Tata Thailand – Good Evening, Vietnam!

This is how much of a dipstick I am (in case anyone had doubts). I spent this morning wandering around some shops and getting supplies – bug bite cream, strong painkillers for my back, some more novels to read. I then popped by the Bull’s Head for lunch and a farewell Coke.

While I was there, Billy asked if I wanted to be in a pop video. A friend of his is a director and they had a 2-person US band in town filming a video for their upcoming single. With it coming out in a month or so, they were doing it with a football theme. Essentially, they were working their way up Sukhumvit playing football with various people. At some point in each segment, a Thai girl in a goalkeeper’s outfit would grab the ball and run away with it. Cue next scene.

As a favour, the director offered to feature the Bull’s Head (and Billy himself) in the video. As it happened, I was wearing a Toon top (what a surprise) so fit right in. Heck, I even scored the opening goal. Admittedly, it was only against three waitresses in full costume fromt he restaurant over the road, but a goal’s a goal!

Despite it being about 38 degrees and having to stop for traffic every couple of minutes, it was great fun and a good way to say “goodbye” to Bangkok. After I’d finished my food I headed back to Big John’s, picked up my rucksacks and jumped into a taxi for the airport.

I was with Air Asia again. Their prices are good and for a less-than-two-hour flight I don’t care about not getting a meal. However (this is the “dipstick” moment), they do prefer it if you turn up on the day your flight is booked rather than 24 hours early.

Oops.

I still have no idea how I cocked this up. The correct date is in my diary, both online calendars and on the ticket. A quick bit of maths worked out that getting back to bangkok, staying the night, sorting food, and returning to the airport the next evening would cost about as much as changing my ticket so that’s what I did. To be honest, it worked out for the best as I got chatting to a girl called Sarah who was on the same flight. And staying at the same hostel. And had a lift arranged fro the airport into Hanoi. This, at least, saved me $5 in cab fare and meant I already knew someone in the hostel.

While in Hanoi, I’m staying at the Hanoi Backpacker’s Hostel and, frankly, it’s superb. The dorms sleep 10 and each one is en suite. In addition, there’s a shower block on the top floor in case yours is in use. Each bed has its own locker either underneat or a separate steel one. The terrace bar (a fridge and an outside to sit in) is run on a “trust” basis whereby you just keep your own tab and they add it to your bill. There’s a large kitchen with TV, big fridge/freezer and all the cooking stuff you need. Tea, coffee, bread, jam and butter are all free and breakfast is available in the mornings at various sizes and costs. The staff are also utterly brilliant, very knowledgeable and bend-over-backwards helpful. If they don’t know something, they’ll find out for you.

The first night consisted of emptying the aforementioned fridge, refilling it, emptying it again and heading for Barracuda. This is a pub owned by one of the guys who runs the hostel and it’s right out in the sticks end of the Old Quarter. Walkable in half an hour, but best done late at night when you’re not being accosted to buy knock-off books, lighters and fruit. Oh, and also because around midnight, it’s easy to walk across the exressway without being killed by the insane number of scooters on the roads in Hanoi.

The pub was quite quiet when we arrived, more or less only having a dozen backpackers in it. The pool table’s free, as are the darts, and they also do film nights and footie. When it shut around 1:00, we taxi’d to the Inside Bar which apparently manages to stay open all night. Basically, people close when the police tell them to.

Somehow, I know not how, Sarah and I found the hostel again after some meandering and collapsed at about 4am. Posted by Picasa

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