Now I am in Bangkok. I will give you the long and short of the past few days:
Saturday, January 3, 2004: tried to book train tickets to Bangkok in order to reach U.S. embassy. All trains are full, because of the New Year holiday. Tried to book bus tickets. All busses are full, for same reason. Spent night in Nong Khai again.
Sunday, January 4: took one hour bus ride to city of Udon Thani in hopes of being able to obtain bus or train tickets to Bangkok from there. Sleeper train tickets are full. Resolve to leave for Bangkok the next morning via 3rd class passenger train.
Monday, January 5: Arrive at train station for 8:15 a.m. train to Bangkok. Train delayed, does not arrive until 9:20. Stand in patch of gravel in hot sun until it arrives. Pay .10 cents to use a squat toilet that doesn't flush.
Train car is packed. Every seat is filled, and people, living poultry, and sacks of grain fill the aisles. Me and a Thai lady are forced to stradle each other's legs for the 12 train ride. The windows are open, and piles of ashes blow in on our faces and clothes. The farmers are burning their fields to prepare for planting. I resolve to not ingest anything in order to avoid the need of a bathroom.
We arrive in Bangkok late at night and take a high-speed tuk-tuk taxi (we went so fast I felt like I was in a video game) to our favorite hotel in "little India". Things are looking up.
Tuesday, January 6: Go to U.S. embassy in the morning to obtain new, temporary, emergency passport. Fill out paper work. It will be ready in 24 hours. Spend time shopping in huge mall. Purchase awesome t-shirt featuring a super hero called "Super Fro", slogan "The Super Bro with the Super Fro". Purchase other small items in attempt to buy my own happiness. Find that it works.
Husband and I attend the movies, Return of the King. Although I am determined to hate this movie, as it is the cause of the passport loss in the first place, I find that I enjoy it, even though for some reason my hands and feet are dry and cracked to the point of bleeding. But that is a different mystery.
After movie, return to "little India" and have a midnight snack of Aloo Nan. Go to sleep happy for first time since January 2nd.
January 6: Pick up new passport at US embassy. Travel to Thai immigration to give them police report, state that I have obtained a new passport, and receive official clearance as a visitor to this country. Travel to Lao embassy in order to obtain 30 day visa. Find that Laos embassy is closed for lunch. Go to internet cafe to waste one hour. Find that I am successful. Type in online diary for 16 minutes.
I want to thank those of you who gave me encouraging notes during my time of panic and uncertainty. Hooray for sympathy!