Bookended. That’s what our Laos-Cambodia trip was – bookended by blog buddy meet-ups. At the front end was our meeting with Jeff Bell, and at the tail end we met the man who has kept me in stitches lo these many months: liveandletthai. His real name, now on his blog, is Paul Dance, but to me he will always be liveandletthai.
An overachieving British expat with not one, but two different blogs, you may have heard of him if you’ve been reading my blog for a while. Several months ago I nominated both of his online creations for the Sunshine Blogger Award. He stepped up and responded to all my questions both as himself and as his alter-ego, Henry H. Henri, though I did have to badger him a bit.
Anyway, our trip involved long layovers in Bangkok, on both the outbound and return journeys. On the way to Southeast Asia, our layover was during the ungodly hours of midnight to 8:00 am, so we thought we’d let the poor man sleep. On the way back however, we sought a meet-up during the more reasonable afternoon/early evening hours of our 9-hour layover.*
*Travel note #1: If you ever find yourself wondering how you’re going to kill several hours at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, you should know that there is a tour desk that offers all manner and length of layover tours. Had we not been able to meet up with liveandletthai, we almost certainly would have booked one of those.
Not only was liveandletthai interested in meeting, he kindly offered to come all the way out to the airport and greet us there.**
**Travel note #2: Getting from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the city center is very easy using the Klook website. Prior to leaving America I booked (wonderfully inexpensive) tickets, which I bought online, for the rail service that terminates on the bottom floor of the airport. This way, if you are just passing through Thailand and want to spend a few hours in the city during your layover, you don’t have to exchange any money for Thai Baht. Just bring the printouts from home, turn them in at the Klook counter, and get your prepaid train tickets. Easy!
After an enthusiastic welcome in which I felt like I was reuniting with a long lost brother, the three of us clicked instantly, chatting casually on the train like we’d known each other for years. (Liveandletthai, if I’ve somehow misconstrued our encounter, like, say, you equated our meet-up to a Medieval torture session, please don’t hesitate to publicly set me straight in the comments below.) Alighting at the opposite terminus, Phaya Thai, we walked around a bit looking for somewhere to eat, noting with interest that Thai drivers appeared much more adherent to things like lane lines and red lights than Cambodian drivers, who tend to scoff at such things.
Eventually, liveandletthai tried to steer us toward a casual Thai restaurant with a beer-centered drinks menu, but after two straight weeks of Asian food, Beerlao, and Angkor Beer, the husband was having none of it. He playfully hassled our host until an upscale cocktail lounge could be located. We found it inside a fancy hotel, and that is where we parked ourselves for several hours, connecting over drinks and eats (lovely western health food such as chips and salsa, french fries, and a cheese plate, the likes of which we hadn’t seen in a fortnight and were craving mightily) and getting to know my blog buddy in person. This included, among other things, nodding politely as I listened to his dubious excuses for being AWOL from his blog for the past several months. Knowing he’s a dog-lover, I gave him the skinny on petsitting, and the husband and liveandletthai bonded over their shared Britishness, so much so that they didn’t even come to blows when our new friend revealed that he supports Manchester United, a brave, if risky, move if ever I saw one.
Then, alas, it was time to go. We walked back to the train station, said our goodbyes to liveandletthai, and went on our merry way, grinning from ear to ear. We had just spent two marvelous weeks in SE Asia, and to top it all off we now had a friend in Thailand who surely wouldn’t mind putting us up for weeks on end, free of charge. If it weren’t for this pesky pandemic, we’d be back over there right now, eating his food, forcing him to sleep on the couch, hogging the TV remote, and making him our 24-hour, on-call personal tour guide. Damn you, coronavirus!
Postscript: In the months since our meet-up we’ve been in touch with liveandletthai outside of the confines of WordPress. He still periodically goes AWOL from his blog, but I now employ any and all communication means to harass and shame him about this. For a while there he had a reasonable alibi: the planning and execution of his wedding. Now that the nuptials are finished, though, I’m allowing no more excuses. Any blog posts he publishes from here on out I’m taking partial credit for. 😉
Read more about our Dust-Farm-Pail List SE Asia adventures:
- Things We Learned from the Travel Medicine Doctor: Laos/Cambodia Edition
- And We’re Off…
- Southeast Asia to Midwest America Jet Lag: What Fresh Hell is This?
- Blog Buddy Meet-up #1: Luang Prabang, Laos
- Laos, Days 1-2: Cycling & Sightseeing
- Laos, Day 3: The Journey to Nong Khiaw
- Laos, Day 4+: Hiking, Remote Villages, and One Really Bad Indian Meal
- Laos, Day 5: Queasy Kayaking
- Day 6: The Journey to Cambodia and a Meal for Adventurous Carnivores
- Cambodia, Days 7-8: Wat a Fabulous Couple of Days!
- Cambodia Days 9-10: New Year’s Eve & Day on a Sacred Buddhist Mountain
- Blog Buddy Meet-Up #2: Bangkok, Thailand