Saturday, December 23, 2006

It was supposed to be a long trip home !!!

Woke up 730am, dragged my hang over ass down to the reception and asked them to arrange for airport transfer.
So they asked me, what time your flight Sir ?
My flight is 10am, what time should I be there ?

Usually sir, you have to be there one hour, sir.... but you have to pay
How much ?
6 dollars sir.

How much in KIP ?
Sisty Thousand ... *smiles*
Ok , get it ready 845, thanks.


Dragged my freezing ass out of the hotel and went find something to eat for breakfast. As usual, I'd be walking along the Mekong. It is 745am, the temperature was about 17C and the sun was already happilly shining down on us. I found this little stall with an old woman, manning it, with her adolescent daughter ( looks like that ). What you have ? She said noodles. Ok.. Give me one noodles (thats how I said it). Top left is pigs blood, they have the pig fat crisps, pork and pieces of chicken, and one big bowl of taugeh. The noodles looks and feels like pho (viet noodles). It was a hot soupy dish and the weather was cold, I happilly chowed down the noodles. Its simple, but nice. USD$ 0.50 only.

With tummy filled up, and feeling warmer, I took a slow walk back to the hotel. This was to be my last minutes of looking at the Mekong River. Already planning to look for a nice secluded spot to get online at Suvarnabumi Airport in Bangkok and this time around, will try to makan the Triple Whoper Burger from Burger King. The last pic from Mekong River side, you see some ladies bringing vegetables, fish and meat outside of a hotel near mine.

I looked into the Mekong River one last time, the view is not much to savor, but there is that
respect for a great river such as this one. The other side of the River is the Nation of Thailand. From Ventianne, Thailand is just about 100 plus meters away. It is a very wide river considering this is the Ulu of the Mekong River. So went up to the room, packed up some lat minute stuff, locked up the bag, and went down to the reception.

I am checking out. Can you get the MiniBus ready? (referring to the MPV, my ride out of this place)
Ok, sir, 60,000 kip.
Handed her the money and collected the receipt.

One blur looking fella came and helped me with my baggage. And off we went.
The usual chat , small talk most of it began shortly after the car moved. These people drive 40kmh most of the time. They is no rush , and everywhere is but a short distance from each other. I took the opportunity to experience more sights and sounds of La
os, the last minute ones. You know, its like the feeling of , I wish I had more time, there is so much to see and eat, kinda feeling. 30 minutes later we arrived at Ventianne Friendship Bridge. I asked the driver, hey, Friendship Bridge and airport very near ka ? He said no. Why ? I told him, I wanted to go to the airport. One blur fragga made a mistake and it began to make my day a totally different one.

My day has begun.
They all have handphones, but they are not required to use hands free, I suppose, with the speed they drive at, they don't need handsfrees. He couldn't believe that he made a mistake and called the hotel to reconfirm. After he made that call he apologised profusely. He kept telling me, that I will make it on time to the airport. In mind I was like, ya rite, if we don't ? I am gonna cut your balls off and feed it to the dogs.

All hell broke loose. The driver, who happens to be the Genera
l Manager of the Hotel, I just found that out after he sent me to the wrong place, suddenly became the fastest driver in Ventianne. He started taking our vehicle to 80kmh. In my mind, ya man, its about time you drove like a man. He was zig zagging, honking at everyone and anyone who gets in his way. The tuk tuks are just bloody annoying, they hog the road and drive at 30kmh. You honk them they just pretend not to hear. So after going through the morning traffic and en route to the airport, the irony is, we drove past our hotel, and I sarcastically laughed and showed him the junction, turn off to the hotel. He laughed too. So the airport was indeed 10 minutes from the hotel, but he took me for a ride for 30 minutes and sent me to the wrong place. What a blur frag !!!

So after all the comotion he caused to the otherwise peaceful Ventianne City, we arrived at the Airport. There was no planes parked there. And I told m
yself, thats it la, no need to come home jo. Surprisingly I did not say anything out of the ordinary to him. We missed it, thats it, I am staying in Ventianne one more night. I am going to break his glasses then I am going to break his nose and I am going stick my fingers into his left nose hole, and pull out his nose hair one by one. At that time he could not stop apologizing, and he took a break from apologizing only to talk to the Thai Airways official in Ventianne. They spoke in Lao, so I did not understand. So a solution has been found. I was to change my connecting flight. Instead of Ventianne - Bkk - Kul, I will have to travel by car, go to Udon Thani airport in Thailand. Which means, I will have to go to the Friendship Bridge again cross the border. Board a Thai car, where a driver will be ready to send to Udon Thani to catch my connecting flight to Bangkok. So my itineary now changed liao, UTT- BKK - KUL. The cab ride from Laos border to Udon Thani will cost me an additional 800bahts. Of which the blur frag offered to pay half.

They was not much talk as we made our way back to The Friendship Bridge. The irony was that, when I arrived on Wednesday, it marked the opening of the Friendship Bridge. In my mind, it was just another link to Thailand, and hopefully it will be able to help the Laos economy improve. Now I get to use the bridge and cross it.

ARRIVAL at The Bridge

We got here, and he took care of my passport. This driver seems to know how to do this stuff. My passport was chopped and handed back to me, and we drove into the DMZ. Plenty of Duty Free Shops around here. Booze and Cigis man, plenty of it here. Must be cheap but we did not have time to look at it. It looks like a cowboy town and lots of crooks hang around here to take advantage of some people. The driver was already waiting, so without wasting much time we transfered. A quick transition from Left Hand Drive to Right Hand Drive. Off we went, goodbye Laos, Hello Thailand.


Nong Kai, is the name of the city we drove into. I have never heard of this city before today. So its a tourist attraction, Sayang said. One thing struck
me as we crossed the bridge. The Mekong is indeed a grand river. By now, the river is already a few kilometres wide. I can not imagine how big this river when it meets the sea. Second thing that greeted me was, a 3 lane highway, something I missed while I was in Ventianne. The difference is vast. I saw with my own eyes, kampung roads for the Capital city Ventiane (Laos) and three lane highway for a small city Nong Kai , in Thailand.

Arrival at Udon Thani Airport

We arrived at 1230, my flight was 1355. I checked in and we had lots of time to kill.
I was starving already by then. Went up to the cafeteria and ordered my Nescafe Ais (havent had that for ages) and Fried Kwai Teo. Not exactly Penang style, but it is Fried Kwai Teo. I managed to find some Fridge Magnets in this airport. So bought them for my boss.

Another delay happened, this connecting flight from Udon Thani to Bangkok was delayed. At 1355 the plane was nowhere to be found. Belum sampai. Numerous reasons about why this is happening started popping up in my head, terrorist attack ka? , maybe the pilot took the wrong route and landed in the wrong airport, or perhaps the headwinds were too strong, so the plane cant fly as fast, or maybe got traffic jam. It doesn't really matter isn't it ? Coz, its late and I have to make it to Bangkok before the plane flies to KL. Luckilly I found a little friend in the airport, who needed some attention. MiniDog was there to keep me company. Flight delayed for 1 hour.

Arrived at Suvarnabumi, decided to capture a few shots of this beautiful airport. Its one huge airport and a very busy one too. Again comparing this with KLIA, I must say, Bangkok built an airport because they needed one, not because they wanted to show off.

We arrived at 1555, while my flight to KUL was scheduled at 1640. As I got off the plane I rushed to the baggage claim area. Oh gosh, the size of this airport is really annoying. I practically ran out, on the walkalator, (winks at Faz), this time I
did not have the time to enjoy the wall paintings. While running, my phone beeped , a message arrived. Sayang reminding me of my flight at 1640. Ok.. I suddenly realized that I might not actually make it for the 1640 flight, because my bag is not out on the conveyor yet. No bags are out. Thank god, there was a customer service counter, and they knew exactly what they wanted me to do. Went out to the departure hall, to collect my Boarding Pass, paid Airport Tax, and I began running to the GATE. It was two floors up and I remembered how far the gates were. This time I had all three bags with me.... A bit far, but akhirnya sampai juga. Everyone was already seated, I was assigned aisle seats. Those 2 fellas were already sleeping, I bet they must have been on the plane for quite long liao. Phew !!!!

Its winter solstice festival for us chinese. Sayang got me home and mom greeted us with a big bowl of thong yuen each. I never fancied those stuff, but this year's Thong Yuen was extra special. I had gone through so much to be home just to reunite with family and have thong yuen together. In the end thats a happy face, we got home in time for thong yuen.