Friday, November 14, 2008

Just another obstacle!

Here I am in Bangkok again, it’s the forth time in a few months and boy am I ready to escape it. After arriving back from Dubai I headed north to Laos and gave entering Vietnam a shot with the bike, sometimes you just never know what is possible. I explained the situation to the border guys on the Laos side so they did not give the bike an exit stamp for Laos, otherwise if it did not work out I would have to pay again to get the bike into Laos which I only exited 20 minutes before. So the short ride to the Vietnam border post with my fingers crossed, the idea of back packing did not appeal what so ever. Things looked promising as I put on a smile but then they discovered that it was a 750, well the sticker on the side of the bike saying 750 is a give away and its not rocket science that there are not many 175cc bikes out there with 2 cylinders, so that was that, a failed attempt.
Quickly I rode back to Laos and found a building that stored corn and paid the owner some cash to park the bike up, packed myself a little bag, far welled the stead and walked back to Vietnam. Then began an epic journey to reach Hanoi.
The truck driver taking a drag!

The slow slow Kamaz.

Fixing the flat tire.
First it was aboard the back of a scooter for the first 50 k’s to a village where I could board a bus, once in the village I was told there was no bus till the next day, great, so I had a bite to eat in a local shop and luck had it I befriended a truck driver who told me I can go with him and his two mates, fantastic I thought. My new ride was an old Kamaz truck loaded to the top with bamboo. So the long trek began, they new I wanted to go to Hanoi but communication between us was difficult and I understood that they could get me close to another city, well this would do me, worry about that later. The truck was slow, I swear I could have walked faster, the driver smoked his bamboo pipe to make the slowness of the journey not so painful, what was in the pipe I think provided him with quite a kick!
Every time I asked how far to go the distances seem to get further and further so in the end I gave up and just sat back to ride out the journey, then in the middle of the road there was an accident between a scooter and 4WD that blocked the whole road, which was quite skinny so until the police arrived we went nowhere, that took over an hour then further down the road a flat tire on the truck, my new Vietnamese friends set about fixing it. Then finally after a very long long day we arrived to the main highway at 11pm and fortune had it I flagged a bus down instantly and was on it to cover the last 100 k’s to Hanoi, I finally arrived after midnight.

Think I will stick to the Honda....and whats that guy doing at the back????
So then for the next 10 days I visited Halong bay and then north to Sapa to visit the Hamong tribes, Vietnam the land of tooting horns and crazy drivers, I was glad not to have the bike there I think but also I was very glad to return to Laos and find the stead exactly as I left it. Then it was back to pleasant quiet, peaceful Laos- a wonderful place. After another week and just traveling across the north again I entered Thailand.
Takes me back to the days of the Sonik.

Rice fields in Sapa.

River crossing in Laos.

Yep Sapa was close to China....this is proof.

It was here I struck some problems, earlier in the piece you read how I rode the bike to Laos-Vietnam border well when I arrived at the border I went to grab my rego papers for the bike and could not find them. I had a photocopy with me to use and just figured that I left the original back in Bangkok and a bunch of other things I left there to pick up upon return, as in now. So there I was at the Thai border with a photocopy of my original rego papers, this paper basically states the bike is mine and some places do not except copies, they want to see the original. Now since I arrived to the late in the afternoon and Thai customs was shut they told me to return the next day to do the paper work, but of course it did not mean back to Laos, just stay there in the borer town the night and come back in the morning. So the next morning I went to go see them and clear the bike but for the life of me I could not find my photocopy of the rego documents, I looked everywhere it could be, but it was gone, hmm, this was a problem but not as big as I realized it would become. So now I had no proof the bike was mine what so ever but I still believed that the original was in Bangkok. Thai customs where great, since the previous day the officer did see me with my papers and now I told him I lost them he let me simply copy the chassis and engine numbers from the bike, so the bike was in, no problems.

The amazing long neck tribe in Thailand.

Beautiful Long neck girl.

It was a quick visit to Chang Rei to see the longneck tribe then Chang Mei. Then it was onto Bangkok where the real problem was discovered, yep you guessed my original rego document was not here, but still I thought I can just ring the department in the UK and get a new one sent out, wrong, wrong, wrong I was, after many phone calls to them they have told me that since the bike has been out of the country longer than 12 months it’s been listed as exported and they can not issue me with a new copy just like that, it will take a letter from me, which I sent and then an investigation by them to decided weather to issue another and this takes minimum 6 weeks! So here I am in Thailand without any proof that my bike is mine and to cross borders I need something official to say the bike is mine, so yes it was my own silly fault for loosing both the rego papers but beauracy in this world makes nothing easy and takes the fun out of it completely. But there will be a way, there always is, I have to get home with my bike.

24 hours on and some progress has been made and I am heading south again. I managed to find a copy of my rego papers on email and print it out, it’s only a copy but I would rather continue on and give getting into Malaysia a shot instead of waiting around for 6 weeks for an answer that could be bad anyway, then its only Indo and East Timor from there. So here I go, the final part, let it be smooth going and let this photocopy get me through.