Friday, May 8, 2015

Lao Trip 10.1a - To Nong Khai

All my trips out of Thailand (mostly to Lao) involve some preparation. This tenth trip to Lao required more than most.

For one thing, we were still in the middle of building Bann Nah. So, there were things like running out of #3 nails and having to get another box full; authorizing unexpected expenditures; transporting water (both use and drinking); updating the expenditures list; payment of labor; inspections; and, of course, a final end-of-day four 630ml bottle Leo beer drink with our workers.

Then, the other big preparation involved paperwork: getting my new Thai visa application packet together. Last year’s visa was about to expire, so this was to be somewhat of a business trip, just like the one a year ago. Because the packet requirements are less strict at the Thai Savannakhet consulate, I decided to return was in order. This time, I’d make my way a bit differently, via Vientiane, to mix the trip up a bit and see some more of the country I hadn’t seen before.

The day of my departure, I drove our monks to and from binta baht, as I do most every morning. Then, I dealt with some last minute problems with my gaming clan and finally I was off – Thip driving me to the Nong Bua Lamphu bawkasaw (bus station) on her Honda Wave 110i motosai.

We had timed it so that I picked up the bus to Nong Khai, Thailand, on the border not far from Vientiane, in Lao. In the past, I would just take the first bus to Udon Thani and then a bus from there to Nong Khai. This time, although we still ended-up stopping at Udon, being able to stay on the same bus and not having to wait around the Udon bus station was a definite improvement in my travel plans.

Outside Nong Khai, those of us going on to the border transferred to a tuk-tuk. On it, a rather foul-mouthed Canadian made me feel embarrassed to be a North American. He didn’t have a good word to say about anybody and wasn’t the first one of his kind that I had run into, in my travels. I’d characterize the type as unshaven, uncouth, a bar hound and a man of little respect – especially for others. I always hate to cross paths with guys like this. My Bangkok friend Kevin says this type of Expat runs away from problems in their own country, comes to Southeast Asia to escape them, and bring all their baggage along with them.

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