It really does, of course depend on what you are looking for in your travels or your life (might that be the same thing?) but there is a medium-sized establishment in the centre of Udon Thani that might just help you along the way; certainly while you are visiting the area that is. It is called Fuzzy Ken’s and is so named because the proprietor’s name is Ken and the “fuzzy” appears to be in some way connected by description of his hair.
Fuzzy Ken’s is a bar, restaurant and secondhand paperback bookstore and not necessarily in that order, again depending on what your interests are. The majority of his clientele is anglophile, middle-aged(and above) males but I have, in my visits, seen a variety of other types including elephants although that, I am delighted to say, was not the most surprising thing I have discovered there. That would have to be Ken’s willingness to accommodate all with an easy-going, helpfully informative and often boyish good-humour style although when really pressed his good naturedness might wain slightly while he reveals that not all might be so equally welcome all the time: such as, for example, those elephants. He is usually more than prepared to take time to explain his view of a matter should you ask his opinion and his inside information usually provides an extremely useful starting point on any subject that you may wish to know about in the Udon area.
Everything in our world is relative of course but from many comparable perspectives the food and drink on his menu are offered at very reasonable prices. His bar staff have always been very cordial to me and one customer meaningfully pointed out to me the other day how seldom the staff change compared with other bars and restaurants. His menu is exclusively western (perhaps could be described as transport café style) but providing you are a genuine customer then he doesn’t mind if you or a member of your group also bring something in from elsewhere to eat.
There is one extra dimension of importance and that is his book service. Ken is very attached to his position as a provider of secondhand paperbacks and recently acquired something like 3000 additional books to add to his already very extensive collection. If you still prefer the old-fashioned book in-hand to read over the modern computer-data format then Ken is probably now the only serious provider of English second-hand paperbacks in town.
One more thing that I find to be quite a plus: the establishment is located very centrally, immediately opposite the main entrance to the modern and imposing shopping mall know as Central Plaza and less than 5 minutes to the central bus and railway stations.
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