A 32 year old woman's wet dream
Trip Start Dec 22, 2010
7Trip End Jan 21, 2011
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I must confess, I was a bit nervous. I have had my MC license for two years now, but haven't had much riding experience more than a few miles on scooters around town in Encinitas. Mr Sao, our Vietnamese mechanic that is coming along on this three day motorbike ride, is showing me how it works. It is a 125CC, four stroke, forest green Soviet-era Minsk. I fall in love with it right away and name her Mina
We take off, Dino in the front followed by me then Josh and Mr Sao in the back. It is a beautiful day and the sun is shining and makes the rice fields shine so vivid green as we swosh by. A permanent grin on my face still. I just couldn't stop smiling! The warm wind in my hair (well helmet) sweeping up my pant legs making them flap, the magical synchronization between giving more gas and shifting gears. Ahhhhh it was a FANTASTIC feeling of freedom. We ride trough endless rice-fields watching men and women in wide brim hats bent over working hard planting the rice seedlings, we drive trough little villages where children run out of their homes just to wave hello or stretch out their hands for a high 5. Witch I, after a few attempts, finally managed to accomplish. Not easy to let go of the handle while manage to ride on small little bumpy roads for a novice like me.
The scenery is spectacular and we pass waterfalls, rivers and more little villages. Around sunset we hear the sound of drums and we stop at a village to see what the occasion is. We are in luck. They are in the midst of a harvest celebration and we are invited. This is why I travel. This is what makes my heart leap with joy and what life is all about: to experience new exciting situations, to meet new people and to get charged up with new inspiration!
We watch the men play the drums as the women, dressed up in traditional clothing dances around a buffalo, that will later be sacrificed and eaten
The following morning we wake up to a rainbow, I look at it as a sign of luck, Dino as a sign of rain. And so it is. This day we start to ride on the infamous Ho Chi Minh trail. This legendary route was not just one, but many paths that together formed one of the major supply links for the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong during the American War. Troops and supplies was transported trough this very difficult terrain of dense jungle and steep mountains crossing over to neighboring Laos and finally, reached their final destination in southern Vietnam. If they survived. Thousands died from Malaria and the enemies bombs.
Today this is one of the most beautiful roads I have ever seen. We brave the rain and ride for 7 hours over high mountain passes and down deep jungle clad valleys, trough mud and along rushing rivers. Even though I wear rain gear, I am completely soaked. My helmet is covered with mud and my gloves are dripping of hand sweat
I think of all the men and women that has braved these mountains ( I'm pretty sure a few of you reading this as well) during the war and how lucky I am to be here on other terms. This place is too beautiful not to experience now. It is magical. Imagine Jurassic Park meets Motor Magazine shaped curves and switch backs, zig-zaging trough a maze of waterfalls and streams. This must be Heaven on Earth.
I keep this in mind as we start to get closer to civilization and it is time to get your blessings from the MC Buddha and start passing (and be passed) in bone rattling speeds. My heart almost leaps out of my chest as I shift down and start to pass a truck filled with 100-s of treas. It doesn't give me much space and I scramble in the mud next to the lip of the narrow road. I don't have a choice. This is it. No space for errors. And I do it. I manage to pass and I feel victorious. I really did it. I have never felt so close to death yet so alive in my life. An interesting and electrifying feeling that gives me strength and courage for the rest of the ride all the way the city of Hue. Here we celebrate at a roadside Lao-style BBQ hole-in-the-wall for dinner. Josh and Mr Sao eats chicken feet. I have the best BBQ pork I have ever had.I sleep very good that night as our soaked socks and clothes are being washed and dried in the hotel lobby.
Our last day we wake up to more rain. My hands are locked into a constant claw-looking position after holding on to the throttle with a death grip. We start out slow and hope for the weather Gods to be merciful to us