We had a police escort from our hotel in Vientiane, yesterday, to the border between Laos and Thailand - the Friendship Bridge. Formalities were straightforward and soon we were on the main road heading south towards Bangkok.
The drive was on good dual carriageway and this was a welcome break after the Lao roads. On the second attempt we even found the correct express way to bring us into Bangkok near to our hotel and this avoid the majority of the city traffic. This was good because all workshops here are shut on Sundays and we had work to do on the car. Diana (Rick, our organiser's wife) had just arrive from London and brought with her the spare parts for the suspension that had failed to get to Xi'an by DHL. I got them from her straight away and set off looking for a car workshop and found one less than 100 yards from the hotel door. They were surprised to see someone in an old Aston Martin abd all came rushing to see. WIth the aid of the manager calling the owner (who spoke English on his mobile phone we established that I wanted to buy some good quality oil and do an oil change. We got the car on the lift to do this and I asked them if they could also change the suspension bushes - which they agreed to do. Since I had arrived at 5.30 and they usually shut at 6 this meant that they stayed late, but the entire staff hung around to participate. With some timely advice over the phone from the UK, we managed to replace the bushes and suspension radius arm that has been knocking, finishing just before 9 p.m. I apologised for keeping them late and gave the mechanic some extra money to take his team out for a drink - which went down extremely well.
I was rather late joining a group of the others for a good Thai dinner and then we wandered through the street markets for a bit before retiring to bed.
Today Charlotte went to a tailors and got measured up for a couple of silk dresses. They have already started cutting out and now (6 p.m.) she is back there for a fitting. We will be back in Bangkok on our way to Darwin later this month to pick them up. Invitations to smart parties when we get home, gladly accepted.
This afternoon, we have been on a 'long tail' boat on the backwaters and then on the main river, seeing the sights along the river.