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Published: July 16th 2017
Geo: 16.42, 102.83
Another fresh morning with our fellow breakfasters wearing fleeces and puffer jackets. Overhead is a clear blue sky and sunshine but it is not making its presence felt in our courtyard.
We have decided to skip the early morning International Bus and spend the morning here in Vientiane. We have to check-out by 12:00 and the afternoon bus is due to leave at 14:45 so the timings work ou quite well.
After breakfast we stroll down to the riverside again and walk about 1 mile along to the large King Sissavang Vong statue. Cutting back throug the pleasant park, past the Presidential Palace and That Dum we stop for a final Lao coffee and pastry at the small shop we have been using.
Just along the road is a wine shop topped by an enormous wooden barrel that up close looks as though it may be authentic and not just a copy for decoration. There is a large range of wines inside from various countries and at various prices ... but none cheap. We find a bottle priced at 1,000,000 Lao Kip, about 85GBP. I am temptedto buy it just so that I can talk about once buying a bottle of wine
for a million but then think better of the idea !
Back to the guest house to get our stuff up together ad pack ready to leave. We check-out at the last minute and take a jumbo to the Talat Sao bus station where we find that our bus is already in ... but wont let us board. We buy our tickets ad then have to sit by the street and wait for the best part of an hour. The sun is now really fierce and people ae struggling to find a spot in the shade nearby.
The bus leaves almost on time and we drive off to the border bridge about 25km away. Lao immigration is very quiet and we clear quickly, rejoining the bus to drive over the Mekong bridge ad back into Thailand. Here things dont look so good with four long queues snaking out of the immigration building. The Thai passport desk has no queue at all so Jai passes straight through but no so for me. I queue for over an hour chatting to a Swiss guy who is also on our bus. We have worries about the bus still being there when eventually we get through
but as it turns out we arent even the last people to get cleared. I now have a visa to stay in Thailand until 13th Feb.
The bus leaves the border behind and sets off south but the traffic around the town of Udon Thani and south of there is awful. We are reduced to walking pace for a good hour largely due to a number of accidents. By the time we eventually reach Khon Kaen, just after 21:00, we have crawled past 6 road accidents, two of them overloaded sugar cane trucks that have overturned and dumped their loads on the road.
We take a taxi from the bus station to the Roma Hotel and check-in to the same room we had here last Monday. We dump our bags then head out for a while to have a stretch after being sat down for so long.
Strangely we end up at No 1 Bar where we have a couple of beers and something to eat before returning to the hotel about 23:30, a really late night for us !
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