The train arrived into Hanoi at 12 noon giving me a few hours to see the temple of literature and Ho Chi Minh’s tomb before gettting a bus to the airport and flew back to Bangkok. Vietnam had proved to be alot friendlier than I’d thought it
would be and I would have liked to have spent another week or two there to see some of the other areas.
The next few days were spent bumming around Bangkok and periodically visiting the Land Rover garage to push the mechanics to do something constructive. I first showed up on Tuesday and they confidently claimed it was sorted.
Unfortunately, this wild boast was quickly disproven when the engine failed even to start and showed no sign of a spark. This was actually worse than when we’d brought it in. Choking back some oaths I calmly explained that I’d be taking the
car by the end of the week so they had better pull their finger out. Several more days passed and we entertained ourselves by watching pirate copies of Borat and Casino Royale in some of the bars and cruising around on the river
boats and sky train.
My friend Natalia was due to fly in from Dublin on Friday but the fog in London caused a day delay so she had to suffer a night in Heathrow. Apparently she slept soundly on the floor with a cute little mouse for companion. Arf.
On Saturday I returned to the garage while Richard swanned off to Burma. Needless to say I had to wait until 6pm to actually take the machine for a test drive but miraculously it did drive pretty well. Since they hadn’t opened the engine
and had only fiddled with the carbs it seemed that there was a possibility that the trouble was carb related afterall. It still ran like crap on LPG though which made me suspicious. However, I had no choice but to take it and hope for the best
while preparing for an inevitable breakdown. There was no way I was going to leave it there given the sheer slowness of the work that had been done before. I had half an hour to get to the airport but luckily the way was well signposted and
the roads in Thailand are good. Natalia duely arrived and we headed into town to see the sights. A few bars and a few beers later and I was ready to try the dreaded street food. The fired locusts were surprisingly good, as were the things
that looked like maggots. However, the huge cockroach looking creatures which the guy proclaimed were water bugs were decidedly revolting.
The next day we did a quick whistlestop tour of the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Wat Pho before picking up the landy and heading for the Cambodian border. We stopped for dinner at a random place in some unknown
town and were treated to the Thai version of a Chinese hotpot. The gist is the same - you get a pot of boiling liquid and some raw ingredients which you cook at your leisure but was slightly different in that the pot had a raised grill which you
fried meat on. Quality. We parked up for the night in a field close to the border ready for the bureaucracy which would no doubt follow in the morning.