Originally, I'd wanted to travel to Vientienne by first going back to Bangkok then catching an express train. However, Mr. K saw what looked like a quicker route on the map by heading north and exiting Cambodia through a no-horse town on the border. We passed through immigration quick enough seeinhs the place was a ghost town, but because this is a rarely if ever used route from Cambodia to Laos through Thailand, there were no hoardes of touts to meet us on the other side, pulling and pushing us this a'way and that a'way towards a taxi or even a tuk-tuk. We ended up spending a couple of hours at a petrol station where two plumply Thai women watched soap operas and scarfed down pork rinds.
I am grateful I was with me, with us. Realizing that no traffic passed through this junction--ever-- except for the odd rice farmer and stray water buffalo, I went into action. Nobody in our party of three had any Thai baht. But I did have a Ben Franklin and since he was and remains one famous statesman slash inventor slash horn dog, he's exchangeable the world over. I asked the chubby soap fans if they'd exchange my Ben Franklin for 28 baht on the dollar. The rate is closer to 29.5. They stood to make about six bucks, so sure, why not?
Suddenly, we had local monies. Next, we needed a ride.
I walked to the petrol pumps where a Thai-ess was trying to keep the flies out of her noodles, and I asked if she knew anyone who would drive us to the nearest bus station some 130 kilometers down the road a piece. S'happens, here brother has a truck and he had the afternoon off. She made a phone call, and five minutes later, K., Sara and I along with our gear were stacked in the back of the pick up and we were on our way to something resembling civilization. That reminds me--my companions owe me four dollars fitty cent a piece.We sat in the first bus station three hours. The next five hours. Eventually, we puddled jumped bus stops all night long arriving in Laos around 10 this morning. Sleepless, hungry and stanky. K. said next time, he's going to BKK and taking the exspress train to lLaos. I almost told him, "I told you so," but he's a sharp feller and it didnt need to be said. His phrasing of "Next tme" indicated contrition.
This morning we scouted around town to rent our cross country bikes.
I found a single cylinder, four stroke Yamama TW 200 ccm. The clutch is a bit sticky and the throttle is too hyperactive, so it tend to rocket on take offs, but the brakes are fine and the new tires will take mountain turns well.
I haven't snapped a photo, but natch went to Google images and found one, the bike I'm taking, same color even.
There are helmet laws in Laos which is a good thing because I have 'nother reason to come home safely now to the lovely missus Oliver and our 7 felines: I found the fifth and final season of "The Wire" in Bangkok! Omar has come out of his island paradise (despite its lack of Honeynuts) and despite a compound fracture he got leaping from an 8th floor window to elude an ambush, and now he has Marlo watching his back. Hated to see Prop Joe get touched. And McNulty has really done it this time inventing faux sexual serial killers who prey on homeless men, cases he's contrived for publicity trying to get a funding bump in the Marlo investigation budget. Bunk, his bestest bud, continues to be a mensch doing the police work properly. I'm trying to avoid spoilers, but I'm dying to know--because as much as she deserves it, I hope Snoop doesn't get got. Chris, on the other hand, needs to be got. Cold blooded mother fucker.