On the day I was to receive my one-year, multiple entry Thai visa, I first went back to the outdoor market Konsing had directed me to the day before. Konsing is, I think, Japanese or part Nippon. I had stopped in, yesterday, to say hello. We had met two years before, when he and his wife invited me into their home/shop one night when I was prowling around. His English is very good and he enjoyed using it both then and yesterday.
I generally do not eat in restaurants, but pick my food “off the street.” It is much cheaper that way, more native and often better. At the small outdoor market, I bought ping gai, mak nut (pineapple) and a french roll (baguette) which made for two meals for less than the price of the french fries I had ordered at Lao Derm Savan, yesterday.
Back at Nongsoda, I ate and got caught up on my writings and Internet communications. Thip was happy to know I’d be returning home a day earlier than expected.
Mr. Loi was early for my pick-up, as I thought he might be. He explained that he was in the neighborhood and figured it would be easiest to pick me up now. That was OK by me, as I was ready and prepared to go. Off we went on some of his errands about the city. I enjoyed seeing more of the riverfront to the south, as riding it in a tuk-tuk made it easy to check out, but walking it would have been some work in the heat.
It was another sunny, bright Lao day, but cool enough while we were on the move. Typically at this time of year, even solidly sunny days turn gray toward the late afternoons when squalls move in to drop some rain, and then it would cool off.
Mr. Loi transported a number of us to the Thai consulate and while we waited for the afternoon gate to open, I had a chance to hang a little bit with Jinta, who mostly kept on the move, working for the visa services company. When some other girls bound for Thailand joined the group sitting around, I became somewhat a topic of conversation. Later, when Mr. Loi and I dropped them off at the Savan border crossing, they had become very friendly and even seemed sorry I would not be going to Thailand today.
I waved goodbye to Jinta as her father and I drove by in his souped-up tuk-tuk. It was a very strong machine. At times, Mr. Loi would drive it very fast -- sometimes in what looked like dangerous situations, but ones he’s probably made hundreds of times. He even had a custom foot-pedal accelerator mounted to his front right foot grill. I should have gotten a shot of that; very creative and it freed up his right hand for more focused navigation.
We were both a little sad to go our separate ways, but Mr. Loi made sure I had his cell phone number and he, mine. It took a little figuring out, as it usually does, since there are country codes to take into account; regional area codes and mobile numbers that you usually have to drop the leading “0” from in order to come up with a dialable number.
After freshening up a bit, I went back down to the Lao Derm Savan to hang out again; floating on The Khong. It was a very leisurely late afternoon -- once again with almost no patrons; this restaurant mostly geared for the night-time crowd.
After watching the sun set, I stopped in at the Savan Khaim Khong and then the Korean BBQ place, neither of which had appealed to me, this trip, compared to the old ferry.