Day 4, after waking up in Nong Khai, I headed for the “Friendship Bridge.” At the border, this time my checkout from
Thailand and check into Lao
proceeded smoothly, mostly thanks to the extra pages I now have in my passport.
On the Lao side of the border from Nong Khai, there are an incredible number of touts offering rides at inflated prices. Away from the main group, I was able to score an old tuk-tuk driver at reasonable rates. And he definitely looked like he could use the kip.
Arriving in a foreign location now that I’m in my mid-60s, I usually set myself in or near the center of the action. Since I’m on-foot, I like to stay in that mode as much as possible. This second time in Vientiane, I picked a hotel not far from the river front and not far from the hotel Thip and I had stayed one night in, back in 2012. The Duang Deuane was a little cheaper than Orchid, didn’t sit right in front of the river, but had a little bit of a Mekong view if you got up high enough, which I did. The desk clerk warned me that the hotel’s wifi sits on the ground floor, so I might have a little problem accessing it, but didn’t.
After my usual clean-up routine, I went walking the neighborhood, having a beer and fish and chips on the outside patio of the Belgian Beer Bar. Later, I had an Indian sweet tortilla from a roadside vendor and checked out a small portion of the riverside vendors.
Back at the hotel, before going to sleep, I stumbled on a John Carter movie on TV; based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ last installment of the Barsoom series. It was surprisingly good!