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I make my first visa run tomorrow to activate the second entry of my tourist visa.  Tim and I leave on a double-decker coach bus for Ranong (ระนอง) at 6am on the Fourth of July.  From there, we take a boat across the channel to Kawthaung, formerly known as Victoria Point, in the Union Of Myanmar.  We get our passports stamped there, then it's back over to Thailand where I receive an entry stamp allowing me to stay another 60 days in the Kingdom (after which, I may apply for a 30-day extension before I have to make another visa run).

We booked our trip with F1 Visa Run, which is affiliated with Mike's Bikes just a little bit east of Chalong Circle (very close to our home in southern Phuket).  I had originally tried booking with Eva's Tours using their e-mail form on their website; after several days, someone called me to say the boss would call me later.  When she called, she said that they probably couldn't take me on Monday (my preferred day) and would Sunday be okay?  I said it would and she said she would call me back the next day (which would have been Wednesday).  She never did and I tried repeatedly on Thursday and Friday to call her back without success.  I called a different company Friday afternoon but the person on the other end couldn't understand my English.  I decided that Tim and I would drive around Saturday after she returned home to find another visa company and book the trip in person.  We were lucky to find Mike's Bikes with their large "visa run" sign out front.  I paid 1400 baht for myself and 999 baht for Tim (Eva's wanted 1600 for me and 1400 for Tim).  They didn't have any space for Monday, so we settled for Tuesday instead (which is the actual day my first visa expires).

The office where we meet the bus opens at 5:30 and they have coffee, banana cake and fruit available while we wait.  There's an enclosed/secure parking area where we can leave the motorbike (I was concerned about leaving the bike at some of the other companies' pick-up spots).  The bus is scheduled to stop for breakfast (included) at Tukua Pa (wherever that is:  I couldn't find a listing on Wikipedia nor is it on any of my maps), lunch (also included) in Ranong, and afternoon tea (Tim and I will probably take something in our backpack) at Khao Lak (เขาหลัก) National Park (which was hard hit during the December 26, 2004, tsunami).  If all goes well, we should be back at the office in Phuket by 6:30 in the evening.

I'm looking forward to the break in our home routine.  I also haven't been taking very many photos recently (being very far behind at uploading the ones I've taken to my Webshots photo albums) so this will give me a chance to photograph someplace new.  I am a little disappointed that we have to go on the fourth because I was planning to introduce Tim to a traditional American Independence Day celebration, complete with picnic (hamburgers, hotdogs, corn-on-the-cob) and some fireworks.  Oh, well.  We'll have a good time anyway (and perhaps I can plan for us to visit the States for Memorial Day or the 4th of July next year or in 2008).