Gooooooooood mornin’ Vietnam!
Our big travel day had nearly arrived. Three flights to get us from Pai to Hanoi. What could go wrong?!
Well for starters, the day before, our 25 minute Pai to Chiang Mai flight was cancelled. This left us with just one option….driving the hellish 4 hour journey through 732 curves up and down the foothills of the Himilayas! With no access to tranquillizers, we cut a deal with a couple of dudes from a taxi company who were heading that way anyway. We met them at 6 am and started the journey across the hills to Chiang Mai in their old jeep . Staying out late the night before looking around the night market was probably a mistake as we were wrecked on the drive.
To add to our anguish, the driver played a country and western CD on loop for the entire length of the journey – Note that the radio doesn’t pick up signal out here and the music was a welcome distraction from the 732 corners! You needn’t worry as the core themes of alcoholism, womanising and general heartache were well covered throughout the journey. Oddly LeAnn Rimes ‘How can I live without you’ was in the mix too and will forever be ingrained in our memories of that journey as we had to listen to two Thai men struggle to reach the big notes!
The rainforest clad hills were stunning and gave us a different view point compared to the plane. At one point, we came around a corner to be greeted by a gang of gorgeous buffalo on the side of the road. They must have been drinking from a mountain stream as they were all wet and shiny despite the searing heat.
When we came around that final bend and Chiang Mai came into view we finally breathed a sigh of relief – however it turned out to take forever to get through all the industrial estates with elephant dung paper factories and sweat shops before we arrived at the airport. Thankfully, we made our flight to Bangkok and the next one to Hanoi without too much more drama.