Road Trip to Ubon Ratchathani, Part 8 – Gong City

| July 29, 2010 | 8 Comments | 7,586 views

On the road between Ubon Ratchathani and the Laos border (click to see the actual location), is the Gong producing center of Thailand.

I’ve been on this stretch of road twice. Once while on a border run with Werewolf last year and this year on a exploratory drive into the countryside with a friend in search of adventure and a tasty lunch on the banks of the Mekong River.

You are in the middle of nowhere, on a road with very little traffic, and all of sudden every 50 meters is a house with a full selection of hand crafted gongs on display.

Amazing Thailand!

It’s funny sometimes how much of the cheap handicrafts sold to Thailand tourists is actually made in China and Vietnam.

These gongs, however, are actually made in Thailand.

How do I know?

I walked to the back of the house and took a look at the workshop/factory.

This family had a couple of arc welders, a lathe, an electric grinder and a pile of scrap steel which they use to fabricate the gongs.

It’s actually a pretty cool workshop that could be used to fabricate a lot of stuff and a sizable investment in supplies and equipment given the neighborhood.

And here is the guy actually at work and some of gongs awaiting completion.

I guess Henry Ford’s idea of the moving assembly line and other modern day industrial innovations haven’t penetrated this far into the jungle.

There were waaaay to many of gongs lying around to be sold to passing motorists, so my guess is that these are sold all over Thailand in gift shops at marked up prices.

Besides the gong’s there were a selection of wind chimes and bells for sale.

Each gong comes with a cool hand crafted mallet whose handle is turned out on the lathe.

My friend bought this size gong.

The original asking price, including mallet, was 2800 THB which was bargained down to 1800 THB.

It produces a rich deep satisfying sound when banged and is a ton of fun to play with — sort of like a women.

Bang it once and you just want to keep on banging it over and over again — sort of like some women.

My friend is married and I suggested he hang it over his bed and hit the gong:

1) When he wants to bang his wife to let her know.

2) When he is done banging his wife and achieved nirvana.

3) When his wife has achieved nirvanna.

4) When they achieve nirvanna together.

5) To annoy his neighbors.

None of these suggestions was met with much enthusiasm or laughter.

Something about getting married must sap people’s sense of humor.

555

BigBabyKenny

Comments (8)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Marc Bolan says:

    Well you’re dirty and sweet, clad in black
    Don’t look back and I love you
    You’re dirty and sweet, oh yeah
    Well you’re slim and you’re weak
    You’ve got the teeth of a hydra upon you
    You’re dirty sweet and you’re my girl.

    Chorus:
    Get it on, bang the gong , get it on
    Get it on, bang the gong, get it on

    You’re built like a car, you’ve got a hub cap diamond star halo
    You’re built like a car, oh yeah
    You’re an untamed youth that’s the truth with your cloak full of eagles
    You’re dirty sweet and you’re my girl.

    Repeat chorus

    You’re windy and wild, you’ve got the blues in your shoes and your
    stockings
    You’re windy and wild, oh yeah
    You’re built like a car, you’ve got a hub cap diamond star halo
    You’re dirty sweet and you’re my girl.

    Repeat chorus

    You’re dirty and sweet, clad in black, don’t look back
    And I love you
    You’re dirty and sweet, oh yeah
    You dance when you walk so let’s dance, take a chance, understand me
    You’re dirty sweet and you’re my girl.

    Repeat chorus

  2. Mike says:

    what happened to part 8?
    We must have both been in Ubon at about the same time, I was there for a couple of weeks in early july. We drove through this tambon on a family outing to Khong Jiam, but did n’t stop.

  3. Werewolf says:

    The area of Ubon Ratchatani you were probably in or near is  Peeboon Mangsahan.  The reason so many gongs are made and sold there is because they are replicas of “THE” Gong, which is about 9 feet across and is the main tourist attraction in the area.   It hangs in a small gazebo-like structure in the middle of an empty field, rather lonely-looking on the day that I saw it.

    I visited THE GONG for the first (and only) time in 2005 when I spent 5 days visiting Ubon.  The Thai girl who was showing me around showed me the kawng, and then asked me what the English word was.  It took about 3 minutes of confused conversation (I spoke no Thai and she had very limited English) before she understood that the Thai word and English word were essentially the same.

  4. Dr Love says:

    “It produces a rich deep satisfying sound when banged and is a ton of fun to play with — sort of like a women.
    Bang it once and you just want to keep on banging it over and over again — sort of like some women.”


    Does your university have a psychotherapy faculty?

  5. BBK says:

    Mike,

    You are right.

    The numbering is wrong.

    Part 8 is about The Rock disco in Ubon but for some reason I was in a gonging mood and published the gong post first.

    I corrected the numbering so everything is consistent.

    And we could have been there at the same time.

    Did you go out at all and enjoy the nightlife of Ubon?

    Any good pictures to share?

    Or tips about where to stay etc.?

    BigBabyKenny

  6. BBK says:

    Dr. Love,

    I don’t think having a sense of humor and not taking things too seriously has been classified as a mental disorder…….yet.

    Although with the current trend of making up fancy names for more and more things and labeling them a mental disease so that psychiatrists can get paid by insurance companies, the government has to pay for treating them, and people can qualify for lifetime disability pensions for allegedly having them,  I can imagine a day not too far in the future when SOHA (Sense of Humor Affliction) will be a recognized ailment.

    Personally, I think NSOH (No Sense of Humor) is a more common disease in Expatland.

    555

    BigBabyKenny

    P.S. My personal diagnosis is that you and I are both afflicted with SOHA not NSOH

     

  7. BBK says:

    Werewolf,

    Thanks for the info.

    How many women do you have to bang before you get to bang THE BIG GONG at Peebon Mangasahan?

    And is there a place in the field or a temple near by where you can qualify?

    BigBabyKenny

  8. Raul Villegas says:

    Mr Kenny,
     
    This village reminds me of a village in my country of Panama where they make the Bongo.  It is in the darian region of my country and is very far from the roads.
     
    I think I would very much like to bang a gong.  I bet a lot of people see this and they imagine banging the gong with Mr Daffy Ducks head, except it would not sound good as mr Daffy Duck is a vile and disgusting human being.  Why must he be like that?  Does his webpage have a fun and interesting story on it?  No it is sad and hateful just like him.
     
    But thank you for your story Mr. Kenny.  It makes me forget how vile Mr Daffy Duck is.
     
    Raul for Panama.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *