Leaving for Laos

Trip Start Sep 24, 2006
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Friday, February 9, 2007

Well I am back in Bangkok, arrived yesterday morning on the overnight train from Chiang Mai, as I could not reach the Vietnam Embassy to get my passport and visa sent to me in CM. They didn't answer emails or phone calls so I had to make the 14 hour trip to pick it up!  And it was urgent as my 30 day visa has now expired and I am illegal as of yesterday.  I will be fined at the border when I leave Thailand, probably in the middle of the night tonight as I am on the overnight train (no sleeper, all booked!!) to Nong Khai on the Thai/Laos border, just over the Friendship bridge from Vientiane, Laos.  I am now frantically trying to get accommodation there and have to dash to the train station soon for my 8:45 p.m. departure. I did go to Immigration today and asked them what I should do and they said just pay the fine at the border - it's more expensive and more hassle to do it here.   And I have to get 35 US to pay for my Laos visa at their border - guidebook says it is more expensive paying in Thai Baht!!
The Buddhist Meditation retreat was amazing and they were taking pictures of the group of 19 of us, we had to wear white tops and Thai pants the whole time, and every meal had tofu but it was good.  Lots of meditation, chanting, silence.  We got to talk to the monks training us and they were as candid as they could be in their responses.
Coincidentally, Anita had to travel to Bangkok at the same time as me, and although we couldn't get the same trains, we did share accommodation again at the good old Bangkok Christian Brothers Guesthouse which really does feel homey. Just heard some people from Halifax talking...  Anyway, Anita travelled today to Ko Chang, an island, for two weeks before she heads to Australia for 4 months, and we may be able to have another visit if our paths cross there. Sure was great to have a 'sympatico' travelling companion!
This aft I went to the movie 'Dreamgirls' about the Supremes, and which has been running as a play on Broadway. It was terrific but you could sure tell it was a stage production and still felt like one.  But good entertainment and Beyonce Knowles did a fine job of acting, as well as singing, but a new singer, last name  Hudson, really stole the show.
Gotta run, still hot here, C-M a lot cooler.
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