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Published: July 16th 2017
Geo: 16.42, 102.83
Wake up with the alarm at 05:00 and Jai steams the rice whilst I make a cuppa then load up the bike. Only a small bag for clothes etc but a second case is full of books to sell/exchange somewhere.
Get to Phon Thong about 6:30 and after checking the house where we leave the bike I drop Jai and bags off at the bus station before returning to leave the bike. Quite often have to walk back across town but this morning am given a ride on the back of a bike which is much appreciated. The Khon Kaen bus is due to leave at 7:10 so only 15mins to wait and surprisingly it is actually on time. The journey can take over 3 hours sometimes so when we are arriving at about 9:00 I am delighted.
We check the times of the early buses back to Phon Thong tomorrow morning then take a taxi out to the north of town to the immigration office. It is empty when I walk in whiuch is a good sign and sure enough 15mins later I am walking out again with a visa extension that sees me through till 2 December. Next
to the office is a police college or something similar and this morning they are using the carpark as a parade ground and there are hundreds of them dressed in their best fineries marching up and down to a band.
We get the taxi to take us back into town and drop us at the Roma Hotel where we nearly always stay here. Prices have gone up from 10GBP to 12GBP per night which doesnt sound a lot but for the quality of the room it is starting to stretch the value for money in a provincial town.
Our room is fine and we shower, change and eat the food that we brought with us then head out for a bit. The last time we were here I walked a long way to visit a temple to the south of the town. You could climb to the the 9th floor for views over a lake but I was hot and tired when I got there and with the walk back to think about didnt bother. This time we take the easy option of the bus from just outside the hotel (Bus No 8, 9Bht each) and for about 40p it drops us
off right outside the main entrance gate to Wat Nongwang.
We remove our shoes as prtocol demands and enter the main hall at ground level where Jai stop;s to pay her respects to the resident Buddha with flowers and incense sticks. We then make the climb to the top to enjoy the views back over the town and across the Bung Kaen Nakhon lake. It is nice day and the view is lovely and clear. We are both out of shape relying on the motorbike to take us from door to door all the time and the climb has left us a bit out of breathe and with burning thighs (it isnt really very far or very high !) and we stay on the top floor for a while enjoying a rest in the fresh breeze. We descend slowly stopping on each floor to look at the exhibits in a museum of sorts. Jai gives her age away with comments like I can remember using one of those, dad had one like that ... We finally reach ground floor again and agree it was a nice place to pass an hour or so.
We exit through the rear gate, cross a main
road and enter a small park that follows the bank of the lake and we walk through the park for about 800m. It is full of lots of things for the kids to play on all shaped as dinosaurs with this being dinosaur country. Had she come, Fin would have loved it here. There is also an exercise park with lots of help yourself gym machines. Needless to say the only person actually making use of the facility was a farang ! It would be great if we had a place like this near the house. We walk till the end of the lake then cut through a side road back to the main road where we catch the same bus back.
We make a quick visit to the 7/11 next door to the hotel for some refreshments then back to the room for another shower. It is still only 13:30 and it is starting to get a bit warm for aimless wal;king around so I stay in the room for a bit and watch some French rugby on Eurosport.
A bit later I take my case of books and walk about 1/2 mile to No ! Bar where I usually exchange
them. For the last couple of years the owner has been telling me, when you come next time I will have sold up and moved on, this year he has. The bar seems to be still in handover mode but the bad news is that there are no longer any books here for me to swap. I ask a couple of people in the bar if they know of anywhere else I could exchange, sell, buy books in Khon Kaen but no ideas come back. I leave the case of books here and walk to another couple of bars I know of not too far away. A group of about 10 farangs are sat at the one but between them they do not know of a bookshop in town. This is a university town with quite a few farangs around so surely this must be a business opportunity for someone ?!
Walking back to collect my case of books and my phone rings. Mum from England right by a very busy junction with the schools just kicking out and it is difficult to have a good conversation but we make do. I pick up my case and return to the hotel
disappointed at having to admit to mission failure.
By 17:30 we are both hungry so go out to find something to eat. Just outside the hotel there is always a row and some 20+ street stalls selling allsorts but we decide to have a night off rice and settle for some noodles as a slight change. We walk on to the large market that we like here but it was already pretty well closed down for the night even though the streets were still very busy with people heading home.
Walked around for about an hour then back to the room with a coffee.
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