Start: KM 42, between Quan Son and Na Meo, Vietnam
End: Na Meo, Vietnam
Distance: 47 km
Avg: 13.8 k/h
Max: 36 k/h
Total: 5117 km
Total riding days: 58
Roadkill: A big, fat rat in Hanoi. Hanoi? Yes, see below.
Riding hours: 0600 - 1005
Laos has rubber borders. I keep bouncing off them.
This time, the story is: Yes, foreigners can cross the border at Na Meo. But No, a Lao visa is not available at the border. The Vietnamese border guards were very apologetic (not that it is their fault), and are looking after my bike for me while I make a trip to Hanoi to get a Lao visa from the consulate there. They even gave me an informal 4-day visa extension, since my Vietnam visa expires tomorrow.
'Informal' means that they will let me out, but it doesn't mean that anyone else will recognise it. Which leaves me with a problem, because I can't stay in a hotel once my visa has expired (you have to show your visa at check-in). And my tent is in Na Meo, at the border with my bike. And it is quite chilly at night now. So I may have to buy a bottle of cider in a brown paper bag and sit by the lake all night.
Note to travellers: on Vietnamese buses (I took two in my visa-hunting zip from Na Meo to Hanoi), try not to sit next to women. They all, almost without exception, vomit continuously throughout the journey, into little plastic bags which they toss out of the window when full. For some reason men don't seem to be affected.