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18 March 2003

I needed to take my bicycle to the bike shop to resolve a problem. I usually travel the eight kilometers from the campus to Sarakham by sorngtheaw. It is not that it is too far to ride but by midday, temperatures are often in the mid-thirties. I left at 7.30 am to avoid the heat — on the way in at least. Took me about 45 minutes. No hassles.

Fixed the bike and decided to wander around with my camera. Consider this page a photographic essay on life in Mahasarakham.

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1 Typical Mahasarakham street scene. The truck on the left is a sorngtheaw — there are two rows of seats in the back for passengers.

2 & 3 Typical Mahasarakham street scenes

4 Sermthai, Mahasarakham’s one and only department store

5 & 6 The local market

Footnote update, March 2005: The markets were rebuilt after these photos were taken. At first they were looking rather too clean and neat. I am happy to say that on my return to Mahasarakham, I find they have attained a typical Thai untidiness.

Sermthai Department Store has been rebuilt. It now includes two bookstores, a KFC and a TescoLotus supermarket. We in Mahasarakham can now buy all (or at least most) of the brand name consumables that you in the West take for granted. Another shopping mall is being built about one kilometre along the canal.

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1 & 2 The local market

3 This temple is opposite the market.

4 Roadside barbeque: chicken and fish. It looked good and smelt good. I stopped and had lunch. It was good.