|Please forgive the typos! I'm also having trouble getting photos to load. Ok, last time I was online I had made it to Phuket. Got jipped on my cab ride from the airport because I didn't read Steve's email. BTW, if you are getting spam from me, I think our emails were compromised because Steve's is sending it out to. Phuket was like Matamoros when I was in high school. Dirty, everyone wants to sell you something and try and get your money. We found some pretty decent places to eat. One place in particular had some great Tom Yam soup. Had some good food at the night markets too. Deep fried bacon! We made our way to the first hotel and it was pretty decent. The second night we moved to another hotel. Really bad move, or so I thought. The room was closed off and kinda dingy. I went downstairs and complained, and was moved to the penthouse on the roof with my own private patio overlooking the city. Phuket was not a place I would go back to. It's a giant raging party 24-7. It was still fun though.
I bought another ticket so I could go straight to Udon Thani from Phuket. Took a cab from Udon Thani to Nong Khai at the Laotian border. We got to our guesthouse, Mut Mee. It was awesome! Northern Thailand is the place to be. Super mellow, no high pressure sales and everyone is genuinely friendly. A lot cheaper too! We changed plans and stayed another night we liked it so much. Our place was on the Mekong river. I had a 10 by 10 room, a mosquito net, no AC, and a shared bath. It was my favorite part of the trip so far. Steve and I rented motorbikes and off we went. We rode out to the countryside which was amazing. We rode through random neighborhoods and got a lot of stares. Some folks walked out of their homes and offered us beers. Very hospitable people compared to the South. We probably logged 200 kilometers on those things and no accidents. I can't emphasize enough how bad the driving is here. Every man for himself.
We met some incredible people from all over the place. Pete from England is an ex-pat who owns a bar on the shore of the Mekong. Very cool old guy. We met some people from Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Canada and I even crossed paths with an ex-pat from Seattle whose band played at the Continental Club in Austin 25 years ago. Small world! We had some great food on our last night in Nong Khai. We basically just sampled everything, including deboned chicken foot salad. Had an elephant walk up to the restaraunt and play a harmonica.
We left for Laos this morning and Im at an internet cafe here now. Payed a little extra for tonights hotel, but it's very nice. Very French! We're gonna wander around town and hopefully get to our cooking class tomorrow. It's the chefs day off so we don't know if we'll be able to do it. All is good though. We have another day in Laos, the back to Udon Thani for a day and then Vietnam.