Saturday, May 30, 2015
Today was the day that we were going to ride motorbikes from Hue to Hoi An.
Johnny: Have you ever ridden a motorbike (scooter)?
Me: No….but I’ve ridden a 4-wheeler, so how different can it be?
I was actually really excited! That is…until I got on the bike for my mini-lesson. That is when I started to get nervous. I wouldn’t say it was hard, I just wasn’t comfortable. At least not comfortable enough to feel confident about driving on the streets of Vietnam, but oh well, HERE WE GO!
Let’s talk about Vietnam traffic. Here are the rules:
- Don’t look back, look forward.
- Honk your horn, this will save your life.
- Be confident, and just go.
For example, say you approach an intersection…
- First decide, do I need to slow down and stop? or is there enough time for me to go?
- If you decide to go, HONK YOUR HORN.
- Once you are going through that intersection THERE IS NO STOPPING. Don’t be indecisive, you just go, and trust that not only will you swerve if needed but so will everyone else around you.
The first couple hours weren’t so bad, and we had pit stops for water and pictures 🙂
Only one thing went wrong in the morning…
From what I remember, we had been following a truck for a while (he wasn’t going very fast), and at one point he stops so Johnny passes him. I was behind Johnny, so, thinking that the truck would REMAIN STOPPED, I followed. I honked my horn to let the driver know I was coming, but I guess he decided he needed my space too because before I knew it, he was coming towards me, I was frantically trying to brake/honk (on a sandy/gravel road, by the way), and then all the sudden I was going towards the ground.
We were previously stopped behind him, so my bike was barely moving, therefore the “crash” was more of a “fall”. My group rushed towards me and helped get the bike off of me. Nothing was broken, YAY! But I didn’t have some pretty intense cuts and the start of some pretty good bruises.
I took these shots later in the day:
After my cuts were tended to, it was time to go. I didn’t want to accept defeat, and I didn’t want to ruin the trip for the group, so I go right back on the bike, and drove to our lunch spot.
Once we got to Suoi Voi (Elephant Springs), I was hot, thirsty, and definitely tense. I was also INCREDIBLY grumpy that we had to walk at least 1 km to our lunch spot, but it was so worth it.
The cold water was exactly what I needed!
Me, VERY HAPPY 🙂
After about a 3 hour break, we needed to get going so that we could make it to the Tai Van Pass before sunset. Being on highways, going up and down mountains, with GIANT trucks is not my definition of fun, but it was necessary in order to get to the best part.
The Tai Van Pass.
Love this group!
After the pass we hit Da Nang, and this is when I hit the level of “Road Rage”. I had been on the bike for about 5-6 hours at that point, so I was definitely feeling more comfortable with the accelerator/breaks, but I was also tired and uncomfortable. We drove along the beach on a Saturday night at RUSH HOUR, which meant everyone and their mother wanted to get in my way. Some of you may know I tend to use “colorful” language, so every time someone cut me off, or just got in my way, I told them how I felt 🙂 Whether it was the road rage or the fact that I had been driving all day, I was actually doing really well!
Once we passed the city limits we hit streches of flat and empty roads so we were booking it! My speedometer was broken, but I think I heard we were going 80 kph (~50 mph).
At about 7:15 we FINALLY MADE IT TO THE HOSTEL, and the manager was ready with beers (cider for me!).
WHAT AN EPIC DAY!!!
There were definitely moments where I was absolutely terrified, but I would TOTALLY do it all over again!
Love always, Arianna the Wandering Pipette