PAUL EHRLICH

Wrote “The Se­cret Soul of Isan”

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“Fully ex­plor­ing Thai­land’s north­east­ern Isan re­gion for the first time, I was im­pressed by the var­ied and un­ex­pected beauty of the land, their own Thai twist to cui­sine, and a blend­ing of lan­guages from neigh­bor­ing Laos,” says Ehrlich, an ex–New Yorker who has lived for many years in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok writ­ing for var­i­ous publi­ca­tions and a for­mer ed­i­tor of Pres­tige Hong Kong. “What most sur­prised me, though, was the es­o­teric side of Isan—shamans, the be­lief of pro­tec­tive spir­its in the moun­tains, and gi­ant­headed, sur­real fig­ures of the dead. Pho­tog­ra­pher Christo­pher Wise and I trav­eled by car, giv­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to stop when­ever some­thing caught our eye, like the French guy off a dirt road in the mid­dle of what seemed like nowhere mak­ing ex­cel­lent Caribbean-styled rum from sugar cane.”

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