Thailand / Laos Part VIII: Nong Khai

20 Feb

Not much to say here. I was still recovering from illness so we checked in and I pretty much spent the day sleeping since I hadn’t the night before. I managed to get some plain brown rice into me that night, and called it a day.

As you can see, the place where we stayed was pretty cozy. A nice cabin-like room with a veranda overlooking the Mekong River. A great way to spend an afternoon if you can’t do much else. The room itself was pretty basic, but had a bed covered by mosquito net. Bliss. I also loved the bathroom.

After a very long sleep I woke at daybreak the next day to have a walk around and take a few photos before breakfast.

Still a bit weak but considerably better, we decided to visit what was considered to be one of Nong Khai’s only sites (other than the riverside.) Mut Mee is a large park built by a Laotian who had fled his country, and the start of a similar project he had been building there. For twenty years he had laboured to build Mut Mee in Thailand, a strange garden of deity sculptures. As you walk through, you can’t help but feel you’ve fallen into some drifter’s strange dream.

Once again, Maria was a celebrity with local school kids.

Our driver studies English phrases while he waits.

We asked our driver to drop us off in town, where we had coffee and floated through the market there. Pretty standard market fare, with the localized exceptions, of course. As we wandered out onto a main street and passed a salon, I remembered that I’d been wanting to get my hair cut for a few days. The women inside didn’t look very busy, and they said they’d cut men’s hair, so Maria decided to get a manicure while I got my hair cut.

Whenever I have walked into a random salon to get my hair cut, there’s always some group of women around and of course, the one I usually get seems to be the older one who wants to ask all the details of my life. As she’s cutting my hair, I’m looking at all the pretty other stylists who aren’t cutting my hair. Well today was my day. Today I got the pretty one. She couldn’t speak a lick of English and we had to communicate through her co-worker, but I won’t deny that I had realized that I had finally gotten the pretty stylist.

Behind me, Maria was soaking her nails for her manicure, and I watched in the mirror. She didn’t look very excited. I waited until later to ask her what was what, and it turns out that she hadn’t been very happy with the job they’d done. Shortly after we’d arrived at the salon, a local woman had wandered in and wanted the full shebang. The women in the room then rushed to finish everything so they could tend to her, hastily finishing Maria’s nails before, it seemed, they’d even started. She was in and out in less than half the time it took for me to get my hair cut. Which really wasn’t long.

“Worst manicure ever!” She told me after. Ah, our first world problems. 🙂

As we lazed on the veranda we had a visitor who wished to share the couch.

I hadn’t been too ambitious about food that day either, but managed to eat a few small things. We were planning a departure by train early the next morning, headed to Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat,) where we would then switch to a bus and head east to Nang Rong. Outside of Nang Rong was a large Khmer temple built facing Angkor Wat. Since we weren’t going to make it to Cambodia on this trip, we definitely wanted to see Phanom Rung.

We enjoyed a fantastic dinner that night in a restaurant that was moored on the River, my first real meal in two days.

In the morning we had woken before sunrise to get to the train station for an early train, only to find it was late. As we waited out the chilly daybreak, we were reminded of India, where we had done a similar thing for a train that had ended up being delayed by seven hours. Thankfully, things were considerably different on this day. The weather was a little warmer, there was far less of a sketch-factor, and the train was only delayed an hour.

Next: Thailand / Laos Part IX: Nang Rong and Phanom Rung

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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Life Abroad


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