Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lao Trip 12.1 - Two Days in Nong Khai

It’s cheaper here in Thailand than in Lao. So, I stayed in the Thai port city of Nong Khai for two days before crossing over to Lao on my visa renewal trip to save a little bit of baht/kip. I make trips outside Thailand every 90 days, as a condition of my Thai visa.

Why is it cheaper? Well, in large part the stuff you buy in Lao is mostly imported from Thailand. Also, fuel prices are higher, so it’s more costly to move around in Lao than in Thailand.

The two days in Nong Khai were leisurely and mostly consisted of beer drinking and eating on three different floating restaurants; shopping at Nong Khai’s famous Tha Sadet market; and keeping in touch with my various Internet projects (my writings, gaming clan, communications with family and friends, and a few blogs I maintain). I even had a chance to visit the Smile Bar once again, which I had first visited this time, last year; when I met Doi (doo-ee), a nice bargirl in her late twenties.

The curious thing about this Nong Khai trip was my being pursued by two different freelancers – one on bicycle. I talked with them, shared some beer with the bicyclist. I was polite and friendly, but not overly; I kept a distance. They weren’t “my type” and “had too much mileage” on them, I believe is the expression. Besides, I’m too paranoid of catching something I don’t want, to get involved with sexually active women. And, then there is my wife at home to think about. Yep, some friendly conversation is good enough for me.

I tried to connect with Pu – a normal girl I also met this time last year – but I mixed-up the rendezvous details and we ended up missing each other.

There was no standout moment to the two days in Nong Khai, but some minor moments: listening and watching a singer perform live acoustic music (including lots of Pongsit); watching the sun go down behind the clouds over the Mekong; observing the commercial activity at the port and patrons and staff at the Smile Bar.

Sadly, the guest house I usually patronize (Siri Guesthouse) upped their room rentals from 300 baht/night ($9 USD) to 500 ($15). Not quite sure if that was because there were boat races planned for that weekend, but I’ll probably be looking for different digs next time I’m out this way.

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