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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BEAR NOODLES OR LINES DEVELOP?

GOOGLE TRANSLATE

"Bear noodle or lines develop?"  The waitress asked me on her phone.  Taking a wild guess at it, I went with making small motions.  She smiled and nodded.  Got small noodles.  I've no idea what is going on with google translate but it doesn't seem to like Thai.

The restaurants were pretty much the only thing I really didn't like about the town of Khon Kaen.  Sure, Thai food is in my top ten but after a couple weeks solid of eating it I really wanted some variety.

The hotel room was lovely and large with a non-Narnia (or dead hooker) wardrobe.

It didn't look as cool as this because Asian creativity seems to be reserved for historical times or I'm staying in places that simply can't afford it.  And there were no children creeping around.  Or goat legged freaks.

The wifi was good at the hotel until about three or four AM when some idiot would turn it off.  Till I went down and convinced them it did not need to 'rest' and the amount of electricity they would save for having it off a couple hours was negligible.

The town itself was OK and I did spend a decent amount of time wandering it.

After a couple weeks there I was ready to go somewhere else.

Because the town is not on the 'tourist trail', that means I got to travel on a series of buses and such like a local.  Cheaper, slower and more crowded.  (See 'costs' section below.)

Eventually we reached the border where a dirty scruffy guy attached himself to me saying I would need his help.  Turns out I did.

The border is poorly organized with the place you need to buy your visa stamp inexplicably far away from the place you get your stamp.  I've no idea why they do this as it is illogical and frustrating.  Also, the building is fairly innocuous and unlabeled.  Maybe they just want a reason for the dirty scam artists to be employed.

But yet...

Soon enough he started in on wanting to get me transport.  Forty dollars.  Oh yes, he was the driver.  Yes, it was a normal taxi.  You would be sharing the vehicle with two other tourists.  All lies, of course.  After I told him I wouldn't be needing transport the price dropped by half.  Note, this is pretty close to the regular price.   Because it was so late in the day (we'd end up arriving at midnight) I went along with it.

The vehicle and company oddly ended up better than advertised.  I was going with a Russian tour guide named 'Oscar' (harder 'ar' on the end than the USA pronunciation) who was getting his ride for free as his company often rented the van.  Just the driver, Oscar and I.  We had an enjoyable conversation and decided to pay a visit to the Mexican restaurant Viva before the kitchen closed.

Over my objections Oscar paid for the food.  I was suppose to hear from him over Facebook and get the next meal but I suspect he got busy.  Some other time.

And now I'm back in Siem Reap.  I'd picked up the extendable 'ordinary' visa rather than the normal tourist visa.  We'll see how I feel about staying here after a month has passed.  If I can tough it out, I may stay a second month to avoid travel during Christmas/New Year.  Bad time to travel if you don't have to.

There's not a whole lot going on worth blogging about right now.  I'm back to having a choice of food and the staff of Viva has taken to tempting me with margaritas.  Oh, the evil.



COSTS

Taxi from the hotel to the bus station, 70 baht
Bus to Kolat, 120 baht
Bus from Kolat to near the border, 155 baht
Crossing the border, 100 baht in a 'tip' to a guy who lied about everything but did help out.
Private vehicle to Siem Reap, $20

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan | Portugal: Faro

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