I’ve no idea where the time goes. It seems that I arrived in Thailand only yesterday, but already it’s time to leave. Ironically, in order to remain in Thailand, I first have to leave. I’m heading to the bus station, the start of a journey into Laos. It’ll take ten hours on the overnight bus, and then another hour to cross the border at The Friendship Bridge that spans the Mekong River between Nong Khai on the Thai side and Vientiane Capital over in Laos.
I’ll visit the Thai Embassy in Vientiane and hopefully, receive a double entry 60 day visa for Thailand. It means that after I come back into Thailand, I’ll be able to stay for 60 days before crossing another border, probably into Cambodia. It’s an administrative headache, but it’s not optional, so I’ll make the most of the opportunity and do a little more exploring in Laos.
Last night in Thailand, it was the festival of Loy Krathong. I’ve written about the Loy Krathong Festival before, so I won’t bore you with details, but this year, well, things have moved on slightly.
When you gently launch your Krathong, a decorated float made from banana trunk and leaves, into the canal, it carries away the ‘bad’ parts of your person and the coins placed on the float are meant to bring you good fortune for the coming year. In previous years, enterprising young kids would swim in the filthy waters of the canal and taken the coins out of the boats. This year, those same kids have become more enterprising.
The young girl in the water charges 20 Thai Baht to launch your Krathong into the middle of the canal, far away from the other swimming money collectors. It sounds like good value because after all, the coins in your Krathong are going to bring good fortune. Good Fortune yes, but probably not for you. From the shadows, a small boat emerges, a boat containing other members of the girl’s family. In the central waters of the canal a hundred yards downstream, they meticulously remove every coin from every Krathong.
Maybe that's why I'm destined to remain poor? ... mai pen rai kap