1. Bangkok – Laos

Goodbye semester!
beautiful mural found when I was walking from Union Mall to Chatuchak (on my last day)
I landed in Bangkok and took the BTS, making my way to Makkasan > Hua Lamphong Station. Bangkok was a familiar place and didn’t trigger any anxiety. I packed light (40 litres!), so light I felt it was like a usual school day, except this was for one week. 
Upon reaching Hua Lamphong station, I followed the directional signs and made my way to the rail station. Asked where I could get tickets to Nong Khai, and was directed to the Ticket Office for Foreigners. Wow, a ticket office set up for foreigners! No thanks. I queued behind a lady at the counter and asked for the 8pm train to Nong Khai, which I’d read about. Hurray! 
Then I walked to Chinatown. 

Here I ate my lunch / very early dinner. It was about 4pm, and it seems like Chinatown is known for seafood perhaps? There were ethnic Chinese and Thais here, and some shops were selling ‘shark’s fin’ hmmmm. I missed doing fieldwork, I thought as I walked around. It would be nice if I’m armed with a clipboard of questions to ask them about how this place, Chinatown, fits in within Thailand. Or their languages, their heritage… 
I saw a plate of noodles that looked moderately delicious, pointed to it and sat down to eat. As she was preparing the food the rain suddenly came, heavy drops that started pelting from nowhere, harder with every second, the surroundings rising to a roar with their merciless downpour. It was interesting to see how these tiny shop / stalls stretched out their umbrella-like shelters and I continued eating. 
Then, as suddenly as it came, the rain stopped. Stall holders poured away the rainwater and rolled up the waterproof shelters, and the streets were busy again. 

the sun started to set, and i continued walking 

here, i bought my dinner – mango sticky rice

i was excited to board my accommodation for the night:

At about 755pm a man comes to set up the bed, wrapping it with fresh sheets. The boring brown bed changes into an appealing the place to snuggle under the blanket and catch a good night’s sleep. Plus, there’s air con – all for 688 baht. $27.50 

I eat my mango sticky rice, continue my Kafka by the Shore and its bizarre dialogue with cats, and eventually fall asleep.
Good morning Nong Khai! One of the Thai borders near Laos, many foreigners do their visa runs here. I bought my ticket to Vientiane, and waited.


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