Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Long Ago, Far Away

Today I crossed a river and a border to get more Thai time. I planned to stay a few hours in Laos, at least long enough to have lunch in the town I've looked at from the other side of the Mekong for almost a week. But the minute I got off the bus, I was hit by the smell of dried squid, which seemed odd, since Laos is a landlocked nation.

Following my nose, I found this
which up close looks like this. Strips of fish? Pig? Buffalo? I say it's ugly and I said the hell with it. I bought a ticket to return on the same bus I came in on, for a grand total of thirty minutes in Laos. Go ahead, take away my traveler's status. I'm not going to care.

I like my morning coffee and my silent wanderings in Nakhon Phanom, staring at buildings and looking for my next meal. I was ravenous after my rapid foray into unknown territory and found this
where I had a remarkable lunch of fish lahb and mango salad, which had everything from squid to nuts. It's right next to a joint called Classic that has photos of hamburgers and pizza. I ask you--where would you eat? Yeah, me too.

The clouds are gathering and I think another riverboat ride would be a very good way to begin (and probably end) my evening. I did that last night and avoided spider bites by sitting on the upper deck. The light was different from the one that I saw on my first trip and it probably will be again tonight. It's my Nakhon Phanom Happy Hour, complete with a can of Beerlao.

It's hard to think of a reason to leave, especially since I have yet to go to the National Library, or Ho Chi Minh's house (in a Vietnamese village five kilometers away), or to the Blue House Cafe to hear Isaan music, or to give a floral offering to the giant bodhi tree that I took snapshots of when I first got here. Besides, Bangkok is so far away from this place that I'm not sure I'll ever find my way back.

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