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Published: October 8th 2019
Saturday October 5 – I had a leisurely morning with Jeroen as my clothes were already packed. I did make a few changes, but overall it was fine. The biggest problem I had was not being able to find my residence permit for Switzerland, which I would need to get back home again. I know I had it in August, but I quickly realized the one I’d been carrying in my wallet was the one that had expired in August. I looked EVERYWHERE last night and was about to start again in the morning, when Jeroen said to give him my wallets to have a look. Of course, he found it in my travel wallet where I had already looked several times. After that, stress levels decreased. I didn’t have to leave until about 11:30am, so it was quite a relaxing start. I said goodbye to Jeroen and the cats and got on the bus to the train station.
I met Becky there just before noon, and we got on the bus to the airport. She recounted a rocky start where she fell off of a curb while looking at a sign, into the street with a speeding car that
came out of nowhere. There is a lot of construction on the roads near where we live right now, and a lot of drivers have to detour around and are driving a bit impatiently. Our check-in at the airport was quick, but we waited nearby to make sure both bags had gone past the check-in lady, and we actually had to wait several minutes before it happened. We breezed through security and then bought a warm ciabatta sandwich with chicken and cheddar for lunch. We had some time to kill, but it went quickly, as did the flight to Amsterdam. We were nervous, as the flight was a little delayed, but we made it to Amsterdam on time.
On our way to the gate we passed a place where you could write and send free postcards for Chinese Golden Week, so I wrote a couple quickly before walking to the gate. The gate in the Amsterdam airport was in terminal E, which seems to be undergoing some work. It was a bit ugly with some walls with seemingly random pictures of forest animals with English and Dutch names.
Our flight to Bangkok was about 10.5 hours and went
ok, for what it was. We sat in the middle four seats, me on the aisle and her inside. We figured this would be the best for being able to get up if we needed to, since the other seats near the window were in sets of 3, and it did work well. Once settled in, we watched Rocketman together but on our own screens. We ate dinner together and chatted and then proceeded to continue with our film before reading and a snooze. Not sure how well I slept, but I must have dozed a little. Then we watched Toy Story 4.
Sunday October 6 – We arrived in Bangkok and wandered around and sat around and eventually we had lunch – Katsu Curry, a Japanese yumminess. Then more waiting – about 4 hours in total - for our flight to Luang Prabang in Laos – our final destination today after 23 hours of transit. We got our visas on arrival, which means we had to stand in a long line, hand over a couple of photos and $36 ($1 extra charge for Sunday). We ordered a tuk-tuk from the guesthouse to pick us up from the airport.
The Singharat Guesthouse is ok. We have A/C and hot water. The safe in the room was broken but they fixed it as we waited. The hilarious part is that it is not locked down or fixed in place, so he just took the safe away to fix and brought it back. The door to the room is hard to unlock from outside, but Becky is quite good at it. We decided to go for a walk to get some food, see the night market and change some money. We walked through the very long night market and I had fried rice and mango shake for dinner for less than $3. It’s quite cheap here. Afterwards we settled in, showered, and went to bed. We managed to stay up until 11pm!
Monday October 7 – I slept pretty well through the night, waking up around 6am but dozing until about 7:15. Not bad at all. Becky and I started out slowly and made it downstairs and across the street to have breakfast on the lane (not lake, as we thought we’d heard yesterday) around 8:30. We both decided to have the noodles with vegetables and egg, but it turned
out to be ramen soup, rather than the noodle dish we expected. Still tasty, just unexpected. All I could think was that I would be starting our day out needing to pee with all that liquid.
We left the hotel around 10am to see the three major sites in town on a walking tour which we loosely based on the one in the Lonely Planet. We walked down the main street and it looked quite different in the daylight, without the night market. I realized that the night market was actually on the street, and that they close the whole thing down between 5:30-10pm for the market. Today it was a busy road.
Our first stop was the Royal Palace, because it closed for lunch. As it was, we still had to rush around and only made it into the museum before the rest closed, so we decided to make it our last stop of the day as well. We took some pictures, saw some Buddhas, had to put our bags in storage to see the museum. In the museum there was a kid with a plastic gun scraping along the wall, and then he walked under the
ropes into the room you can’t go into. He turned out to be the son of a woman working there and they called him back quickly.
From the Royal Palace we crossed the street and started to climb the 329 steps up Mount Phu Si to Wat Tham Phu Si. A wat is a temple, and this place is famous for them. It was a nice shaded walk in the heat of the day, counter-balanced with the fact that it was uphill. We saw several small temples, went inside a little underground cave, saw the extremely large footprint of the Buddha and came down the other side of the hill. From there we found a noodle place and had lunch after a short walk along the Mekong River. Soup for two meals in a row, I know. But this was a different kind of noodle, udon. After lunch we walked the short distance to Wat Xieng Thong to see the temple there. Our next stop was back at the Royal Palace to see the temple and even decided to see the Royal car collection, since it was included in our tickets. The collection consisted of about 6 cars, mainly
gifts from the US, cool cars from the 60s that the King and his wife or family or friends would be driven in at the time.
On the way back to the guesthouse we stopped to buy some water and then looked briefly at Wat Mahathat to look at the silver dragons and an old temple on site. Back at the room I had some tea while Becky had some coffee. I worked through my jetlag on the blog as we relaxed a bit.
We left for dinner around 7pm and looked at several places, but ended up at the same place where we ate last night. This time we splashed out and spent about $5 per person, this time on fried noodles and a banana shake. We even split a chicken satay appetizer! I don’t know what is happening. On the way home we stopped for some street food dessert – little mini coconut pancakes that we are with toothpicks on the walk home. We also walked a little farther than the street where we stay to see where the spotlights were coming from. It turns out there was a little park with a band and some
other amusement park stuff, but being low season it was pretty dead.
Back at the guesthouse we organized ourselves for our daytrip tomorrow, showered and got in bed. A good day all around.
Tomorrow we are heading out on a day trip to see some sights in the area.
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