|On the Thailand side of the Friendship Bridge, after dealing with Thai customs and immigration, we jumped in a tuk-tuk and moved to the train station. We bought a 2nd class sleeper train ticket from Nong Khai to Thailand. We spent the 4 hour wait for the train sleeping on the grass outside the train station.
The train ride, which took us from Tuesday, February 6th, day 219 of our adventure, into Wednesday, February 7th, day 220 of our adventure, was actually really nice. We each had our own sleeper bed and the 12 hour ride flew by. It's fun to sleep on a train. The rocking motion really affects your dreams. Every once and a while, an unusually hard jar or jolt, would awake us. This would cause us to look out the open window at our side. Sprawled out before us was the vast plain of North-Eastern Thailand. Dotting the landscape were blazing, orange fires. What they were buring, and why, was undeterminable, but the effect it created, combined with the blood red sky overhead created a dreamlike effect. Or was it actually a dream itself?
As the train pulled into Bangkok, at 6:00 A.M., we were able to reflect on the last month of our journey. One month ago to the day, we left Bangkok, armed with traveling gear and our visas, and really just a rough idea and desire to travel overland through Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, before returning to Bangkok. We really had no idea what to expect or how we would accomplish our goal. We just set out into the wild unknown, willing to let the cards fall where they may. What an awesome ride it was!
We were able to see arguably the most fantastic ruins in the world, at Angkor Wat. We interacted with the warm, genuine people of Cambodia and experienced first hand some of the toughest land travel anywhere in the world. Once in Vietnam, our preconceived notions of that country, heavily weighed by the consiousness of war, were smashed as we found Vietnam to be a beautiful, cultured and cordial empire. We endured a week long flu, and literally forced our way into and through Laos over terrain that rarely, if ever, sees Western travelers. The sense of amazement and awe our presense brought to the villagers of Kham Net, will never be forgotten.
As we moved from the train into a tuk-tuk and worked our way back to The Bossotel Inn, we were filled with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. It was only one month of our life, but so much was packed into that one month. It was amazing. Maybe that is the way life is supposed to be -- always moving, always experiencing, always appreciating each moment as if it were your last.
We spent the rest of the day looking around for a place to get our visas for Nepal and India. There is no rest for the intreped traveler. You always have to be looking ahead.
After much hassle and headache, we gave up on getting our visas for Nepal and India in Bangkok. We could have done it, but it would have taken 9 working days. We are scheduled to fly out of Bangkok, to Nepal, on Feburary 16th, so that wasn't going to work. We found out that we can get a visa for Nepal at Kathmandu Airport and we can get a visa for India in Kathmandu, so we decided to go that route.
Thursday, February 8th, day 221 of our adventure, we explored the Siam Square section of Bangkok. We ended up going to see the new Denzel Washington movie, Remember the Titans, and we both highly recommend it. They have a unique custom in Thailand. (At least it is unique to us.) Before every movie, the Thailand National Athem is played and the screen reads, "Please stand to honor our King", so the entire audience stands until the anthem is over and then the movie can begin.
After an awesome hour long foot massage, we crashed back at The Boss.
Friday, February 9th, day 222 of our adventure, Lisa went into Central Bangkok to do some shopping, where she bought a large silver buddha, while Joel worked on the website. Once we got back together we did some airline ticket shopping. We ended up getting a return ticket to Hong Kong for $150.00 U.S. each. We figured we needed to add a little Far-East action to the adventure before we move on to the Sub-Continent.
Saturday, February 10th, day 223 of the adventure, after stashing most of our gear at the Bangkok airport in storage, we jumped on a big jet plane for Hong Kong.
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|Thailand (February 6th, 2001 to February 10th, 2001)|