Back to Thailand

We broke the ride to Savannakhet into two days, with a stop the first day in Tha Khaek. Although the ride along the Mekong was pleasant enough, from a tourist perspective, neither Tha Khaek nor Savannakhet had much to recommend them. It is not that either were bad places, it just seemed as though they had little invested in terms of effort to make them more inviting. Both towns function more or less as a place for tourists in transit crossing from Thailand enroute to Viet Nam. Outside of a few military types traveling in vehicles with US government plates and trying desperately to look civilian the hotel we chose was empty.

The crossing at Savannakhet was over what is known as the Friendship Bridge II. We were told that motorcycles were not allowed and that we would have to hire a truck and load our bikes in order to get across. We decided to go for it anyway and just plead that they were too heavy to load into a truck (not so far from the truth). It is hard to understand these rules anyway on roads like this that have almost no traffic. This bridge had right hand traffic on the Lao side, and switched to left hand at mid-bridge. After we got through the immigration and customs on the Lao side someone whistled at us to try and get us to pull over, but we ignored him and pressed on. Thai immigration told us the Laotian officials had called and said we had forgotten to leave them a copy of one of the documents. The woman at Thai customs graciously offered to take it and hand it over to the people on the Lao side.

I think that you know that you are starved for visual stimulation when the only thing you find worthy of photographing during the course of the day is the sign at left. You have to admit though that it is thoroughly informative. Not only does it signify this as a facility for men, it also demonstrates proper technique. At right is an evening shot of the Wat at Lak Meuang in Khon Kaen. Khon Kaen is a university town that is equally famous for its nightlife. It is roughly an hour and a half south of Vientiane, and it had only taken us three days to get there. Bangkok was roughly five to six hours from here, so we got an early start and by 9:00 we had ticked off a good part of that. That is about when we threw the chain off of my bike. It was the cheap connector link that had given out, and after about an hour of unloading, struggling to get the chain and our last connector link back on, and reloading, we were back on our way to our third visit to Bangkok in three months.