Where am I? What’s up? Another coffee, please?

I’m back in Vientiane – hopefully at the end of all passport troubles (complications).

I picked up yet another new new passport this morning at 8am sharp as the Embassy opened – having arrived in the city at 6am, dropped my bag in a dormitory room at Sabaidee Guest House, taken a cold shower, and had a triple espresso at Joma’s (with yogurt, fruit, and museli) – having boarded a bus in Pakse at 8pm last night – having (essentially) hitch-hiked my way out of Champasak yesterday afternoon – having spent the dayclimbing the ruins of Wat Phu – having discovered that my passport was, weeks ahead of schedule, sitting in Vientiane waiting for me and that if I waited through the weekend (today is Friday) I would overstay my visa – as it expires tomorrow.

So, yeah, I’m a bit tired. At the moment.

My passport is currently in the hands of the Immigration officials who will, hopefully, grant my application for a three day extension – I can go pick it up between 11:30, when it should be ready, and noon – at which time they close through the weekend.

I’m also frantically comparing Air Asia and Malaysia Airline flights to and around Borneo, trying to decide if I’m going to Danum Valley, Gunung Palung, or Tanjung Puting – no longer having time for all of them – or none of the above. Maps, transport routes, details, budgets (’cause – oh yeah – I’m just about out of money and its time to start asking for loans, except that I hate to ask for any more than I absolutely need), whether or not I should try to buy things like leech socks, what I can empty out of my bag to lighten the load – are spinning through my head.

I should have planned all this weeks ago. The fact that I thought I had more time – I was on my way to Phonosavan, back through Luang Prabang and to Non Khiaw, maybe even up to Luang Nam Tha and Muang Sing – is no excuse. The thing is, I sort of have planned the Borneo contingencies before but, of all the travel I’ve ever done or listened to others discuss, it’s downright Kafkian in the intricacies of “can’t get there from here” and none of the details make any sense even five minutes after you’ve sorted them out.



Don Khon


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