Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Visa Run Day 6. Unexpected Visitors In Udon Thani

This morning we took it easy and generally watched TV and vegged out in the hotel room, the next three days will be hectic enough.

While out of the balcony (yes, again) I see a truck with a tank on the back. The driver is scooping up fish in a net and placing them into basket, while a food stall owners waits patiently.
These fish are well and truly alive and flipping about. The stall owner pays and the fish monger adds ice from the esky to cool down the water in the tank. A few hours later the fish are ready for sale, char grilled and impaled on split wood skewers.
Some guys pull up in a sign written pick up truck - LANDMINE AND BOMB DISPOSAL. Sad to know there's a need for such a service.

It's as hot as blazes and I'm not looking forward to lining up outside the Thai Consulate for the 1.00 pm gate opening. Our taxi driver arrives and after we all have lunch I walk over to join the queue. It's really hot! I open my umbrella and share my shade with a little Japanese bloke, for the half an hour wait. I joke with him that checking the time, will only make the time pass more slowly. All the while visa runners are trying to find shade/relief by sitting in the gutter behind cars, under scarves and towels and by pressing up against the consulate security guard booth. Shade is scarce, as the sun is nearly directly overhead. Some local bloke is trying to flog off cold water for a ridiculous 40 Baht per bottle...what a guy!

The collection of our passport goes is orderly and fast, and after checking that mine is intact, I head out to the waiting taxi. Unbeknownst to me, Stray had been chatting to an Israeli man while I had been standing in line. The same man that jumped the queue, in front of me and was now hopping into my cab. I was sooooo relieved I'd let that one slide by without a smart remark. The three of us head back to Friendship Bridge.

Once back over the Thai border we decide to head for Udon Thani to get a head start on tomorrows ride. The bike seems to have blown a electricals, horn etc. so we don't stop until we see the Udon Thani Honda sales showroom. Bike repair shops seem to be everywhere, when you don't need one.

The staff are brilliant, although they're not understanding the word 'fuse', they quickly realise the problem, push the bike inside and replace it. The lovely administration girl brings us ice cold water and can't believe we've ridden from Chiang Mai. They send us on our way, free of charge. It's nice to be back in Thailand.
Udon Thani rooftops
After scouting around for almost an hour, we end up booking into the SiriGrand across the road from the Honda building, we'd initially started out from. The hotel has seen better days, but the rooms are clean (all bar the lack of bleach), spacious and have heaps of storage space, not that we need it. After a stroll around the market and dinner we settle down for the night. My head is throbbing...a few nights of incompatibly shaped pillows.

I start to snooze off when I hear Stray say "there are small dots/things on my bed sheet".

I say "they're probably crumbs from your peanut snack". I go back to napping, but a short time later all hell breaks loose...something about bed bugs. Yep...definitely bed bugs. Well we presume they are, neither of us have ever seen them before, but they're small, bug like, full of blood when squished...and they're in HIS bed.

The hotel staff respond promptly, but they don't seem surprised at all. Bed sheets, pillows and no doubt bed bugs are being flung around the room as they change the linen. Stray arranges another room and we lie in wait, while watching TV, for critters to emerge...but they don't.

I wake up through the night to powder my nose and notice that poor Stray is still fully clothed, in bed, asleep. By the light of my mobile phone I inspect our beds. All is quiet, not a creature is stirring, not even a bed bug!

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