Saturday, December 11, 2010

Visa Run Day 2. Uttaradit to Loei

It turns out that the route to Loei, plotted out yesterday, is a pleasant change. Quieter (not too quiet) roads, cooler in the shade of the hills and much more scenic. The video isn't very interesting, it's hard to get the camera out at just the right time. 
It’s nice to be off the main highway where the shoulder of the road is officially the motorbike (bicycle, tuk tuk or any other homemade contraption, motorised or not) lane. Overtaking on the inside feels unnatural and dangerous, and it’s illegal in Australia, so often we go around the outside...the normal way.
We pull over at a small town intersection where a police officer is talking to a couple of locals. He yells out ‘Where you go?’ Stray wanders across, confirms we’re on the right track and returns with accurate directions given in kilo *miles*.
There is quite a lot of smoke around, as there was yesterday. Evidence of burning off crop debris after harvesting. This is reinforced, I think, by the road signs depicting deer running from blazing bushland. Or, that could be a completely separate matter?
The houses are becoming smaller as we ride on, and poorer. But no matter how humble the home, a pickup truck is usually parked outside. This is pickup truck country. Many of them new and shiny. No doubt an essential tool of farm life necessary to carry produce, supplies, the extended family and on one occasion...over sized stereo speakers.

As we press on, some of the houses have only dirt floors and most have huge concrete pots outside used to store drinking water. Time to fuel up again so we pull into a small gas station. Our ten year old driveway attendant spots Stray on the front of the scooter and looks to me for instructions. We look like this.
I greet him in muffled Thai, but he doesn’t understand, so I pull down my face mask and repeat ‘sawadee kha’. Realising I’m also farang, the poor kid nearly jumps out of his skin and laughs a lot, at the same time calling for someone to come and help. But he gets over the initial shock and manages on his own quite well. We take time out for a cup of coffee and I notice a small Christmas tree with decorations, all the way out here.

Some more video of nothing in particular...
From Dan Sai to Phu Rua it’s almost an endless row of flower and plant nurseries, with signs pointing to tucked away resorts off the main road. We pass large Phi Ta Khon masked totems, but I can’t take any photos, even at the speed we're doing.
In Loei we search for a hotel, but the first two we come across are full. As we travel down a small road we notice a smart looking office? building and go inside. No wonder the young lady gives me a ‘what the?’ look when I ask her where I can find a hotel room to rent...when I’m standing in one.
Priyapha Boutique Living
*Almost brand spanking new, inexpensive and family run and owned...perfect!
The view from the balcony
Note - The Wat and soi dogs seem to be increasingly aggressive as we travel further away from Chiang Mai. I comment to Stray that I’m going to invest in some type of ultra sound repellent when we get home. I don’t blame the dogs, they’re often leading loveless, painful, miserable lives and perhaps should be taken out of them in many cases. We conclude that they may not be used to hearing English prattle or perhaps we smell very different?

Related Post Visa Run Day 1. Chiang Mai to Uttaradit

*Priyapha Boutique Living, 98/4 Phiphat Mongkhon Rd, T. Kudpong A. Muang Loei. Ph. 042 812180 or 089 9399322 email: Coming from highway 203, turn right onto highway 201, take the first street on the left. The hotel is around the bend on the right, before Soi 8.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai