After last night's dining debacle I headed to the other restaurant on site for breakfast. It was called, somewhat presciently Ban Chiang and it provided the usual buffet stuff. I do like having the full buffet included in the room rate. It was ten times better than last night's dinner.
Watching the now compulsory Offsiders on Australia Network to catch up on the Australian sporting landscape while I pack up and then it's time to check out and meet up with Xay again for a bit of culture.
About 50km from Udon Thani is the village of http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/575/ Ban Chiang (Ban See-yang) which is a World Heritage listed archaeological site. It contains pottery and tools dating from 2000 to 5000 years ago ranging from neolithic through bronze to iron age tools. all of this was discovered in people's backyards. You can read the story http://penn.museum/banchiang/ elsewhere as they have already done a better job than I can hope to.
I was expecting the museum site to have some excavation work, but it only had a mockup as the sites are literally in the houses of the village. The facility is relatively new and does a pretty good job of showcasing their findings and conjecture about just what it means. The english translations of the Thai descriptions throughout were appreciated. The first room has no actual artefacts but simply describes the visit by the King in 1971. Transcriptions of his questions and the answers he was given. I did like one exchange where he asked what methods had been used to date the skeletons and pottery. He was told that only luminescence had been used as carbon dating was expensive. "Don't worry, I'll pay. This is important." was the King's response. That's the kind of thing I would want from a monarch.
I does get to be yet another pot, yet another spear head etc. after about 40 mins but it was well worth seeing. It does raise a question about why a self-proclaimedly omniscient shepherd God doesn't mention an entire civilization on the other side of the world. There was clearly high level agriculture and a society of note here for a very long time and I think that is pretty cool.
Heading back to Laos we had to skirt around Udon Thani again. Saw an outlet store that promised golf stuff and got outraged all over again and the price premium. This is not what was promised!! We stopped at the Tescos, as it had a food court, for lunch and a point that some expats in the office have discussed in the past hit home for me. The supermarket was enormous and very well stocked with a wide variety of produce. This is why those with the means to do so make a trip every month or so to stock up on groceries. We even bumped into a guy from the office at the border checkpoint who had been doing exactly that. Does it feel like cheating? A little. Will I be doing it once I establish a permanent base? Absolutely.