Looks a little like a US motel along the highway. . .

 

On to Nong  Khai

Pictured here is our hotel in UdonThani!   Pretty basic.   There are three “deluxe “ rooms in this hotel.  One for each of us!  Pretty funny.  The rooms were big – king sized bed, air conditioning, lots of room for our stuff.   Nice hot water in the shower but only cold in the sink . .   Funny . .   At breakfast this morning, I decided to have the Congi mixed with a few Thai extras.   Unfortunately, I added a hot pepper by mistake.   Immediately removed the piece from my mouth but not before the damage was done!   Wicked burning!   That was the end of my breakfast!   My lips, tongue, and throat felt like I had blisters on them.    All I could do was to drink water – seven or so glasses of it!    Couldn’t bear the thought of anything hot (or even warm) in my mouth.   I did manage a few pieces of fruit and a slice or two of cucumber .      Took me back to a similar experience I had with Sue in Hawaii many years ago.  Yikes!   Not fun . .   Everyone else had nice lunch type meals for their breakfast.   Chicken and basil, pork and vegetables.  Stuff like that . . . 

We listened to this guy play his handmade instrument. Pretty cool music!

So we’re off to Nong King with a few stops along the way. . .   We’ve had an interesting guide situation here.   We adored Tajma in Bangkok. She was smart and spoke English so well.  She just knew how to be a good guide.  Actually, most of the guides we’ve had as we travel have been excellent!   This particular guide’s name is Pop (we think).  It’s been difficult to decide which pronoun to use.   Most of us thought he was male. I thought female.   We finally watched which bathroom she used and it was decidedly female!   She has great difficultly understanding us and we can barely understand her!  That makes things difficult, to say the least!    Our driver is young and very good.  He can speak some English and helps her out . . .  😳.   As we drive along, she doesn’t explain things we are seeing along the way or what we will be seeing.  She does talk on her phone and to the driver.  Just not that responsive to her clients.  She says that she’s studied English for 10 years in school and guided for 12 years.  Hard to believe.   Anyway – we’ll survive!   *(We actually made some suggestions after day 1 with her …  she improved on day 2)

Pop and Martha deep in discussion
Group discussion.

Just stopped at a great rest stop!    Toilets ( bring your own TP) and Amazon coffee.  As in Starbucks variety.   Had a delicious cappuccino!   So Jojo is set for the day!  😀

Just resting a bit . . .

One thing that I find fascinating is skin color here.  Tajma says that in Bangkok and southern Thailand, folks like to have white skin.   They use bleach and facial products and work hard to stay out of the sun.  Up here in UdonThani and further north, there are more farmers and the skin is darker    They are comfortable with darker skin and don’t try to lighten it . . .    We are an anomaly up here.  Get lots of stares. . .   😀

Let’s have a picnic! 😀

We did learn a bit about the social life out here in rural Thailand!  Most folks are pretty poor.  There is money to be made in Bangkok – so the parents will find work in the city and the grandparents take care of the children.  Unfortunately, these older folks can’t really control the teenagers and there is a great problem with teenage pregnancy.  They can’t afford condoms and the kids don’t really understand the dangers of unprotected sex.   So that is a big problem.   Only the rich families can afford to send their children to the university.     

Wat Pu Phukon.   

D admires the temple.
Vibrant colors . . .

We drove a couple of hours through the countryside and then headed up the mountain to view Wat Pu Phukon.   This is a spectacular temple, high on the mountain, housing the Reclining Buddha.   This Buddha was constructed from Italian marble.   There were several temples up here – in different shades of blue.   So beautiful!    Hardly any people visiting this site, which made it all the more special!  And – the weather was perfect.  A slight breeze.  Not too hot.  Beautiful sunshine!   Jojo had to don the long skirt.   Pop thought I was fine as my skirt went to mid knee but the clothing police disagreed!   😀.  I was fine with it.  My pants were too dirty to wear one more day . .   Need some time for laundry. . .    

Reclining Buddha
One more . . .
Martha and Doug admire the countryside

Last stop of the day – in Nongkhai Province – Wat Pha Tak Suea.   Another mountain top temple.   This one has a sky walk so you can see the Mekong River as it flows along the valley .     Basically a tourist spot!   😀.   It looks like we might get to our hotel early today.  Yeah!    

Jojo shows off her beautiful skirt!

Stopped for lunch at a wonderful restaurant that overlooked the Mekong River Beautiful spot!  A variety of wonderful foods – great to be out of the van!    I started with some chicken curry soup that was very tasty but acctivated my morning burn  😖     I was very care from that point on . . .    We took lots of pictures here as it was so scenic!

The entry to this restaurant
A seat by the river . . .
Watching the local boats meander down the river

We arrived at our hotel around 4:00.  Not bad . ..   first issue we had was no hot water.  D did his laundry with cold water but objected to a cold shower.  I went looking for help and this kind fellow came to our room and showed us the switch you must push for hot water . ..   who knew!   😳.     Our room is pretty basic. . .  We already asked about some sort of bar and the people out front just shook their heads . .  I guess not.   Pot says we’ll be able to get alcohol in Laos, where “They have Buddhism in their hearts but whisky on their tables!”

Pop’s contribution to our photos! 😃

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