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I’ll be back to more regular updates soon when I get to Ubon in December.

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Isan Economy

The Bangkok Post has an interesting article about Isan’s economy and talks a lot about Ubon. It’s hard to find information like this in English so I thought I’d share. I’m not sure why they are asking a British guy about how Isan folks feel though…

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I’m Still Here.

Just FYI, I’m still alive. Working my tail off in the U.S. much of this year. It’s so good to be home and I don’t miss Thailand at all yet. :) Just kidding. I do miss Thailand. However, I think I underestimated how much I was missing the Midwest U.S. It’s just good to be back for an extended period for once. I’m slowly working on a fun post highlighting some of the reverse culture shock experiences I’m having. I think you’ll be able to relate to some of them.

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Lap Swimming Pools in Ubon Ratchathani

In February I began training for a triathlon and I was surprised to find that Ubon has quite a few lap pools available to the public. Below is a list of them. I’ll update information as I hear about it changing. The hours below are during the Summer and may change once schools open again. All pools have showers. The earlier you go in the day the fewer people there are. I was surprised how many people go during the heat of the afternoon, considering the usual Thai aversion to sunlight. There is a map below.

Photo Apr 29, 2 22 34 PM
Narinakul High School
Size: 50m
Hours: 08:30-19:00
Cost: 40b
Swimming Cap: Required for everyone regardless of hair length.
Notes: This is my favorite pool because it seems to be the most well maintained and there is rarely ever anyone there.

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Dong Klang
Size: 25m
Hours: 08:30-19:00
Cost: 40b
Swimming Cap: Required for long hair.
Notes: The water is well maintained but the facilities are not.

Photo Apr 20, 9 18 08 AM
Ubon Sports School
Size: 50m
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 06:00-08:00, 15:00-20:00 Weekends 08:00-12:00, 14:00-20:00
Cost: 50b This is the only pool where you can buy a monthly membership for 500b
Swimming Cap: Required for everyone regardless of hair length.
Notes: This was still closed as of April 20.

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Warin Children’s Home
Size: 25m
Hours: 09:00-19:00
Cost: 50b
Swimming Cap: Required for long hair.
Notes: One end of this pool is barely swimmable because it gets too shallow but only for a couple strokes.

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Chao Warin Pool
Size: 25m
Hours: 08:00-20:00
Cost:40b
Swimming Cap: Required for long hair.
Notes: This one can get quite busy like the Dong Klang Pool later in the day.

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Ubon Ratchathani University (Mo Ubon)
Size: 50m
Hours: 16:30-19:00
Cost: 40b
Swimming Cap: Required for everyone.
Notes: I have not been to this one yet. Just called for information.


View Pools in Ubon in a larger map

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Songkran 2014 in Ubon

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Songkran was slightly more subdued this year in Ubon. I don’t know if it’s the economy, political environment or the overcast skies, but there was a noticeable drop in water throwing. I do mean slightly though and much fun was had by our family and friends.

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Lotus Exchange Rate

If you use a foreign credit card at Lotus like I do, here’s a pro tip to save a little money. They have started asking if you want to pay in Thai Baht or your home currency. This is a recent change I think. I’ve never been asked in the last decade nor have I ever seen one of these signs pictured below in Lotus. I’ve checked the difference between paying THB vs USD at the point of sale at other businesses in the past and paying in THB has been cheaper 100% of the time. I would assume it would be the same for other currencies. I think it has to do with the difference between an offshore and onshore exchange rate. IMG_9234

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Mt. Dew’s Accidental Marketing in Thailand

Dew

Have you noticed bright green bottles popping up all over the road in Thailand recently? A few months ago Mt. Dew officially came to Thailand; a guilty pleasure for this expat who grew up sneaking a bottle whenever possible. I don’t know if Thais enjoy the taste but they sure enjoy using the bright green bottles as reflectors. Go ahead and stand out on your street. I bet at least 1 out of the next 5 trucks you see has the green bottles hanging off the back. I’ve even seen food stalls start using them to draw attention to their business and our nearby junk yard is making a separate pile of them for resale. So is it accidental or clever marketing? Whatever it is, it’s working.

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Ink Fail

ink

In 2011 I declared that the ink well side containers on printers were the greatest thing since sliced bread. Sure I saved a little money by not buying ink cartridges but these containers have been nothing but trouble and required frequent maintenance. I can admit it when I’m wrong and I definitely was. The other day I reverted back to ink cartridges and now have wonderful colored pages. :)

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Trakan Tiger Zoo

Ubon has two zoos now. The newest is Ubon Jungle Park but there is another zoo that has been around much longer; the Trakan Tiger Zoo. It’s on the road to Khemmarat (see map below) and only costs 20b if I remember correctly. No double pricing either! It’s not the most well kept zoo you’ll ever see but seeing the tigers is worth the visit and if you’re lucky they might let you hold the baby tigers. All you have to do is ask.


View Trakan Tiger Zoo in a larger map

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Thai Zebra Tarantula

I have arachnophobia so this is a tough post for me… When my family was visiting, my niece screamed when she found this spider below. It was up against our perimeter wall in the evening while we were kicking a ball around. Her scream quickly turned to delight as she had just finished studying tarantulas. We think it’s a Thai Zebra Tarantula. I asked around our neighbors and my wife’s village and nobody had ever seen one. A bunch of people who have spent their lives in rice fields have never seen one, but my little niece from rural America finds one. Go figure. :)

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