We’ve been a bit quiet on the journal since we got to Laos, but it is because we’ve been doing a whole lot o’ nothing: days relaxing/lazing at the hotel, reading book after book or watching (often bad) movies on HBO. In the afternoon or early evening, as the temperature dropped, we headed into town on foot or by tuk-tuk to look at shops, swap our books; invariably we would find a place to eat — it is a strange fusion of asian and european, with French restaurants selling Italian food alongside fried crickets — then a place for a quiet beer, if only to wash the cricket taste out of our mouths.

(Actually, that’s poetic license — I ordered fried crickets last night when I saw it on the menu, but they were “out” … or could it be nobody ever eats them, so it’s just on the menu for “shock value”? Nah, I don’t believe that; more likely the tasty li’l hoppers aren’t out in force during the wet-season. Guess we’d have more luck if we see gecko on the menu…)

But today we’re leaving Vientiane, and Laos, for Bangkok in Thailand. We’ve already booked our hotel — The White Orchid, in Chinatown — but haven’t yet got the tickets to get there, so today we’re tuk-tuking (can that be a verb??) into town, then onto Thanaleng where we hope to avoid the high-prices of the “Thailand Bus” and get a night-train all the way to Bangkok. For now we’re smug with knowledge: Internet research (traveller’s tales) suggests this is the best, most comfortable and cheapest way to do it, but none of the locals we’ve spoken too know about this mythical “train 70 from Thanaleng” so we have our fingers crossed it actually exists.

So we haven’t been to Vietnam this trip, and we might not go to Cambodia either (Warrick had a torrid tale of Cambodian border-crossing that Cece endured a couple of years back — lets say it ends with her being hosed off in the street before the hotel will let her in) but that just means we have somewhere to come back to (yes, there are plenty of places we’ve missed on this trip). I’d like to, but then I’d like to visit just about everywhere in the world, twice, so we have to be practical.

The hotel in Bangkok looks nice, and is a 20 minute walk from the train station (please exist, Train 70!). It is slightly more expensive than we’ve been paying (£20 instead of £15) but has a pool and jacuzzi; after the “rural life” we’ve been living, relaxing as it is, it might be nice to be back in the city and indulge in a few creature-comforts.

Well, breakfast is here so I best eat. See you in Bangkok!