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  1. #1
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    Wayne Kerr's Isaan Sojourn

    Two weeks off over Christmas and New Years. Needed to forget about some really incompetent Somchai dipsticks for a bit. Couldn’t be arsed flying down under over the silly season, so a Thai holiday it was for the Kerrs.

    The problem with many Thai holiday spots is they become flooded with arrogant dickheads during winter. The sex tourists don’t worry me, they mostly stay inside with their birds, and many visit LOS often so know a thing or two. On the other hand the mobs of green Israeli, American, and yuppie Thais strutting around like little kings in the coastal resorts or Chiang Mai are painful.

    So this year we pissed off up north a bit and then over to Isaan/Laos. I really wanted my 3.5 yr old son to see a little nature. Up until now I’m pretty sure he’s been thinking most critters are the spawn of the monsters on Ultraman and as such should be killed swiftly, and that Discovery Channel is beamed to us from Battlestar Galactica. Turned out to be a friggin good time, my son even hit a pidgeon with a rock. The really bad thing about this was that it was in the temple and I only came across the scene to find him yelling with delight “som nam na” (”You got what you deserved" or "Serves you right") and chasing the crippled bird around (more about that later ).

    We got all our travel info from TeakDoor on the mobile phone while driving via a GPRS connection with DTAC. I take my hat off to you guys, TD is turning into a bloody good site for travel stuff. Our plan was this:

    • Uthai Thani (local caves, good food and grog, shooting)
    • Huai Kha Khaeng World Heritage Area (Seub Nakhasathien Monument)
    • Khlong Lan National Park (Klong Lan Waterfall)
    • Phitsanulok (serious drinking with old friends)
    • Loei (downtown park, Chinese temple, winery)
    • Chiang Khan (Mekong River and Kaeng Khut Khu rapids)
    • Chiang Khan-Nong Khai (drive along the Mekong)
    • Laos (New Years Eve in Vientiane, Vietnamese food)
    • Nong Khai (Ta Sadet market)
    • Khorat (old Mahayana temple in Phimai, Khorat Zoo)
    • Khao Yai (National Park, Chokchai Farm)
    • Chokchai Farm-Bangkok (body dodging)

    Anyway, first stop was Uthai Thani Province, stay tuned to learn more about how to do “Moo Hun” (roast pig) Kerr style and more.


    ^Wayne Jnr doing pre-trip research

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    First stop on the Wayne Kerr sojourn was Lan Sak in Uthai Thani. My wife’s family farm is here and is also a stones throw from the Huai Kha Khaeng World Heritage Area and Khlong Lan National Park, both of which are some of the wildest places in Thailand.


    ^Amphur Lan Sak, the Huai Kha Khaeng World Heritage Area, and Khlong Lan

    My main priority on the first day was to get stuck into a standard Uthai “Moo Hun” and whiskey lunch, so Wayne Jnr. and I went and did a spot of hunting around sunrise.

    Step 1 - Killing, Cleaning, and Seasoning the Pig


    ^Wayne Jnr. preparing for the pig hunt

    To keep our Muslim friend happy I won’t show the shots of the kill, cleaning it, or pig blood soup, but here she is after we cleaned her up:


    ^Small fresh 25 kg pig from Uthai Thani


    ^Lovely looking critter

    The Uthai “Moo Hun” is a little different from many other parts of Thailand in that they love to smother it with loads of seasoning (pepper, garlic, and soi sauce) and baste it with the stuff whilst roasting.

    ^Adding the seasoning


    ^When finished it should look like this (if in doubt ask a Thai, they'll love to tell you if you've done it right or not )

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    Step 2 – Starting the Fire

    You must leave the seasoning on for a bit before cooking. This is a good time to start the fire. You don’t want really hot flames, just some smoldering coals. Make the fire with some twigs and wood about 1 metre away from two water pots as shown below:

    ^It is really important that you make your fire look like this

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    Step 3 – Putting the Pig on a Stick

    This bit is really easy. Just knock down some green bamboo with your machete (I used my trusty old Swiss army knife), split it in half as shown in the image below, and place one half along the pigs back, the other along its gut line.


    ^Place the bamboo along the spine and gut line of the pig like this

    Then you need to shave down a few sticks of thin bamboo, sharpen up one end on each, and stick them through the front and back legs like shown in the image below. Just find some old bits of wire on the ground to tie the bamboo in place.


    ^This is called sticking sticks through the legs of the pig

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    This looks like the start of another good thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Kerr
    First stop on the Wayne Kerr sojourn was Lan Sak in Uthai Thani. My wife’s family farm is here and is also a stones throw from the Huai Kha Khaeng World Heritage Area and Khlong Lan National Park, both of which are some of the wildest places in Thailand.
    I had an aussie guy over for christmass lunch that was staying in Lan Sak, we've family in Uthai.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandomChances View Post
    I had an aussie guy over for christmass lunch that was staying in Lan Sak, we've family in Uthai.
    How did you cook him ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandomChances
    I had an aussie guy over for christmass lunch that was staying in Lan Sak, we've family in Uthai.
    The lady at the beer shop in the central market had a bit of a joke with me that her beer sales had started going through the roof thanks to the few Aussies in town

    Quote Originally Posted by Begbie
    How did you cook him ?
    Aussies taste best pickled, in fact we spend most of our lives trying to pickle ourselves from the inside out.

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    Anyway back to cooking the pig.

    Step 4 – Cooking the Pig

    Once you’ve got the pig on the stick, rake some of the coals from your fire into the area between the water pots, then lay the stick across the blocks on the top of the water pots.


    ^Starting to cook the pig (be careful not to get too carried away with the heat of the fire, slowly but surely is the tip for the first 10 minutes)

    Once she’s been cooking for a while you should turn the heat up a bit to sear the skin a bit, this traps all the good pig oils and stuff in the meat.


    ^Turning the heat up a bit after 10 minutes

    Keep your eye on the local black dogs, they like to duck in for a taste.


    ^Bloody black dog

    Things should look like this after about 20 minutes, things get a little boring after this for a while, which makes it a good time to drink some whiskey, anything strong will do.


    ^Try to make sure things look like this

    Once you’ve had a good drink, its time to turn the bastard over, just twist the bamboo a bit and you’re on your way.


    ^The back of the pig after about 25 minutes

    Have a few more shots of whiskey, then start putting the pig at whatever angle you reckon is best.


    ^This is called spinning the pig

    If you start getting a bit pissed you should start getting some burnt patches on the skin, this is a sign that you are going to have a good lunch. This is a good time to switch over to beer, preferably Chang.


    ^The dark bits of skin are friggin delicious and should be eaten with cold beer


    ^You can see where the best bits of skin are by looking at the skinless patches on the critter above


    ^This is a good time to take some thin slices off the legs and shoulders


    ^Take the first slices down until you can see a bit of blood then turn the sucker over


    ^Then slice off the belly flaps close up to the ribs (this bit is the delicious), by now the back should be cooked a bit more so spin the pig again


    ^This is the perfect time to get stuck into the legs


    ^Things should look like this. By now everyone should be pretty pissed and full, just keep enough coals under the sucker to keep things warm and trim off some meat whenever you feel hungry again.

  10. #10
    ding ding ding
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    Awesome pics so far, I dont think I will ever need the "how to" though.
    cookin's wimmins work

  11. #11
    I am in Jail
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    Who needs steel rods and welding equipment, when some bamboo and a Swiss knife is at hand?

    I might try this for the next family gathering!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by stroller
    I might try this for the next family gathering!
    A pig like the 25 kg one used should set you back about 900 baht, kept about 20 people full for a few hours, and we had roast pork in the fridge for days after.

    Uthai is a great place for food, was tempted to by this wild boar from the Lan Sak market, but they wanted 1200 baht which is a bit much in my book.


    ^Wild boar in Lan Sak market, Uthai Thani

    Small groups of the Lan Sak community are known to eat cat. Mrs. Kerr gets all shitty when I even suggest cat for dinner, but I’ll try anything once - big juicy ones like this can found in the Lan Sak market if you ask around a bit – about 300 baht each .


    ^Cats for consumption in Lan Sak market, Uthai Thani

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    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Kerr
    Small groups of the Lan Sak community are known to eat cat. Mrs. Kerr gets all shitty when I even suggest cat for dinner, but I’ll try anything once - big juicy ones like this can found in the Lan Sak market if you ask around a bit – about 300 baht each

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Kerr
    A pig like the 25 kg one used should set you back about 900 baht
    They are double that price in my area

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rigger
    They are double that price in my area
    Just checked this out with Mrs. Kerr, yes 900 is a bit low, but the pig farmer is her cousin.

    The Post Pig Eating Piss-up

    The pig feast was followed by too much beer and whiskey, then one of the old guys wanted me to show him some interesting sites on the internet. Was only getting 460kbps on my mobile phone, and TD was the easiest site to access – they loved some of the threads in the members only area. Unfortunately my camera was busy acting as my modem at this stage so I couldn’t get any pics for the TD gallery.

    We were soon joined by the local farang fellow John, he’s been living out there since Christ knows when growing mangoes and a few other things, likes to drink Lao Kao and dance around with all the old birds, and doesn’t mind helping out the local sheilas when it comes to cooking. Apparently he has a harem of 25-30 yr old birds out there - some guys have all the luck.


    ^Mango farmer John getting down with a few old sheilas in Lan Sak


    ^Mango farmer John plucking the duck


    ^John and his mates took us out to catch these bugs around midnight, which we ended up eating them until the sun came up

    I passed out for a few hours and woke up to another lovely winters day in Uthai Thani, must have been about 25 degrees most days.


  16. #16
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    Huai Kha Khaeng - Thung Yai Naresuan World Heritage Area

    Next stop was the Huai Kha Khaeng - Thung Yai Naresuan World Heritage Area just 30 minutes from Lan Sak. This is the largest protected area in Southeast Asia, and is thought to be the only conservation area in Thailand large enough to offer long-term prospects for the survival of many large mammal species.

    You can still find wild water buffalo, mainland serow, hog deer, brow-antlered deer, Asiatic wild dog, tiger, leopard (both black and spotted), clouded leopard, Asian elephant, Asian tapir, Fea's muntjac, gaur, banteng out there. I’m pretty sure Wayne Jnr and I spotted an Asiatic wild dog this trip – scared the clappers out of us it did. All five macaque species occurring in Thailand can be found there, as can leaf monkeys and white-handed gibbons.

    We were the only people there the day we went. Many of the websites say it is not open to the public, but I’ve always found the staff out there to be very friendly and welcoming. This time we didn’t even get stung for entry fees. You can also rent bungalows for a couple hundred baht a night or bring your own tent. There are some pretty good websites about the area:

    UNEP-WCMC Protected Areas Programme - Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
    Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
    http://www.huaikhakhaeng.net/home.html


    ^Entrance to the Huai Kha Khaeng World Heritage Area


    ^About the area

    The site also contains a memorial for the late Seub Nakhasathien. Seub was the chief of the Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary before he died under mysterious circumstances in 1990. He fought strongly against illegal loggers, wildlife poachers, and timber companies pushing for concessions to log much of the sanctuary during the 1980s. His death was made to look like suicide, but from what I’ve read he had told close friends of regular death threats from loggers and politicians throughout much of the late 1980s. Apparently he ignored them and in response launched a project to make the Huay Kha Khaeng and Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuaries a World Heritage Site under the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation system. He was successful but did not live to see the site inscribed on the World Heritage list. I’ve read quite a bit about this and very much doubt he topped himself – the World Heritage Listing really pissed the logging companies off. They’d been eying off the 600,000 hectares of forest in the area for quite sometime, their only real barrier had been Seub, and then he trumped them big time by getting the site listed. Murder or suicide, I guess we'll never know, but his commitment to the wildlife and ecology of the area has become an inspiration for the environment movement in Thailand and beyond. It is a real shame many Thais don’t learn about this at school.


    ^Wayne Jnr checking out some of he information about the work of Seub at the visitor centre


    ^ A statue of the great man Seub Nakhasathien


    ^Seub’s house (left pretty much the same as the day he died)


    ^The “Seub” logo often used by the environment movement in Thailand (you’ll sometimes see people wearing shirts with this logo)

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    Khlong Lan National Park

    The Khlong Lan National Park is not so far from Huai Kha Khaeng so we took a run up there. It is actually part of Kampaeng Phet Province, pretty bloody far from Isaan, but Mrs. Kerr wanted to scratch the magic tree there before continuing on the journey and I was keen to show Wayne Jnr the Khlong Lan waterfall. Plenty of info about the park can be found here - National Park of Thailand, Forest Park of Thailand, Online Reservation, National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.


    ^The Khlong Lan Waterfall


    ^Some good sorts having a shower under the waterfall


    ^Mrs. Kerr’s magic tree


    ^Close-up of Mrs. Kerr’s magic tree (she likes to scratch it and watch the white spots appear, the tree that is )


    ^Dense forest in Khlong Lan National Park


    ^One of the bungalows for rent in Khlong Lan National Park (600 baht a night)

  18. #18
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    Very enjoyable thread!

    Now what's this about them white spots??

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    Quote Originally Posted by stroller
    Now what's this about them white spots??
    Well it relates a little to how the Thais have used Buddhism and animism to manage forests in the past. They mostly believe that there are some pretty bloody powerful spirits looking after the forests - you’ll sometimes see the monks placing Buddha images around the forest to show the sacred nature of the land etc, they even ordain certain trees which contain really bloody super powerful spirits. These trees, like the tree above, often have the colorful ribbons tied around them. There are certain rules about the sizes and types of tress that can be cut down, or the types and numbers of critters that can be killed, within a certain radius of these ordained trees without upsetting the spirits. Some people, like Mrs. Kerr, think that these tree spirits can help them see into the future. Basically they scratch the bark off the tree, rub some talcum powder around on the exposed area, and they reckon they can see signals from the spirits on the white spots – it is unfortunate that most people only do it to select numbers for the lottery these days. I’ve really tried to see some of the things Mrs. Kerr reckons she sees on the white spots, but all I see is tree bark and powder mixed up. Anyway, thats my take on it .

  20. #20
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    I dont want to spoil this great thread but I think I should mention that father Christmas isn't real either, yes stroller there is no father christmas....

    I should add I dont believe wayne kerr juniour killed the pig with his catapult either
    Last edited by dirtydog; 07-01-2007 at 10:44 PM.

  21. #21
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    Anyway, back to the road ...

    Loei Province

    Having never been to Isaan we were keen to see somewhere along the Mekong River first up. We’d heard lots of good things about Loei Province, especially during winter, so Loei it was. At first we thought of climbing some of the big mountains in the Phu Kradueng, Phu Luang, and Phu Reua National Parks up there, but for instance with the top of Phu Kradueng being 1,325 meters above sea level we decided instead on a few quiet days poking around Loei and nearby Amphur Chiang Khan before doing the drive along the Mekong from Chiang Khan to Nong Khai via Pak Chom, Sang Khom, and Sri Chiang Mai. The plan was to get to Nong Khai in time so we could duck over to Laos for a New Years Eve dinner in Vientiane.


    ^The planned destinations in Loei (the dashed red line is the Mekong River and the Thai-Laos border)

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    ^ I believe all this tree spirit stuff, some pals had motorcy accidents after peeing without waiing

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    Should have gone to Phu Rua NP. You can drive to within a half hours walk of the top. See my thread on Loei Province in Travellers Tales post No 29.

    Don't know how to provide a link to it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Propagator
    Don't know how to provide a link to it
    Right-click on either the post no. or permalink in the upper right corner and copy/paste the link location.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Propagator
    See my thread on Loei Province in Travellers Tales post No 29.
    Yeah thanks Prop, I will admit that your thread http://teakdoor.com/travellers-tales...highlight=Loei influenced my decision to go to Loei - your photos are heaps better than mine but I can't wait to get them online after I knock off work tonight.

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