Motorbike Diaries Continued:
There were shirts in Thailand that said “same same” on the front and “but different” on the back. I never did figure out what it exactly meant while in Thailand, but it came to mind while driving today. It was another day, actually the longest day for us so far, 230 km! It was same as yesterday, but different.
Small town after small town, strung together by humpback mountains and patchwork rice fields. More kids waving at us from the backs of scooters and the fronts of houses, more stray dogs laying in the middle of the road and playing in groups on the side of the road, more sugarcane being cut, gathered, and carried on the backs of scooters, more water buffalos walking in the middle of the street and cages of chickens sitting on curbs. All the same as yesterday, but different.
It’s kind of like watching a gorgeous sunset while there are big, puffy clouds in the sky. With each passing minute, and each incremental change in the height of the sun, the light changes. The sun streams through a different cloud or a shadow from another cloud becomes more apparent or the colors change from Orange to purple. So in the course of one sunset, you end up taking 25 different pictures because, to you, it looks different. To an outsider, someone who didn’t watch each minute of change, all 25 pictures will probably look the same, though.
Same same, but different.
A few highlights and some of my favorite moments from today:
– 5 km into driving this morning, we passed 2 police officers standing on the side of the road looking for people to pull over. Both of us later agreed we thought it was all over at that point. Luckily, we kept looking forward and they didn’t follow us.
– I almost ran over two chickens today. Seriously, why did the chicken cross the road? Maybe the answer is, ‘To become Sammie’s dinner.’
– Did I mention we rode for 230 km!?!?!? That’s double what we did our first day.
– We had to go to two different places for lunch. The first place understood ‘coffee’ and brought out two. But they didn’t understand food or my amazing sign language for food, so we had to go down the road to another place
– A few of my favorite snippets of conversation between Adam and me:
Me: 22 miles until Huong Khe.
Adam: To Telford and back. To Telford and back. To Telford and back.
Me: What are you mumbling?
Adam: It’s the town Kelly’s parents live in. It’s about 11.5 miles one way, so I’m just psyching myself up for it….
I must have given him a weird look because he then said:
Adam: Fuck off, numbnuts!
And I laughed and laughed.
17 miles later.
Me: 5 miles to go.
Adam: Half way to Telford. 😉
We’d been going down the same highway for 130 km. We stopped to have an orange in a random driveway.
Me: Let me just make sure we’re going the right way.
Adam: I’d strangle you.
Me: “What if we’d forgotten our passports today…” (our hostel in Tam Coc forgot to give them back when we checked out. We almost rode away without them)
Adam: I’d drive to the next airport and fly the fuck out of here.
Me: You couldn’t! You wouldn’t have your passport!
Adam: I’d tell you to put your earplugs in, I’d go up to that little hill, and I’d scream, ‘FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!’ and then I’d drive back, get my passport, drive to the nearest airport, leave Hank in front of the airport with the key (free to a good home) and fly the fuck out of here.
(I’m laughing so hard I’m crying at this point)
Me: Well, we’re only 3 days in. There’s plenty of time for that possibility.
Adam: Fucking hell, can you imagine. Getting to the next hotel, them asking for your passport, and realizing you left it at the last one… bloody hell.
Me: “I’m not as tired after today as I was yesterday. I was so tired yesterday and we kept walking past fruit stand after fruit stand and I just wanted to yell, ‘What am I supposed to do with that fruit the size of my head?! Just get me something on a plate and chopsticks!! And a spoon for this guy.’
Adam: Below the fucking belt!!
(This is funny because Adam can’t use chopsticks)
Adam: There was this huge puddle today, and there was fuckall on the road (English for there was nothing else around), and I was like, ‘she won’t go through it, she won’t go through it, she won’t go through it’ and then you fucking went through it and .5 seconds later, SPLAT, dirt all over my fucking face mask because SOMEONE doesn’t have a fucking mud guard.
Me: laughing so hard I’m crying
Adam trying to explain an expression he used to me.
Me: I still don’t get it.
Adam : Nevermind, it’s an English expression.
Me: I speak English.
Adam: Not the mother tongue, you don’t!
And that’s about it! Nothing else notable happened………
Ok, ok, fine. Adam said I HAVE to tell you guys… I fell on my bike. Or, actually, the bike fell on me.
So we were 130 km into today’s trip and looking for a gas station. We hadn’t seen one for at least 40 km and Adam’s bike is a gas guzzler (truly). So when we came around a bend and I saw a tiny sign above some bushes for gas, I pulled over a bit too quickly. The driveway of the station was thick, wet mud. I braked too quickly while driving through it, got stuck in it, stalled my bike, put my foot down to steady the bike, but was too late and the weight of the bike was too much. It was a pretty slow, graceful fall as I had both hands on the ground to steady myself and one leg under the bike.
By the time Adam got to me I was laughing my ass off. He asked if I was ok. I said yes, just stuck. He helped me up without taking a picture (bless his heart, I’d have snapped a picture if our positions had been reversed. I told him this straight away after he helped me up and he agreed it was a missed opportunity).
I checked myself and my bike. Luckily the only thing that was bruised was my ego. 2 gas station attendants and 3 people filling up their bikes stood watching amusement 100 feet away.
Day 3 and our longest ride yet: completed!