Day 83 : Friendship

8 October 2010

Vang Veng to Khon Kaen

It was a pleasure to meet Somsuk, a very friendly and helpful guy, at the appropriately named friendship bridge. The crossing into Thailand seemed to go very smoothly. The only disappointment was the underwhelming switch from right to left hand drive. Steve had been eagerly awaiting the “scalextric” style crossover point but in the end was just like crossing the road! The bridge itself was impressive with views over the Mekong.

The quick border crossing meant we had time for lunch in the nearby Nong Khai. The crew had been holding off for their first Pad Thai until getting to Thailand, and it was delicious! This is one of the most popular destinations of northeast Thailand branching out along the Mekong with Temples and one of Thailand’s most enigmatic attractions, the Sala Kaew Ku sculpture park.

Laos was great and we miss it! Only a few hours into the drive and there seem to me many changes already. We don’t have the spectacular mountain views but route 2 is a decent quality dual carriageway. The view are still great and it’s a pleasure to be on board Martha!

Friendly Thai’s waving us into Khon Kaen, spoke little English but happy to try and chat. We stopped to check directions and two locals were charmed by Paul and keen to help, jumping onto their scooter and escorting us to our destination.

It had been a long day on the road and Steve had to do the final stint after dark! We took a short walk through town to the night market for dinner, and second Pad Thai of the day! We weren’t expecting much of the town as it was just a stopping point on the way to Khao Yai national park tomorrow. It exceeded our expectation and really nice to meet some of the locals, enjoyable experience being the only westerners in town!

High point: A very smooth and efficient border crossing into Thailand, country number 20.

No Point: Paul panicking when he lost his charger

Lesson of the day: Don’t leave your bag in the fire engine overnight during a storm.   Being woken by the local wildlife at 5am to find “the storm” of yesterday had saturated my entire backpack which had been left in the Fire Engine!!

Question of the day: Why is the crossing called the “friendship” bridge?

Joke of the day: What’s orange and sounds like a Parrot?


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