During the past 11 months I have made three previous border runs      , as the Thai government requires those with Non-O visas to leave the country every 90 days. This visa expires in about a week, and so in order to remain in the country long enough for my one-year work visa to come into effect, I am making one last trip to the border tomorrow morning. Now that I know about the new bus terminal, I should not be caught off guard as I was last time by the change in the bay numbers. Assuming that my ride is on time, I should be able to have plenty of time to spare to pick up some crossiants and something to drink at the 7-11 and enjoy a peaceful and early bus trip to Mae Sai.
I do not plan on spending much time in Mae this time. Three times I have spent the night there, and each night has been dull, including the last trip spent with a rather unpleasant intestinal bug that appears to have targeted the pancreas and bile ducts. At any rate, I am not in as much of a hurry this time as I was before, hoping to pick up some movies (and maybe some dvds of the Game of Thrones if I can find them), as well as a postcard for one of my penpals, whose initial letter has not arrived yet for reasons known only by the Thai postal service . After lunch and a return to the bus station, it is my intent to take a local bus to Chaing Rai and spend the night there. There is an Italian restaurant I am very interested in trying out.
In order to keep myself amused (assuming I am unable to find a cybercafe near the bus station in Chiang Rai), I will bring a few books to read. I am working my way through Alfred Russel Wallace’s The Malay Archepelago, and I will bring a couple other books with me as well in case I finish that one. Obviously, any books I finish will be reviewed as soon as possible. In addition, I hope to also write some thoughts on Chiang Rai, as I am looking to explore the city a bit by foot, and there are some sights there I’d like to see. We’ll see how that goes this weekend. Obviously, I will be very busy when I return because I still have a lot of writing to do before the end of the Spring Holy Days. Hopefully that goes well also.
I don’t necessarily feel bad about not having to do any more border runs. I’m not the kind of person who feels particularly nostalgic as a general rule (I do miss my time in Southern California as well as Western Pennsylvania, as well as a few of the places I have visited, like Philadelphia in Turkey, the British Isles, and Trinidad & Tobago, other than that, not so much), and really there isn’t anything to miss in Tachileik either, except for the cheap dvds. I will leave those who can wax poetic on pushy Indian salesmen to themselves, as I find the occasional visits to Burma rather unfriendly. I tend to be the sort of person who is concerned that the border officials on both sides will have read what I think about the whole exercise, and that’s not a pleasant thought. To be honest, policemen and soldiers in this part of the world give me the jibblies, and the less I have to deal with them the better I feel. I’m sure everyone can understand that sentiment.