Visa run

Bangkok, Thailand

It comes as a shock to realize that we've been in Thailand for nearly four weeks, and our thirty-day tourist visas are approaching their expiry date. It's time to do what the local expats know as a 'visa run', ducking out of the country and then returning after a graceful interval for a new thirty-day visa.

There are a number of different options available. We decided not to take the drug boat to Myanmar, or the long overnight sleeper to the border with Laos (been there, done that). The Malaysian border looks unappetizing just now given that part of the Muslim population of Thailand's southern provinces is in a state of near-insurrection (thank you Osama, thank you George), and we're saving the land crossing to Myanmar up by Mae Sae for later. Which means that Cambodia now looks like the favorite, and we've decided to pass up the chance to get gouged in Poipet in favor of Hat Lek and the coast boat to Sihanoukville.

Our bags are – almost – packed, and I think I have convinced M. that we can't fit everything we need for ten days into just one daypack. So we're taking two. We have a second-hand Cambodia guidebook – in French, so M. periodically interrupts her reading to ask me for vocabulary; sometimes it's more fun just to let her guess – and a rough idea of where we want to go. We have a rendezvous with a woman from Oxfam on a decommissioned former floating brothel in Phnom Penh. We have sunscreen, business cards, a few small US bills, some spare camera batteries, and no bugspray.

Angkor here we come. Inshallah.