Monday, March 31, 2008

Leaving Laos

Day: 189
Vientiane to Bangkok
Time: 10 hours

We left Laos with heavy hearts and a whopping 16,000 kip in our pockets. We had some to blow so we loaded up on some coffee beans locally grown and roasted in Laos. The Lao coffee (ordered cafe-lao in roadside stalls) is served wicked strong poured over sweetened condensed milk. We shall see if it can be reproduced at home.
We caught leg one of the Bangkok express at our guesthouse. The van driver was a little taken aback when he saw we had two bike boxes and two giant rainbow bags. He balanced our bikes along with the other passenger’s bags on top of the van for the 3 minute ride to the bus station. Leslie asked if they were tied on. I wasn’t sure and I am glad that I didn’t know because they were just balanced. We got the bikes off, got on the next bus and filled out a questionnaire for a PhD student at a Thai university. She was studying tourism trends in Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang and had 12 pages of questions for us to answer. She was grateful for the participation and we received an eye shade and a little wallet in return. Fun Stuff!! We traveled 25 km to the Friendship Bridge where we officially exited Laos on one side of the Mekong. We then got back on board and crossed the bridge where we got back off and officially entered Thailand. The bus then herded us to Nongkhai where we boarded our last bus for the 9 hour ride to Bangkok. Leslie and I both had a fitful nights sleep with the thunderstorms, small seats and snoring neighbors keeping us awake. We left in between meals so we were glad when we boarded our last bus to have a meal service. Nothing like coffee cream cookies, soy milk and water to satiate for the duration. I did manage to score us some banana bread and bean paste dumplings to help (the dumplings are a lot better than they sound). We got into Bangkok airport about 5:30 this morning and hung out to watch the sun rise over the airport. We are now getting some brekkie and coffee before finding a corner to curl up in for an hour or six.
See you on the flip side

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