We’ve just returned from our trip to Udon Thani and although we had originally planned to just go for the day we decided that over 3 hours each way is too much for just a day trip and so we stayed overnight at The Irish Clock which, as you may have guessed, is an Irish pub/restaurant with rooms above.
Let me just set the scene a little:
Both of us love our food and especially Western food. We’ve given Thai food a fair shot – there’s a few dishes we quite like and we eat at a range of places in Loei including street food, school dinners, steak and coffee houses, sit-in cafe’s and Thai restaurants including some of the hotels here. But, for whatever reason we’re not loving the Thai food and most days we eat one meal as we’re up at 6.15am for school and out the door so we can wai at 7:30am. Lunch at school is always a foreboding surprise – will it be too spicy? Too slimey? Or just not what we would consider food. I normally have about two mouthfuls unless rice is on the menu in which case I just have rice. We then run into town after 4pm to get our first meal of the day where (to be fair) there are some nice places to eat but they don’t cost 30 baht a meal!
So, back to the Irish pub – they do Western food, Western portion sizes and it tastes good! It was worth the three-hour journey by coach for this alone. For our first meal I had a jacket potato with beans and cheese – I haven’t had a potato that isn’t in the form of a french fry since leaving England. Jack had a steak and kidney pudding with mash. For dessert I had apple pie with custard, it was delicious.
The room we were given was huge, even the balcony was huge. Better still we could just wander around the corner and this was where the centre of town and the Central Plaza is where we would be watching The Hobbit 2.
We enjoyed the film, it was in English with Thai subtitles and we had to see it in 3D even though we generally avoid this due to Jack’s eyesight but it was the only English showing and he got through it fine anyway. We somehow managed to be seated behind a loud American guy who had to explain the key points of the story to his kid, but I guess that’s what you get for going on a Saturday afternoon. I really enjoyed Ian Mckellan’s performance in the film as well as Martin Freeman as Bilbo. The story itself has thrown me as to how they’re going to end the trilogy though as this film sees Gandalf pitted against Sauron who is rising in strength… even though it’s what, 60 years or so before Lord of the Rings? So why are they so suprised in LotR when he *suddenly* comes back again? Anyway, a few plot holes aside it was nice to be at the cinema again it was just typical of Jackson for it to be bloated with plot threads that could easily be cut as they add nothing to further the main story and in some cases aren’t in the original text (e.g. insertion of a love triangle between background characters) so by the two hour mark you’re desperate to go to the loo and walk around for a bit but happy you stuck around to see Smaug, the dragon.
Central Plaza is a mall that is almost identical to the one in Chiang Mai but for a change in some of the shops based there. I was happy to find a Dorothy Perkins and brought myself a new top as I’m bored of the three I have with me, it’s a nice plain blue t-shirt with bows on the sleeves – I’m sure it’ll feature in future photographs as it’s my new best friend.
We walked around gazing at the electronics shops and noting how the prices although in Thai Baht are the equivalent of UK prices and so there were no savings to be made.
On one of the floors there was a small platform with a large tank that had various different things swimming around inside it.
Here’s a video:
Outside the shopping mall there was a large Christmas tree (which was nice to see) and there were lots of things going on as they appeared to be prepairing for a band to set up. We didn’t hang around however as we wanted dinner. So we headed back to the Irish pub and ordered a curry with all the works and I had a chocolate pudding with ice cream for dessert which I couldn’t finish as I think my stomach is now used to Thai potion sizes.
After a good night’s sleep and having not been rudely awakened by a Rooster like we normally are in Loei, we headed downstairs for a Full English before booking for a few nights at New Year as we’ve only scratched the surface of Udon Thani… and that 47 Ronin film looks good too.