|We left the Green Leaf Guest House in just outside Pak Chong at 11.30pm last night, they kindly gave us a lift to the railway station, to get our train to Nong Khai. The station was fairly deserted as you would expect at that time of night, when the train arrived about 5 minutes late at 12.06am, we climbed aboard. We were greeted by the official who was in charge of our carriage. He pointed out where we were to sleep, and we duly got straight into bed. The whole carriage was a row of beds, two stories high on both sides of the carriage with the gangway down the centre. The only privacy you were afforded was a blue curtain that pulled across the side of your bed. I was in the top bunk and Angie was in the bottom bunk, as per usual on this trip she got the better of the deal again. The bottom bunk had the window to the outside world, whereas I was imprisoned by the carriage ceiling, wall and my blue curtain, it was certainly claustrophobic up there. My plight was further hampered by the fact the carriage light was only a couple of feet from my face and was left on full all night, why they werent dimmed I have no idea. I quickly fell asleep and slept well considering, until about 6am when all the other passengers began rousing, getting out off their bunks, chatting and going to then end of the carriage to wash. They had been on the train since before 10pm the previous evening and were obviously fed up of their cocoon like existence. The chances of a return to sleep were further minimised, when the official in charge of the carriage went along, turning the early risers bunks back into seats, a very impressive job, but also a very noisey one. When I got up the man said I should go back to bed as I had only got on the train at Pak Chong, not waiting to be told twice after a quick toilet visit I returned to bed. The toilets on the train were interesting, they just looked straight down on the tracks below. We eventually got up at 8am and the man quickly sorted out our beds to seats and we spent the next 35 minutes gazing out the window, wishing Nong Khai station would soon appear. We arrived at thew station and departed the train with quite a few westerners that shared our carriage, although most of them were going straight to Laos. We found a tuk tuk to take us to the Mut Mee guest house. What a nice place it is, by the side of the Mekon, with a lovely bar/garden, a floating bar and a boat that cruises the river each night. We checked in and discovered we had been allocated the best room in the place because I had booked, so far in advance, last September to be precise. Our room is on the ground floor of the owners house and has its own balcony. The bathroom has a shower over pebbles, very rustic. We arrived in time for breakfast, which consisted of porridge with banana, very nice. This afternoon we hired bikes and cycled about 3 miles to a park which contains loads of concrete statues of buddhas and hindu gods. We got lost a couple of times on the but so local motorcyclists saw we didnt know where we were going and put us on the right track, unlike Bangkok, where they would tell us it was shut. When we had finished looking around the park, we cycled back in the scorching early afternoon sun, stopping for lunch at a restaurant on the way back. I ordered a lovely dish of chicken, dried chillies and cashew nuts, very tastey, the only problem being Angie messed up with her order and got something she didnt like so I had to eat that and she had the chicken and cashew nuts.
We got back to the guest house and chilled on our balcony, until it was time to take the sunset cruise down the river on a large boat owned by the Mut Mee. It was a pleasant cruise, although the price of the trip increased because there were only 6 of us on it and they dont normally run it for less than ten. We traveled up the Mekon as far as the Friendship Bridge, which seperates Laos from Thailand, which we will be crossing tomorrow. The trip lasted an hour and then it was time for dinner, which we had in the garden bar sat next to the Mekon, on a warm summer night, a very pleasant way to end an enjoyable day.
Tomorrow we leave Thailand and head to Laos, which is supposed to be one of the most laid back places on earth, so we are both looking for that. Our early disappointment with Thailand following our visit to Bangkok, where we were underwhelmed with the food and fed up with some of the people, has now been forgotten, thanks to the wonderful times, great food and friendly people we have experienced in Pak Chong at the Green Leaf guest house and here in Nong Khai and the Mut Mee. So we leave Thailand with smiles on our faces and thoughts that one day we will be back to explore more of the country, outside of Bangkok.