I stayed at a hotel about 100 km south of Hanoi last night, got plenty of rest. In the morning though the front desk tried to get another 80000 dong out of me. We were very clear on the price the day before as it was printed on the counter. I stuck to the original price and finally the guy gave up, he was really starting to sweat. You can expect to pay up to double for items in the touristy areas but the only other time I was ripped off was being short changed for petrol by 20000, I should have gotten off the bike and asked nicely for correct change but it was $1.
Today the bike is in the shop being pampered with new filters, oil, tires, possibly fix the speedometer and a good looking over. I’m using the Flamingo tours garage because they were fantastic in HCMC. My tires still had some tread on them, but finding them down the road could be very difficult. About 300 meters from the garage Flamingo also has a small (very small and hidden) dorm bed setup that I decided to use as well.
A first today, I finally made contact with another road user. As you get closer to the big cities the traffic gets really thick and chaotic, I was going past a bicycle, it was a little tight but suddenly the bike goes 2 feet sideways right into my side, I was squeezed on the other side by a bus. The riders elbow connected nicely with my fingers on the right grip. Ouch! Nothing seems to be broken but it is a little swollen and very stiff, probably for a few days.
I will stay in Hanoi a couple of days before heading for Laos. Internet research says I can go through Laos, Thailand and Cambodia on the way back south if I use the correct border crossings, we shall see.