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Published: July 16th 2017
Geo: 16.42, 102.83
Up at 5:30 for a quick breakfast and to check our packing of everything that we need and by 6:30 are biking into town along with 2 suitcases and a rucksack - my fault as one case is filled with books. Drop Jai off at the bus station with our baggage and then take the bike to the house where we are leaving it. I was expecting to have to walk back to the station but the chap luckily gave me a lift.
The bus arrives on time and by 8:15 we are leaving Phon Thong behind and heading almost west. At one point in the journey we must have needed some petrol as the driver pulls in to a service station. There must have been a problem of some kind as afer speaking with one of the pump attendants we leave without filling up. There is also a station on the opposite side of the dual carriageway but there is a grass bank central reservation between us. The driver continues our journey for a few hundred metres then does a u-turn through a gap in the reservation and drives to the other garage where we fill up. No problems yet but when it is time to resume our journey he decides that it would be quicker to drive along the dual carriageway in the wrong direction straight into the oncoming traffic until he reaches the same gap to cross back to the correct side of the road. I must have been the only person on the bus who was at all surprised or concerned about this manouevre !! No thanks to our driver we arrive in Khon Kaen at about 11:00 and take a tuk-tuk to the Roma Hotel. Arriving here late morning and with our bus never leaving for Chiangmai until usually about 20:00 we always check-in here for the afternoon. Leaving bags we walk to the main bus station where the long distance buses leave from to buy our tickets for the overnight journey. The one company that we use had both of their buses already sold out for that night and so had the other to my surprise as they are not usually this busy. The second company were able to offer us a couple of seats on a bus leaving from a different station at 18:30, however, which we snapped up in spite of the fact that this bus didnt have a toilet on board. I was assured that it had aircon and that should the need desperately arrive the side of the road was always available. Fine by me.
Whilst in Khon Kaen we intended to make the most of the free afternoon to obtain a new passport for Jai from the regional office here. We asked at reception only to be told that the office was closed today, didnt we know that today was a national holiday. Oh yes says Jai she knew that - to my surprise. So what are we doing here trying to get a passport when you knew that the office would be closed ? Didnt really think about it !! Oh well ... this at least explains why the buses etc are so busy today with people having an extended weekend.
Leaving Jai in the room I head out with 23 books to a bar owned by a New Zealand guy who sounds Scottish to me. It is handy having his bar so near to the hotel as he offers a help yourself one for one exchange of books that I have used on a number of occasions. Today his bookcase is pretty full and looks promising until I strat to look more closely. The only problem with an offer such as this, is that people dump their rubbish books and that was largey what he to trade today. I managed to find enough decent copies to do a one for one swap with the 23 that I had brought but will definitely struggle next time. He actually told me that the bar was up for sale and that he was opening a dog kennels for boarding and breeding so in fact the bar may not even be here next time we are passing through.
Leave hotel in plenty of time and tuk-tuk to the bus station and by 18:35 we are leaving town. Mum phoned whilst we were waiting at the station but the noise made talking completely impossible so she called back once we were on our way and it was the best signal we had had in weeks.
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