I picked up my new Australian passport today from the embassy here in Hanoi. Another Australian guy was doing the same thing. He had just come back from the Vietnamese immigration office and they needed a letter from the Australian embassy for him to get a new visa. The Australian embassy official didn’t know this, so he made one up for me also.

This was just at around 11:30 and the immigration office closes for lunch between 11:30 and 1:30 pm, so I also took a break for lunch. Back at the immigration office I run into the Australian guy again. He had just finished submitting the paperwork and was complaining that it was going to take a week. Another week’s wait in Hanoi, I thought.

Fortunately the immigration lady said I could pick it up on the 21st – only three days of waiting, but would cost US$35. The Aussie guy said his was going to cost $10. I don’t really like arguing with immigration officials but wanted to know why my friend’s visa was only going to cost $10. She explained that since I was on my second visa or something that it would cost more.

Who knows the real story, but you can’t really negotiate too much with socialist government officials.

It was a hot and humid day today which didn’t make it any easier. I was thinking of going back to Thailand and then Laos, but I think now I will just fly to Laos from here and make my way by land to Thailand.