Udon Thani is very big and looks prosperous. There are thousands of three-wheeled motorcycle taxis. I had always heard that Isan women were beautiful, and I thought, so, everywhere I've been Thai women are beautiful, but Udon Thani is Isan and the women were crazy beautiful, it's true.
But the biggest surprise of all is always that Thai people insist on eating the chickens' knees, deep fried. "Everything but the cluck," I suppose. Last night some grad-students took me to a little relax session, not quite dinner, we had snacks and listened to a band, then sang karaoke, all in some black-lit, neon and diamond Naugahyde hooker palace. The eatery was so dark that the waiter had a little flashlight so you could read the menu. When the food came I shone my lighter on it to see what it all was. The fried chicken thing turned out to be knees, one bite and I figured that's it for me, this stuff is inedible. I worked with the one bite though, and it was one too many, I broke a tooth.