The second, and less used (less scenic) route into Laos from Thailand goes via the sleepy border town of Chong Mek. The overnight train from Bangkok rattled enough for a good prep-start. And i was shaking off old thoughts, breathing differently, looking forward to new sights.
Thanks to the new Airport railway system linking to the local MRT, it had been a smooth, sequestered, short, journey right up to Hua Lumphong train station. Disclaimer: a bit of the ‘link’ is a walk down broken stones, under monster flyovers and across beeping traffic. Which was my first lesson in remembering not all of the world is aircon-linked and corridored as in Singapore. Certainly not the rest of SEA.
A taxi-ride to Ubon Ratchathani’s bus station, and 1-hour bus-ride later, we were getting our passports stamped out of Thailand by noon. Past the invisible line into Laos is what looked like nothing. To my city eye, the lack of signs was disorienting. We walked on trying not to look too clueless, secure only in the presence of a couple equally unsure tourists. It was a good 400m before this sign popped up.
We clambered onboard, only to wait another 20minutes for miscellany grocery-shopping to be completed. A lil girl beside us kept dropping her fishballs on the floor. Picked them back up, and nibbled on it. Her mom helped her scoop it up from under the seat.
Which is how travel works. Your brain gets a refresher course on the world. Your world goes loose for a while.
I’m coming back extra excited for this new year.