It's now 2:28PM. A few minutes ago I crossed the Friendship Bridge, re-entering Thailand after having spent a couple of weeks poking about southern Lao. The bridge shuttle bus (they don't let you just walk across the Friendship Bridge; trust me, I asked last time) dropped me off at the bus depot. I hopped into the back of a songthaew [which, in Thai, literally means "two benches" — it's a truck with two (or sometimes three) benches in the back for passengers] and we headed to the Nong Khai train station.

I purchase my train ticket for Bangkok from a man behind the window. The window has two holes; the counter-level bread-loaf shaped hole for passing the money and ticket through, the grapefruit hole for speaking through. It's like using a prototype telephone — speak through the hole, turn your head and put your ear to the hole to listen.

My train departs at 7:15PM [19:15] according to my ticket. I have almost five hours to kill.

"So, should I be here at around six-thirty?" I ask, really more just making conversation than needing to know.
He points to the departure time printed on the ticket and says
"Before." [this time that my finger is pointing at]
I laugh.