|Today, I decided is going to be my last day in Nong Kai. It's a quiet little town, that I am very glad I got to explore, but there isn't much to see or do here. I did all of the tourist sites in two days on foot.
This morning I woke up and had a wonderful European breakfast at this adorable little guesthouse on the water. It's a well known place for travelers passing through to stay here, and I can see why. They have an english menu that appeals to most European pallets,and is surrounded by tons of exotic plants. It makes you feel like you are really in a jungle, eating under a thatched roof in bamboo chairs. I ended up staying there for awhile after I ate some banana pancakes, taking in the views and planning my next adventure. Which I decided my next adventure is going to be Laos. I stopped in a little bookstore on my way into town to find out more about Laos, and a friendly little thai woman gave me some advice about places to stay there. She also gave me a really neat map that shows all of the popular places to see, eat and stay in Vientianne(the capitol) that is all in English so I can understand it!
Sean then took me to Nong Kai's most famous attraction, Salakaewkoo, which is this incredible sculpture park tucked away off the major highway. I never would have found it on my own. In fact we passed by many travelers looking at maps along the highway, that I can only assume were looking for this park. It is basically a big circle that you walk around. There is a story behind each statue, some rising 8 stories high. It was really cool to see. I read a little bit about the man that built it all, he died in 1996, so it isn't really that old. The story is that he feel in a well as a child and met all of these different characters in the underworld. He is very well known around here and had many followers. They left his house just as it was when he died, he is still inside it in this crazy bubble thing. We went and saw him. I guess the people think he is going to come back some day, so they don't want to change anything. There was another smaller circle inside the big one that was filled with a ton of smaller statues, all symbolizing our life, and all of the stages we go through...
After that, I went off on my own again and explored the town...did a little shopping at the market and tried a new restaurant. It was a vegetarian place, so I knew they weren't going to sneak dog or something crazy in my dish. I got spicy tofu with vegetables, and when I say spicy, I mean it destroyed my mouth. It was delicious, but I thought I was breathing out fire afterwards. I also drank two pitchers of water, and the owners were laughing at me.
Nong Kai is a great little city, people or extremely friendly, but it is totally true what they say..."time, like the Mekong River, seems to flow by very slowly here". It was a good place for me to get acquainted, but now I am ready for some adventure.
I am going to Laos for the weekend, to do some exploring there. Then I am going to come back to Nong Kai to meet up with Sean on sunday and we're going to fly up to Chang Mai.