11 jan 2006 8 pm anyone who can help or give me advice AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, their help wold be greatly appreciated. i tried to cross this morning at nam xoi/ nam meo into vietnam from laos. the lao side did not seemed surprised at all to see me going toward vietnam with my 150 cc honda nsr, with thai registration, in my name, so off i went. when i first got to the vietnam side things were going well, got thru immigration with my previously purchased visa in bangkok and they sent me over to customs. that guy filled out the paperwork and then said he needed $5 US which i handed over and they sent me back to immigration for final checkout. that's when things got interesting. this one officer (turns out he is a 1st lt in the army, found that out after much communication) was one of the only people who spoke passable english, informs me that we have a problem with getting my bike into the country. at first i think this is a setup for a larger "fee", and then it's time for lunch. i ate lunch with him and 2 other officers and then head back to the office. they do some checking and come back with that i am free to enter vietnam with my passport but they can not allow my bike into the country without getting a letter of permission from police hq from the local province, about 200 km away in thanh hoa city. i still think this is a setup for a large bribe attempt, but after asking respectfully if there is a fee which i can pay to allow me to drive to the hq and get permission for the bike, the officer replies no. he then tells me to take a motorcycle taxi to a town 90 km from the border where i can get a bus to thanh hoa city. i am in that village right now waiting for the 6 am bus to t h city and my bike is sitting at the border guards "barracks". i have the keys and documentation. my visa for laos expired today. i heard that same 1st lt tell some french girl that you can not get a visa on arrival for laos at that border, so i don't think going back into laos and trying to hit the border further south will help. needless to say, road reports a mucho will be coming when i have a little more time, but i could really use some advice now. i will check the internet again when i get to thanh hoa city before going to police hq. thanks in advance. funny thing was i was having a great day before this. was getting water into the cylinder, seems my head gasket went in vieng xai and a great little mechanic had it fixed in about 3 hours yesterday. charged me a grand total of 85,000 kip, including new spark plug. when i took him out for beers afterwards, he even gave me some tools for the road, couldn't even pay him for them.