Monday, March 9, 2009

Little Pattaya

In Ubon, there are some good size lakes and even a pretty big river with a familiar name, Moon River. As people love to eat here, the rivers and lakes shores are often turned into places of business, mostly restaurants.

When we go visit the family in Ubon, we almost always go to such a place called Little Pattaya. Pattaya is a popular beach area on the south eastern coast of the Kingdom. It does sometimes come with a bad reputation...as a place where sailors and such will pull into port...etc...anyway, it is a beach.

Little Pattaya in Ubon (north eastern Thailand) is basically a lake where people have built floating restaurants. The cooks are on dry land, at least before rainy season, but the tables are floating decks where you throw down a picnic pad, sit down with your drinks, and wait for your food to come. Food orders are placed by runners who walk back and forth on tiny 10 inch wide planks leading from the shore to the dining area. These planks, as you can see from the picture, are for one way traffic only!The food is delivered the same way. I've yet to see someone take a header into the water, waiter or guest. Knock on wood! It'll be me one of these days, I know! The water in this picture is pretty low actually.

As you eat, there are kids swimming in the lake next to their "pontoons". Paddle boats can be rented and inter tubes as well. Men and women in boats will also come along side your floating dining area and peddle noodles, dried meats, dumplings and crab. It seems pretty Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson if you ask me, and it's pretty cool just to sit there with a bunch of food, feel the wind off the water, listen to friends and family talk and splash about in the lake, and just spend a day worry free!

Every time we've gone, it's been an all day event, with a steady stream of new orders of food, drinks, people popping up to go to the bathroom, cousins and brothers ripping off their shirts to cool off in the lake, aunties and uncles taking cat naps in the middle of the floor, and a general feeling of relaxation and contentment that is only broken when an ice cream vendor on the shore rings his bell and the family looks around anxiously to see if he's passed us by or if we'll be eating ice cream, ice cream that brings only more happiness! It's the closest I've seen to the old Hawaiian saying..."Don't eat 'til you're full, eat 'til you're tired!"

I think we're gonna hit Little Pattaya up again after we get back from Korea. Haven't seen the Ubon family in a while, it should be fun.

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