18 June 2007

Udon Thani 2

I went back over the border to Thailand on the bus on Friday. The bus was worse than any bus I’ve traveled in at home and sweat was pouring off me because it was over 30 degrees inside, but it really wasn’t that bad and it left on time. The purpose of this trip was a visa run/ holiday for A and I was just tagging along for the trip to the airport. This time when I reached Thailand I think I may have experienced culture shock. The tuk- tuk drivers run alongside the bus with one hand on it as it pulls in to the bay and crowd around people exiting the bus. This just wouldn’t happen in Lao! The tuk tuks in Thailand are so shiny and new. I heard the few taxis in Lao are retired taxis from Thailand. I suspect the tuk- tuks are the same. Luckily it was a short walk to the hotel. That night we went for some all you can eat shabu- shabu and walked around the shops.

A left early the next day and I made a mission to the orchid farm. I was the only visitor to this farm and was given a tour. There are some dancing plants there that move to music. It is just the small baby leaves that move. They didn’t move when I was talking really close to them. I did see some leaves move, in a circular motion, maybe to the background music. I did ask whether I could have a walk around the orchid farm by myself because to look at the orchids more closely but the girl didn’t let me.

I went to the shopping centre and did most of my shopping at department store Robinsons. I bought some shoes more appropriate for walking and a blender. There are some well priced nice clothes there but they are not modest enough for everyday wear in Lao. I missed the first bus I wanted to catch back to Vientiane because I lined up 45 minutes too early and thought it had sold out already. You have to go to the ticket booth one hour before the bus departs. There was a lot of pushing to get to the ticket booth initially, but eventually a line did form and I was happy to get a ticket. Just so I remember, buses from Udon Thani to Vientiane are at 8am, 10am, 11:30am, 2pm, 4pm, and 6pm. You need visa for Laos to get on that bus. The bus returning to Vientiane was much better than the one I caught to Udon. Bigger, more air conditioned and for some reason it took only 1.5 hours – half an hour quicker. They did have more people in the aisles though, and more shopping. I still can’t work out why anyone would bring 4 bags of 5 mini watermelons from Thailand to Laos. I don’t know why they bring back rambutans and bitter gourds either.

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