Image by robstephaustralia via FlickrAlthough I have one more post about Mongolia, and posts about Beijing and Ko Samui, I will interrupt now for some Uttaradit updates.
The Langsat Festival (pictures below) is the biggest celebration in Uttaradit. This province is known for the langsat fruit--- a small, round fleshy fruit that you have to peel-- similar to lychees. The festival lasted a week and included rides, concerts, markets, muay thai (kickboxing) and the parade. We went there every night for the food stalls.
Catching my first muay thai match was one highlight of the week. I never had a huge desire to see any kind of fighting but, I must admit, the atmosphere was rather exciting around the ring as the fight geared up to begin. In Bangkok and any of the tourist spots in Thailand muay thai can see a bit gimmicky as they try to bring in the crowds but here it was all locals, just crowding around the ring, standing in the dirt, and placing bets. From what I could gather the older competitior was a champion from Vietnam who was being challenged by a young, Thai guy. Although the younger dude got in a few punches, the Vietnamese man was clearly the better fighter and seemed to defeat him easily. It wasn't shocking, brutal stuff at all, like I hear it was in the old days--- actually, it was quite entertaining and exciting.
The other highlight was the parade, which showcased all of the things Uttaradit Province has to offer. Floats represented different fruits from the region, high school marching bands participated, and men and women walked in formation promoting their trades, from loom weaving to fishing. Good show!