ranging from nothing to more than a million in total. Another theme of obviously great concern is. How do I keep my wife from getting her hands on my house? (In most cases it's already too late). Should an outsider dare to post on a more red blooded subject such as which are the best bars to pick up girls, he is immediately howled down with comments that range from "we don't have those sort of places up here" (they must be blind as well as deaf) to "we are all married men and don't frequent such places."
Funnily enough, one of the most regular questions in the health forum is, "Where can I get those little blue pills?" Don't let me paint a total picture of boredom on the forum though. Recently they had a heated discussion on Israel and Lebanon, it even had to be moderated! Only last week someone dared to question the variances in English and American speak and he was actually threatened with a fistful of knuckles in the eyes. This
from an ancient of 70 years apparently.
Once a month they have a get together, called a forumites monthly meeting where the guys drink as much beer as their wife will let them and the women folk compare their gold and how much was your house, what car you have, and of course, how much he give you. So you see there is a potential for excitement, just never seems to materialize somehow. Welcome to Udon.
The secret about Udon is out…