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Published: July 28th 2011
Stumbling past the moped as Shauna continued laughing at me, I flipped up the seat setting my camera in grabbing the water swallowing a great quantity then offering her some. She took a couple of sips then tossed it all inside. Jumping on we punched the go button and spun the moped down the driveway. Veering left we tried our original line but soon learned we went the wrong direction. Just to clarify this for us a kid of maybe 10-years old came running out of a building yelling in English, "Get out of here you Americans! Get! Go! Leave!" Shauna starred the kid in the eyes, his devilish methods of anarchy and rebellion from years of abuse... wait, he's TEN.. what the... "Too bad we are Canadians. We might look the same but we are different. Would you like me to call you Chinese," she expressed as I maneuvered the moped around to head back in search of the obscure building.
"Excellent work. You just told a ten year old off. How does it feel?" I questioned between laughing and breathing. "Seriously? He was wrong." "Yep. And you let him know that. Think he had an American English teacher?"
I said still laughing as we sped off down the alley way. Rounding the corner we tried a more direct approach down a bumpy dirty road. Pulling up alongside the buildings concrete fence, I set the moped down on its kickstand. "How long do you want to hang at this one?" "Not long. Just a couple of pics." We walked off in opposite directions. Five minutes later I decided to show Shauna all the buttons and explain the procedures on how to drive a moped then asked her to drive it down the alley and back. She took off without hesitating and nearly clipped a telephone pole. Laughing, I turned to my right to see a small gathering of school children at a daycare watching me, laugh at Shauna.
"Hello," I said waving to the kids with an ear to ear grin. "Hello. Where are you from?" Came the response. "Canada." (It's so much easier to explain it this way. Come on like they really need to know where I grew up, and the adventurous life I took to get to this point. I mean I could have said "South Korea" hahaha) "Are you okay over there?"
I said watching Shauna doing a ten-point turn around. "Yes." And she gripped the throttle unleashing the Yamaha's power as she came speeding back down the bumpy roadway. "Okay. Ready to go?" I said climbing onto the back. "No way. You drive. We'd fersure crash if I drive." "Enough said," I said as she stood up and walked around me to jump on the back. Turning I waved to my new friends and said, "Goodbye all."
Five minutes alter we crested the round about following in the direction the xe oem went earlier. Pulling around the wide road was a breeze. Merging... was different since there were dogs and chickens in the road. Honking they both looked up at us but didn't take to the horn sound well. Suppose not, since they too probably have no hearing left from the passing buses. Cruising down the road we eventually came upon a street light, turning my head I said, "left or straight?" No reply. "Well?" No reply. I sped off straight through the light. "It looks like it might be a resort? Don't you think?" "Not really paying attention to the surroundings just watching for objects in the
road," I replied. Thirty seconds later a security guard jumped out of a booth as I slowed to pass through a gate. "Private property. This is hotel," he said gently. "No worries. Sorry." "Told you," came the voice behind me.
Back to the light we turned right heading down the vacant roadway. No other vehicles were in sight. Pulling around the corner, I yielded to the nonexistent traffic pointing out the boxes and boxes of silver fish in front of another fish oil factory. Relating the information from the LP and my observations back at the temple. Fifteen minutes or so later we had seen one other vehicle. This is when I pulled to the edge of the road. "What's going on?" Shauna questioned. "Thought you should drive a bit," I said. I went over the previous instructions, to be sure she caught onto everything. "No worries," she said as I stepped back onto the bike. "Whow! You are a bit heavier than I was expecting." "Ditto," I replied sarcastically. "What? You think I am heavy?" "Kidding. No grab the throttle and lets get outta here!"
Shauna sped off at the controls. At first I was skeptical as
she kept paying attention to everything but the road until I reminded her that she was the driver. "Oh yea. I've got it under control. Is that a bus behind us?" She inquired. Trying to look back over my shoulder was just not working out well, so I looked over her shoulder into the side mirror. "Yep. White and coming up quickly. Just slow down and try to follow the white edge line," I encouraged. Forty-two seconds later the sound of the buses horn reached our ears, ten seconds after that the bus crashed past with a loud Whoooooosh! "Thought you said the road was clear?" "Who am I Houdini? Think I know when everything's going to happen?" "You," she began than noticed a bus coming in the opposing direction. Happy to have her paying attention to the road. I helped search out in front of us for possible hazards and vehicles coming. After twenty-five minutes of driving she became restless at the controls. "Can you take over? My hands are starting to shake," my chauffeur explained. "Yep. Whenever you are ready." Slowly she pulled off to the side of the road.
"Some pretty scenery out this direction," I
stated as we popped the seat to get the water bottle out. "Sure is. This is pretty easy to handle. I liked driving it. Thanks," she said, "It's really beautiful around here. The green rolling knolls running into the sandy dunes slipping off down to the beach." "Yep. Looks like we'll need some petrol soon for both the moped and myself," I replied. "Okay. Let's make that our next objective." Switching spots, closing the seat and kicking the Yamaha back to life we sped off down the roadway through twisting, turning, dry heat as the landscaped swirled around us.
Slowing down for a sign pointing three routes designated Phan Thiet 22 km, Mui Ne 6 km and Bun Tai 61 km shifting around the bend to the right we spotted several buses lined up in front of random shacks as people walked swiftly across the street towards the base of sand dunes. People waved at us as Shauna waved back, I accelerated down the road it slowly slipping down a shallow hill sliding towards the coast than wrapping back inland along a gray guardrail. Gripping the throttle on the way down we sped up watching the acceleration
break 60 kmph (37 mph) the wind whipping past our ears. Leveling out the road began ascending as I released the grip on the throttle. Slowing up the hill we broke the top in time to see a large sandbar lying across the road. Bringing us nearly to a stop I crept along the only inches of asphalt open near the roads edge. Pulling away from the sand edge at a slower speed, "If you see a petrol stand let me know?" I said looking at the driveways on our right. Avoiding a backing up bus we rolled down the road. One resort after the next. Men sitting beneath umbrellas smoking cigarettes, listening to radios, sleeping or playing cards. The road bent right opening up to five single story buildings all crammed for space. "I think that was a petrol stand back there," Shauna's voice stated. Pulling to the side of the road. I glanced back over my shoulder. Sure enough, the little petrol stand sat out front with a motorist climbing back onto their motor scooter.
Spinning around on the roadway we glided over, pulling to the side of the road and killing the engine. Setting down the
Marinated pork, rice, egg, vegetables
kickstand, we lifted the seat and twisted off the gas cap. A little Vietnamese lady came out wearing a floral print shirt, pink flip flops and white pants. Her small daughter following placing her weather beaten hat on her head as her mother did. She stood a few feet away admiring us. The woman gestured at the petrol in the 5-liter tank asking how much we wanted? "How much?" Shauna asked. "Let's fill it up," I said as the lady cranked the fuel arm releasing the fuel into the tank. Two point three liters later the tank was full. Walking over I picked up a 1.5 liter of water and grabbed a bag of fruit chips. "Let's just sit and have a drink," I said. "Okay. I'll move the moped." Paying for the fuel and snacks I walked out front sitting down in one of two wooden chairs. Sitting down we drank the water, ate the snack chips and spotted two monkeys caged in the yard. "Think they are pets?" I stated pointing across the yard. "Why not? It'd be like dogs in our country." Then, "I'm hungrier than this bag of fruit chips. Let's find something to eat." "Okay," I said feeling the hunger too, "Why not that place across the street? Unless you saw something else back there?" "Nope. It looks okay. If they are open?"
I hoped on the moped, pressed it to life and spun it around in the street pulling it inside the open gate as Shauna crossed the road on foot. Parking the moped, we stepped over to the table, inquiring about lunch. The man smiled and cleared off the table. Then went to an open door. He spoke to the kitchen person. Returning with a pitcher of water. Shauna showed him the pee-pee dance and they wandered off together around the side of the building. Sitting down under the shade of two tall trees, I poured out a rich deep liquid into two cups. Laying my hands on the table, I smiled at what the morning had brought us thus far. Taking a sip of the rich liquid the tea instantly hit my lips sliding down my taste buds its deep ginseng taste cursing through the sugared water. When Shauna returned from the toilet, it was my turn. Following her directions I spotted an open door at the back of the building. Ducking beneath the low door, I was in a room with a squat toilet, and a sink. The walls barely taller than I. And I could hear the kitchen worker singing while preparing the meal.
Returning to the table, I washed my hands with sanitizer Shauna had out of her bag. A few minutes later the man returned with two very large plates of food. Thankful. We all smiled. Picking up utensils, I said, "he must have read my mind. I am famished." "Me too." Without another word the two of us began eating. We forgot to speak for the next twelve minutes as we hungrily ate the rice, vegetables, egg and marinated pieces of pork. Tremendous. "Do you want to get this and I'll get dinner later?" I asked. "Okay. Are you ready to go?" "As soon as you pay," I smiled.
"Every time I pay for something I feel like I am being ripped off. But then when I calculate the exchange rate it feels pretty good. Even though I know he didn't charge that other guy the same price," Shauna said securing her helmet and sitting down on the moped. Stirring the engine we pulled out through the gate speeding off to our right back on the road to somewhere...
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