Over the bridge to Laos

Trip Start Aug 30, 2012
Trip End Mar 21, 2013

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wake up with the alarm at 05:45 and eat breakfast before checking pasperwork for the last time. 
Leave on bike for Phon THong just before 7:00.  When we are dropping off the bike I notice the numberplates on a couple of cars parked at their house.  Continuing the theme of easy to remember numbers, the plates were '1111' and '1234'.
We have to walk across town to the bus station with three Mukdahan bound buses passing us as we walked and not one of them would stop for us.  We dont have to wait very long though and we soon leaving aboard the 7:55 departure and arriving at Mukdahan at 9:45.  We have always had problems getting a bus back from here at a convenient time but I notice a new noticeboard advertising the company wegave come with, Pink Bus, that gives their daily schedule and they have a couple of buses that will suit us fine tomorrow.
We buy tickets and board the Internationalk Bus that departs at 10:30 and have no problems clearing Thai immigration before crossing the bridge over the Mekhong that joins Thailand to Laos here.  The border on both sides of the river is quiet but upon clearing Laos immigration we find that the bus has not waited for us again.  It takes me a few minutes longer than anyone else to get my visa processed by Laos officials and this is the second time the bus has left us stranded at the border. 
Along with another English guy in the same position we take a taxi into town and to the Nong Soda Guest House where German John had stayed last week.  The main guest house building is full and the rooms that they show us in the courtyard are horrible so we dont stay.  We walk to the Savanbanhao Guest House where we stayed last time and check in to a second class room - first class is already full here as well.  We settle in for while and it is good to get shoes off.
Out to get some lunch and go for a short walk before returning to the room early afternoon as it getting a bit hot.
Later I leaveJai sleeping in front of the TV with the aircon blaring and go out for awalk on my own.  Directly opposite the guest house a young lad buzzes me on his motorbike.  He is wearing an "I love America because I love peace' T-shirt.  Perhaps he should pay more attention to the his (own country) history lessons in future.  Just along the road an ugly concrete block of a building has been erected since our last visit and proclaims to be an Evangelical Church - they have got here as well now.  They wont allow me inside so perhaps they need to check on the meaning of evangelical ?  A few metres further is the pretty St Theresas Catholic church standing as a strak comparison of what a building can look like.  I walk down to the Mekhong and follow it for a while past the ferry terminal and to the Thai Consulate.  I thought that I should make a note of where this is in case I need to come here for a visa at some time in the future.  It is good to see that some of the old French Colonial style buildings are being restored in the old town.  This, along with a number of new builds going up and a far greater number of cars on the roads indicates that Savannakhet is doing alright for itself.  I buy myself a BeerLao and return to the guest house where I sit outside on the rooftop terrace with a ccol breeze and savour my beer.  I dont often say this but at times like this I feel really fortunate.
Backto the room finding Jai hasnt moved much since I left.
Go out at 16
;30 and trek down to the river again where we stop for a beer at a raft restaurant floating on the Mekhong and watch the sun set over Thailand opposite.  Walking back into town we take a couple of Pate, loose meat and salad baguettes back to the room with us.
About an hour later I go back out on my own again meaning to stop for another beer somewhere.  The fact I havent been drinking since the new year hhits home though and I realise that two beers is probably enough as we will be travelling again tomorrow so I end up with another baguette and a cup of coffee.
Buy a bottle of water then back to the room about 20:00 feeling pretty tired.
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