Just getting out of Laos has been an adventure that deserves it’s own post! We arrived at the airport with no problems. We dragged our bags in and Mandi and I weighed ours and rearranged stuff because somehow they keep getting heavier with each country! We finally got that all organized and went to check in. As they were reviewing our Vietnam visa application it turned out that Mandi’s passport numbers had been transposed and mine had dropped the leading zero. We were then told we had to get new visa’s. This was a bit stressful since there iI a five day waiting period on these visa’s. We were told they could do them right then, but we had to pay the expedited fee of $85. Ugh! We had already paid the $20 for the visa application, and there was still the $35 we had to pay for the actual visa when we got to Vietnam. Luckily that second fee was included in this expedited fee, but it was still freaking extra money we had to pay. So we start filling out the paperwork and Susie and Lynda start checking in. All of a sudden the guy at the counter says, “Your tickets were for yesterday”. Ooops! Susie and Lynda had booked the wrong day. Luckily again, they were able to change it to today with no extra charge.
Grrr.. so many things. After about an hour Mandi and I got our visas and we were able to go through immigration. When we went through the baggage check the lady at the end asked if I had any Laos money. I was like what the fuck.. they want me to pay them off? I told her no, I had no money left and walked away. Afterward I realized that she had seen Susie go to the exchange (which was closed) and thought we had money to exchange. Oops.
The plane ride was great. We were seated toward the front and had plenty of space to stretch out on a row to ourselves.
So when we got to Vietnam, Mandi and I were able to cruise through immigration since we didn’t need to get a visa sticker since we had already paid for it and had it in our passports. When we got to the counter my passport was stamped and I was sent on my way. I looked back and saw them calling someone over to Mandi’s counter and then leading her away. I had no idea what was going on and apparently Mandi didn’t either. When she got back she said that they took her back, asked for her exit flight (which we just had a copy of our itinerary) and talked back and forth and then told her to go back to the counter. And when she got there they yelled back and forth and then finally stamped her passport and told her to go through. It was very weird. But we made it to Hanoi, Vietnam!
Hanoi is so much different from Ho Chi Minh! It is more modern and there appears to be less motorbikes. We did get our street pho (yay!) and our hotel room is really nice! Tomorrow we head off for the Halong Bay tour where we stay overnight on a junk (boat).
That’s it for now!