Rod McLaughlin

Quan Hoa to Thanh Hoa (23 oct 15)

I nearly stopped several times on this 140 Km stretch, but something made me go on each time, and I ended up entering the seaside city of Thanh Hoa in the dark. I have a headlamp and a flashing red headlamp at the back, but it's scary. Trucks expect you to get out of their way. Motorbikes drive straight into your path without looking. However, by going straight, I ended up at the Bao Linh Ngoc hotel, which is luxury compared with the last few. Next door is a good restaurant, a real Bia Hoa place where the beer really is freshly made, and there's a supermarket nearby, with french bread, cheese, wine etc.. I may stay here three nights before pressing on southward to Vinh.

People here are so nice.

I just had a nightmare with my bank. I was unable to get access to online banking because, recognizing numerous accesses from a foreign country, it decided to raise my security by sending an access code to my phone and having me type it in. Only problem: I don't have a phone at the moment. Then an ATM machine refused to give me money, saying the bank refused. I then spent an hour in a phone store using a borrowed phone and (briefly) a computer lent to me by a really nice guy who could have sold me a phone if he'd tried, waiting for call assistants to pick up the phone. Eventually, the assistant told me that I did in fact still have the ability to withdraw cash. She then passed me on to online banking - a fifteen-minute wait. The assistant told me that, to get into online banking, I have to try to log into it, then they tell me an access code on the phone, then I can get in. So I asked the guy in the shop to use his computer as well as his phone. The bank website let me straight in to online banking - on his computer - with no access code!?! I almost told the assistant what I thought of Wells Fargo, but I didn't swear - I only do that to men who work for airlines. Then I went across the road, and the bank let me have cash using my ATM card?!?

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