Leaving Chiang Rai, onward to Laos

IMG_6771We had our normal breakfast, a mishmosh of American and local fair. We hopped in our prearranged ride to the airport and we were off. By this time, we were the ultimate frequent flyers. 

We finally checked our bags, got a snazzy transfer sticker and made out way through immigration. We waited to board and it took forever.  We land safely in Bangkok and located the woman waiting for transfer people. We took a very long walk to the transfer office, then back through mini customs. We found our gate and had a delicious and predictable lunch at McDonald’s. There was a terrible lady refilling the sauces. She would not let anyone take any sauce until she had refilled all of the right dispensers. It was a logistical nightmare. People were waiting and lines were forming around all the tiny tables. But the wait was worth it. There was American and regular ketchup. They did taste slightly different but not enough to have both. There were, I think, two mustards, one mayo, and a Thai chili sauce (which makes everything better). Along with all of that, if you go for nuggets, which I did, they gave you this amazing hot BBQ sauce. McDonalds should definitely bring it to the United States. I really feel like it would do well in the American South. Also they should bring Thai Chili sauce too.IMG_6963

After eating, we walked to the gate. We entered a post-apocalyptic zone where children ruled the world. They had taken over. They were running around everywhere, playing on the moving walkway and running up and down the stairs and ramps. They had toy guns. One actually looked like a toy, teal blue and purple. The other was a straight up replica handgun; all black everything. It was strange to see in an airport, and the little kid that was carrying it was like a tiny six year old hipster. He had on skinny jeans with boots, suspenders over a wife beater, and you know the haircut he had. I don’t think I need to explain the haircut, you all know what I’m talking about.

Finally the doors opened to the waiting area. Did I not mention we were all in a double wide hallway waiting for the waiting room to open where we waited some more? The plane wasn’t anywhere to be found, yet the flight left at 12:50 and it was 12:30. The plane arrived at 12:40 and, of course, left late.  We arrived in Laos. The visa situation was weird. Three people were working in an assembly line, so every one had to talk to each of the three people in order to get a visa. They were not helpful at all, and no one on line seemed to understand what they needed to do. At first they said they didn’t accept US dollars or Thai baht. They then changed their minds and said they would take Thai baht, so we skirted having to use the dicey ATM to get Laos kip. We slid through Customs and immigration and into the real airport. It was so hot in the airport I thought I’d die. And by hot I mean, ungodly hot for no reason. In my notes I had written down, “I’m not going to be able to survive.” We paid for a taxi and waited OUTSIDE for it to arrive. The taxi’s air conditioner was not seeming to cool the air at all. The taxi driver had the windows down and the air conditioner on, there was nothing I could do but melt.
We got to the address of the hotel and the taxi dropped us off and told us to walk down the street. We got inside and it was a bit outdated, which I could have dealt with if that’s all that was wrong. I just had a feeling that I wasn’t going to like it. First the air conditioner was not pumping out enough air, which I wasn’t having. I got the manager and he said that’s just how it is in Laos. You have to wait 15 or so minutes for the room to cool down. The air wasn’t going to come out any faster. Then Denali did something to the safe and we had to get the manager again. The safe’s alarm would not stop going off. The manager asked for the code to the safe and once he fixed it, told us not to change it. Very shady; it caused alarm bells to go off in my head. Oh, I almost forgot: The manager said he would bring towels when they were done washing. Apparently, there were only so many towels at the hotel. It was strange. 

Denali went down the block to get water. He also felt he wanted to explore. He told me he would be back in an hour. He was back in 10 minutes. It was too hot for him. You know its hot when Denali won’t finish a walk. Then the room began to fill with mosquitoes and we couldn’t find where they were coming from.  That was the last straw. At that point I had had it, and began looking for another hotel close by. There was one down the street, so we decided to check it out before we booked. It was glorious. We walked back to the original hotel, packed up our stuff and told the manager we were leaving, as he was sitting in the check in area with 1,000 mosquitoes around him. Do you know those experiments where they put an arm in a glass box and fill it with mosquitoes to tell the effects of big spray? That’s what the glass room was like. I was pushing through a giant cloud of mosquitoes to get out of the other side.

I counted it as a loss. The new hotel was a million times better. It was clean, cold, and not a mosquito in sight. And there were as many towels as we wanted. We settled in, walked down the street, and got an amazing meal including happy hour.

After dinner we walked to the night market. We walked by a carnival stand and played a few rounds of throwing darts at balloons. There was a comically sad dinosaur that needed to come home with me. We are both poor dart players so we left empty handed.

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