Today is much better. I've settled into Khon Kaen (a university town) in a simple guesthouse with only three rooms run by an Englishman and his Thai wife. He's full of useful information and English books and newpapers. There's a nice cafe downstairs full of wooden tables and good-smelling food, which I'll be trying out tomorrow.
I'm delighted to be wearing a clean sundress. I don't know if I should broadcast this, but I'd been wearing the same outfit since Hue, Vietnam- the same pants, same two shirts, but different underwear. It was over 2 weeks in one outfit. Gross.
After a shower and washing my clothes, I walked to the Laos embassy and got my visa. The man at the consulate flipped through my passport for a while, giving strange looks to some of the visas (China, India, New Zealand, Vietnam, Cambodia) in my passport. Then he kept comparing my pictures. But the whole process still took less than ten minutes. The rest of the day I've spent walking around town. I found free wifi in the air-conditioned (praise the lord) mall. It's going to take a little adjustment to the weather here.
This weekend is an art festival at the University- I've heard good reviews, so I'll be sticking around at least four days before heading north to Nong Khai, a little town on the border with Laos, overlooking the Mekong River. Nong Khai was voted one of the best places in the world to have a second home by Modern Maturity magazine recently. Hmm, I don't know what to think about that. It must move slowly there for all those retired people in their walkers. Heheh. Just kidding, you retired folks! :)