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Second Isaan Pics

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I have uploaded the second set of pictures from my trip to Isaan. This set contains a few pictures of a temple in Khon Kaen and a bunch of pics from Nong Khai province at the very northern part of Isaan on the Lao border.

You can view these pics (along with the one I uploaded a few days ago) in the Pictures of Nong Khai, Thailand Photo Album.

An Old Friend

No, I'm not referring to a person as my old friend, I'm referring to Vietianne, Laos. I just arrived here over the Friendship Bridge from Thailand. It was a little bit of a hassle with no clear direction on how to actually accomplish the border crossing, but I am here successfully in any case (just a little dirty and sweaty and tired from the experience).

First, I had hoped to ride my rented motorbike across the bridge. But no, that is not allowed. So I had to park it at the immigration station (I hope it's still there when I return!) and take a bus across the bridge instead. Luckily it was only 10 baht (US$0.25). Then, after buying an on-arrival visa in Laos, I wandered around the parking lot trying to figure out how to make the 20 KM trip to Vietiane without my motorbike and without paying an outrageous tuk-tuk charge. Eventually I found a local bus and arrived 30 minutes later and another 10 baht poorer. Not too bad.

This morning, before my border crossing adventure, I took my motorbike to Si Chiang Mai, a small village on the Mekong directly across from Vietiane. The reason I went to the villiage is because the Lonely Planet said that it was one of the world's leading producers of spring roll wrappers. Of course, typical of the lousy LP information on Isaan, in order to find the drying paper that was "all over town", I had to drive out to another village 5 KM away. But I saw them!

The raod trip to Si Chiang Mai was fairly interesting. On the way there, I drove along the Mekong and found out that the whole way from Nong Khai to Si Chiang Mai was planted in... not rice but tobacco (!) Laborers were out in the fields picking the tobacco by hand and setting it by the side of the road to dry. On the way back I took the highway, where every 500 yards or so there was a huge sculputured topiary: dolphins diving over the street, nagas poised to strike, children dancing, and of course a lot of elephants.

My suntan lotion failed me again though. My arms have gone from a nice brown to a slightly painful redish-brown again. I think I will set a personal record for darkest skin color after this trip. I am sure my students will have something to say about that when classes resume on Wednesday.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Nong Khai category.

Khorat is the previous category.

Ubon is the next category.

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