A number of unusual events happened as we left Cambodia. The border crossing took longer than any other, and the kickstarter arm went through the sole of my boot. At sundown it began to rain, more so as we got closer to the capital, and when passing a badly lit roadwork area in the suburbs the growing wind caught a large wooden plate and slammed it into the bike. No injuries. However, these hostile hours could somewhat be explained: The cow-crashers David and Erika were in Bangkok to recover… Hey, wait a minute! Why go west to Bangkok if you wanna go to east to Vietnam?
Going the wrong way?
The Turkish girl flew home for her final exam, and with my once-again aloneness the skies clustered with brownish clouds. Thunder announced that the monsoon season was just around the corner, if not already there. A few brief but fierce rainstorms drowned the Bangkok sewage tunnels thus the rats escaped to the streets where three million cars belong. It is remarkable how large a rat can be when flattened. Like a hairy Grandiosa Pizza. Corpses were scattered in the drying streets, with small fur balls caught in the turbulence behind passing vehicles. My idea at first was to go to Malaysia. But something told me to take a time-out. To make a better plan. Review my ride, my bike, which is never-complaining but battered by three owners. I made a sketch – the road to purpose-bike perfection: Balto, but with a few more features. As the locals say: Same same, but different. Vietnam seemed like a good place to think about the details.
Bangkok rain. When I bought an umbrella it stopped.
So why going west to get east? Well, for starters Bangkok is the hubbub of SE-Asia and where you by flashing a handful of cash can get a visa and a ticket to whatever country in the region within 24 hours. Secondly, temporary import of motorcycles with more than 175cc is forbidden in Vietnam. Balto is simply too big for Charlie.
So how can you have a blast on your own motorcycle in Vietnam?
Answer: Buy a Vietnamese motorcycle.
And the short flight to Hanoi was great, with an above-the-clouds perspective so breathtaking that even the most arrogant of the meteorologists at Vervarslinga would get a hard-on.
Hmm, let's see if we find a motorcycle in this alley
We met at dawn in the Old Quarter, Mr. X and I. On offer was a heap of gaskets, rubber and metal parts which once upon a time were assembled in Russia in such order that the unit could be defined as a motorcycle. A Vietnamese license plate and some spare parts were included. Money changed hands. Mr. X said it was 1700km to Saigon, and he wished me good luck. Ah – I thought - just like a drive from Tromso to Oslo. But it was not quite like that.
Posted by Erik Saue at April 11, 2006 09:38 AM GMT
Say hello to Laika. She doesn’t look like much, but at least she got me out of town