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North Eastern Thailand I met my wife when on holiday in Pattaya, which is around 45 minutes south of th e new international airport

by taxi and the airport is around halfway to Bangkok . I met her on the first day I arrived on a double date with a friend who was al ready there. Within a couple of weeks she took me back to meet her family in wha t I later found to be north-eastern Thailand. Isaan is known as north-eastern Thailand as well, which is actually confusing be cause where we are is further north but not so far east. Anyway, most individual s who call Isaan the north east live in Bangkok and Pattaya, the two big hang-ou ts for foreigners (known as farang or falang in Thai), and we are all north-east from there. One glance at the map and you will see what I mean. If you travel north out of B angkok, eventually you will come to Phitchit, which is officially the beginning of the north and the northern people as they call themselves. Then comes Phitsan ulok, once a capital of Thailand. Another 40 kilometres north is Sukhotai and Sr i Satchenali, Thailand's first capital and the spiritual home of Thailand. The o riginal city is still there, deserted but largely restored. I live in the next province to the east called Uttaradit, which borders on Laos to the east and the old mountain kingdom of Nan to the north. About 10% of the p opulation of Nan are of the various Hill Tribes. One of these, the Mlabri, are n omadic hunter gatherers who live in temporary shelters made from branches and le aves. Until very recently, they were living a stone-age life and their language had never been heard by Westerners before 1978 so far as we know. This is 250 km north-east from where I live. Sukhotai is around 30 km east. Such a lot of difference within 300 km. This region was part of the old kingdom of L anna, which translates as ' a million rice fields' or even 'millions of rice fie lds'. Phichai or Fort Phichai, 12 km away, used to be the capital of Uttaradit p rovince. Phraya Phichai Dap Hak (Phichai of the two-handed swords) fought here i n the late 18th Century. He is Thailand's most esteemed and famous warrior. Anyway, I live in among all this lot. Regrettably, I do not speak Thai well enou gh for anyone to explain it to me and nobody that I know speaks English well eno ugh to do it either. Even my wife. I wish I knew more of this intriguing area wh ere very very few foreigners ever venture. There are five of us here at the moment in a 20 km radius. An English teacher, a Canadian teacher, a retired Dutchman and a retired Englishman and me. Often the re is an Irishman and another Canadian, but they have gone home for a spell. I n ormally do not see a foreigner or hold a detailed conversation for weeks on end. And I love it here. Owen Jones, the author of this piece, writes on several topics, but is now invol ved with <a href=" stival.html">Khao Phansa - The Candle Festival</a>. If you would like to know mo re, please visit our website at <a href="">P ackage Holidays to Thailand</a>.

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