|With Mike and Ben at their resort|
|Breakfast at Mekong Riverside Resort and Camping|
|The geckos at the resort...|
When your stay is as beautiful as Mekong Riverside Resort and Camping, it makes it all the harder to leave. After a wonderful breakfast of Khao Tum and a fusion breakfast spread of eggs, toast and grilled bananas, we were quite reluctant to pack up and leave. Seeing the mood of the day, Alvin decided to give us more time to mooch around.
This morning's breakfast was accompanied with a generous fruit platter, a thoughtful gesture from Mike who had listened well to his guests. Flashback to last evening, after Claudine made enquiries about getting fruits from the nearby village, a generous spread of fruits were served as after dinner desserts!
Following an extended farewell which saw Ben handing out little gifts of Buddha amulets to bless our trip, we left the resort reluctantly. Rolling out from the long driveway, we turned right onto Highway 211.
Right across the road, diagonal to the resort is a crematorium. It was a real relief it was not put to use throughout our stay or we may never look at roasts the same way ever again!
Stretching from the resort to as far as Sweet Bites Cafe and beyond, the road was going through expansion works. While those of us with face buffs were glad of the sheer screen, those without were literally biting dusts! Protection or no protection, everyone could very well be digging gold nuggets from the open crevices of their bodies by day's end!
As we were chiseling our way through the thick crusts, a text travelled 8 km on the airwaves to Alvin's homing device! Mike had found a Garmin in one of the rooms!!! Seeking the help of our friend from Sweet Bites, Wendy hopped on the the rear seat of her moped, much to George's "chagrin" for being denied close proximity with a pretty young lass!!!
The mission took longer than expected. Bored, VT sieved through the earrings for sale at Sweet Bites and found one for Carolen. Celia went through the tedious job of rearranging the vanity corner, messed up by the strings of customers that came through the doors.
Finally, Wendy returned with George's toy. We were relieved we did not have to pay for her ransom. But noon was approaching and riding on in the heat was a real mental challenge! Even the passing sceneries of paddy fields against a backdrop of rolling hills did little to motivate us.
Up on a hill, under the shades of the forest, a pagoda shaped bus stop or look out was too tempting not to stop. The place looked dirty and abandoned but yet the lazy lot of us sprawled on the seats, oblivious to the bird and lizard poo!
Hoping to catch up with The Roscoes who had skipped Sweet Bites, Alvin pushed us on with the promise of an interesting temple not faraway. Reluctantly, we followed his leadership, treading on in the heat.
As we approached, the huge temple and monastery grounds on the left was hard to miss. But the phallus shrine on the right was more eye catching than any tom, DICK or harry tourists around the area!!! Such phallic symbols can only denote fertility and not a mean to reverse male erectile dysfunctions!!!
While some fell onto the tiled floor to seek refuge and to rest their tired bodies, none went down on their knees to offer fervent prayers. We have all been blessed with offsprings of our own.
Leaving the twin propellers, we had gone not more than 200 m when we bumped into The Roscoes at a mini market. They had just finished their ice creams and were getting ready to roll out when we arrived. Again, we had to let them go as we did at Sweet Bites as everyone were spoilt for ice creams as well!
Treading on, we lost touch with reality. We had been feeding on snacks and sweets the whole day, we felt like little Hansels and Gretels. Closing in on Chiang Khan, we were again munching on local junk food of crisps and preserved coconut flesh from a stall near to Khaeng Khut Khu.
Conditioned to Perth's winter, the tropical heat was just too much for Carolen. She took her second shower for the day!!!
Finally, we arrived at Remember Loei Love, our stay for the next 2 nights. Located right at the old street where the night market is located, we were in for more junk food! Throwing our bags down, we immediately regrouped for a substandard "after lunch hour" Thai lunch.
Meeting again an hour later, stalls were beginning to occupy the streets, in anticipation of the night market. We tried the prawn crackers sold on the streets which received popular reviews on TripAdvisor. The size of dinner plates, the tiny river shrimps are fried in crispy but hard batter that will scratch the roof of your mouth!!! Served with a Thai chili sauce dip, they should go very well with beer!
Chilling at the hotel lobby with Thai fish cakes and iced cappuccinos later, Celia was feeling anything but chill! The air conditioning in her room broke down while she was taking a nap!
After the chaos, Fone (Suthasinee) and Man dropped by to meet us. They were members of Chiang Khan Cycling Club to which our friend, Ugrid had helped us get in touch with! Their thoughtful gestures made us feel so welcomed!
That night, we finally had the real Khao Tum we had been pining for since the start of the trip! Right across from our hotel was this shop that serves fantastically smooth rice congee with minced pork. Sue though had to settle for second best....her menu was a single choice of eggs!
We continued the evening, stretching our waistlines with soya milk in ginger syrup, assorted meat in skewers and betel leaf wrap. Now, if VT was Hansel, he would have been the first to go into the witch's pot! Not quite satisfied, he continued on with Pad Thai while the rest went on a fervent mission to save the Thai economy!!!