They say the older you get the more nutty you become. Nutty Park in Udon Thani would seem as good a place as any to test the theory. Surely it had to be full of old nutters.
Nutty Park is a collection of 20 or so bars based near Udon Thani train station and is literally the nut sat next to the fruit of the Centrepoint Night Market. During daylight the Park is quiet to steady with most of the punters a little past their prime. With my advancing years and rapidly spreading holiday girth I guess I kind of fitted in swell. Most of the old timers had a younger Thai lady in their company and daytime in the bars appeared a lot more fruity than nutty to me, I needed to check it out after dark.
I was a touch apprehensive as I approached Nutty Park after dark, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had visions of deranged old men duelling over fair maidens with an overly aggressive slap of a pension book winning the day as Diana Ross belted out a number in the background. I wondered if cortisone injections made elbows squeak and what bouquet would dance uninvited across my nostrils. Sticky rice and Old Spice would be a potent mix.
The Isaan night air had a slight chill to it and with my heavy cold showing no real signs of improvement I wrapped myself up in a hoodie. Those samlor rides can be a little chilly at times. Santa Claus may have been in town a couple of nights back but tonight a 50 year old hoodie was about to hit Nutty Park.
I dropped Wonderful Wi off at the Centrepoint Night Market and paid the samlor driver. I decided to leave my sardonic and wry thoughts in the back carriage, what the hell, I took one last one with me. On the short walk to the Park I pondered as to whether samlor manufacturers deliberately made the brakes screech whenever they stopped at traffic lights. I decided they did. I took a deep breath and entered Nutty Park.
Nutty Park wasn’t exactly bursting at the seams but there was a far heavier presence of clientele about than there had been during the day. I’d expected loud booming music but was pleasantly surprised to hear the modern tunes were played at a reasonable range of decibels. Either the bar owners were going for a more gentler softer kind of ambiance, or Udon Thani hearing aids were super sensitive.
The age groups of those sat around the tables of the assorted bars varied much more from my lunchtime lark in the park. A few twenty something males and a larger dose of revellers in their thirties and forties just about outweighed us older ones who wince at the thought of being weighed.
The youth stake winners were definitely the Thai bar girls some of whom were real cute and as always they delivered it with the Thai Two Finger Salute. Cute, I was soon wondering if Beer Leo was starting to reach my parts that other beers had failed to breach. Mmmm.
The Up to You Bar and Black and White were just a couple of the bar names which bore evidence that William Shakespeare hadn’t been reborn as a Buddhist bar owner. This was Udon Thani’s small slice of Pattaya served on a barbecue stick and it had started to taste real good.
The Up to You Bar did a steady trade in Western and Thai meals some of which were ordered from the adjoining bars. The bar girls picked at snacks which were available in a stockpile of spices at the Centrepoint market just a papaya’s throw away. Nobody was gonna go hungry in Nutty Park.
I overstayed my time in Nutty Park, I was enjoying it too much. I phoned Wilai and rearranged our meet. A call to a shopaholic in a market full of counterfeit wares, maybe she understood my misplacement of real time. I was enjoying my night listening to modern music and…. screeching brakes, I couldn’t place the artist, but could picture the traffic lights very well.
The evening I spent in Nutty Park left me with the feeling it was a big boys kind of venue with a heavy accent on booze and laughter. As for the bar girls, well….zoom… my heart went boom, I was in a winter wonderland. Nutty Park after dark was simple clean fun, enjoyed in an atmosphere where you could sit back and relax without harassment from any of its revellers. Perhaps I just struck lucky that night.
I was quite impressed with Nutty Park, there were a few western couples dotted about and the feel around the bars was one of laughter and not loud raucous louts. I never once felt ill at ease by anyone’s actions or behaviour. Even the bar girls were knowledgeable enough to know who was no, and who was whoa. Thai bar girls know you never approach a hoodie, you wait for the invite.
If you ever find yourself in Udon Thani then head for Nutty Park after dark. If you’re old enough you never know you might enjoy it. I certainly did.
If you have enjoyed this post then why not get Beyond The Mango Juice delivered free to your desktop or by email via myRSS feed.
© 2010 – 2012, Martyn. All rights reserved.