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Published: December 16th 2009
Another Journey... Journal 2009 Thailand/Laos/Vietnam
15 December 2009 (Trip Dates: 12/16/09-1/7/09)
As I embark on another journey, this time to Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, I am reminded of how many times I have journeyed somewhere, even within, to achieve or accomplish something. Sometimes the journey has been for the discovery of enlightenment, other times for adventure, sun, or to help others (e.g. the Dancing Bears of India or the Elephants of India and Thailand). Well, this journey really has no felt purpose. Sure there will be sun, which will be much appreciated at this time of year, and most certainly it will be an adventure, yet I have no expectations. My husband plans on checking out a few language schools, in case he decides he may want to teach overseas someday. For me, I am along for the ride, and am just being open to whatever happens. I have been minimally involved in any planning (quite in contrast to my solo trips to Asia). I just got done packing, and now we depart early morning.
Our time is limited, due to our work schedules, so we only have a little more than three weeks. What I know
of the trip is that we will start out in Thailand, check out an International Teaching School, stay in a resort on the beach for three nights, and then head to the border of Laos. From there we will take the Friendship Bridge over, and stay for a week, then fly to Vietnam. We will be taking a train from the North to the South (getting off here and there), and ending our time in Ho Chi Minh City before heading home. I have yet to read the Lonely Planet Guide of where we are going. I figure I will study up on the plane. I have never been to Laos or Vietnam, so this will be new territory for me. I will be learning as I share, and even Thailand will be exploring areas I have never been. So... let the journey begin. :--)
December 19: We are now in Ban Phe taking in our second night, after spending our first night in Bangkok. Plastic chairs have found new interest for us, as we have ventured into the street food vending scene. "Go where the locals go" has been our motto, and we have been treated by some
wonderful soups. I never knew I could enjoy soup so much, even and perhaps especially for breakfast. Another surprise is that I think I just may have fallen in love with Bangkok or at least have open my heart to spending more time there. My past visits have always been a mixed experience, but now I see there are so many small communities to nestle into, find your way around, and eat, eat, and enjoy Thai food. What I had not realized is just outside of Bangkok, there are rice paddy fields and scenes very similar to the serenity of Bali. Yesterday, we made our way to the TOEFL International Language School. I was impressed and perhaps even open to someday taking the four week course myself. We shall see what life wants to bring. I am just feeling very open to new possibilities. Oh, just a little comment about the Rayong Resort. While we have had larger rooms elsewhere, we have agreed that this is the nicest of any resorts we have stayed at. Also, as a bonus, they decided to upgrade our room at no extra charge, so we have been on the top floor feeling incredibly blessed!
The Queen's Garden River View Hotel in Bangkok
I must report that I have found a new found love for Bangkok... fifth times a charm!
Well... we must head off to town and see where we end up next! :--)
Just got home from Ban Phe, so a short entry to say I found my most favorite soup! Huge pieces of squid, fish, and shrimp in a wonderfully flavored broth. Yumm! This afternoon took an unexpected turn when we were unable to find a taxi to take us all the way to a fish market, where we had hoped to have dinner. We ended up in Ban Phe but it left us with a long walk. Steve arranged for two motorcycle rides. My driver spoke some English and dropped us off at a locals place, one of his favorites. We were not left wanting. It was wonderful, pictures attached. This trip has again and again revealed that we are not the ones in charge. We just ramble along as Consciousness wants. What an amazing ride. :--)
December 21. Actually it is Steve and my 11th Anniversary today. We had a great night with our friends Joseph and Thavorn. I met Joseph during my last journey to Thailand (when I went to India in 2008). They showed us their nice home and took us
on quite a tour and then to a lovely restaurant nestled in a jungle. This morning, I am getting ready to take a little swim before breakfast. We will take a taxi back to Bangkok this early afternoon, then catch a flight to Udon Thani and take a taxi to Nong Khai. We will stay two nights on the Mekong River...
December 22. Happy Soltice. We flew into Udon Thani yesterday and were helped finding a reasonable van ride Nong Khai. A little advice if one makes this journey, the taxi's will quote a high price of 900 baht, however the "Limousine Service' has a booth just as you are going out of the door. The van is deluxe and fast, and costs 200 baht per person. We arrived at Mut Mee Garden Guest House, which is quite funky but right off the river. (Imaging the Country Fair in Oregon mixed with a little jungle, and a communal atmosphere with a great view of the Mekong). Quite popular with the back-packers. It is starting to grow on us. We rented bicycles from town and made our way around to some food stands, restaurants, massage place, Buddhist Wats (temples), and
to the famous Sala Kaew Ku Sculpture Park. It was worth the 40 minute ride on a 1-speed. We passed on going on the Mut Mee Tour Boat for an evening ride on the Makong and dinner, and will venture out again to some local spots. The people are so very friendly, we are loving it here. I have included some new photos. Tomorrow, we will be heading to the Friendship Bridge... and then the journey into Laos will begin... (see Part 2 of this journey for those photos).
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