Sunday 19 March 2017

The last ride of the trip... With an impromptu adventure!

 The phone which I'd been using to navigate since Hoi An, after an Australian man gave me his spare one in exchange for a cigarette after I told him I'd gotten there from Mui Ne just using a map and a compass somehow went missing on my bus ride to Bangkok. I bought a new one there and have been using 'offline maps' since, and boy is it interesting. I opted to avoid the highways, as I don't like dicing with death too much among the speeding trucks, buses and vans amid the melee of motorcycles and their unpredictable behaviour - listening, rather than looking seems to be the norm here, and so pulling out without looking is something that happens all the damn time, and it's bloody scary... not to mention noisy if you're relying on horns instead of your own eyes. It's no mystery why there's so many deaths on the roads here!
 Anyway, this offline maps app decided to take me on a 'short cut' away from the major highways. A shortcut which consisted of footpaths trailing along rice paddies, trying to find my way around once existent bridges that are no more, and testing my nerve once again of taking my bike over water on a bridge which literally made my heart pound. I seemed to have acquired a few fears during my time travelling. A fear of sinks, cows, and taking my bike over water (Congo). 'Fear' might not be the best word. Cautious seems more fitting. But look at that bridge below and imagine pumping yourself up to ride your heavily laden bike over those rickety, flimsy planks, whereby if your balance was put at stake for any reason your foot would just go over the edge... Those children told me it was fine. As an old woman did who isn't in the picture. I did the crossing, as steady and as fast as I could, and to be honest, it felt great with adrenaline pumping through my body once again. Fuck, that was scary. And in one of the best ways possible with my soon to be departed bike.

 Yes, the road to Vietnam's biggest city...

To the biggest city.

Yes, the shortcut away from the highway...

The shortcut didn't work after a while. Offline maps seems to think that I can ride over bodies of water, through farm land and none-existent villages, and I ended up joining the highway. Still, I am very thankful that I had one more day of surprising excitement with my bike before I rode it back to Ho Chi Minh City. It was a pleasure. All of it.

I'm in Ho Chi Minh now. Got a hostel for the next four nights; a pod like structure. Never slept in one before but I quite like them. It was very, very strange, and kind of sad riding my bike back to where I started. I'm a pretty sentimental guy. But still, all things must change. I've written an advert for my bike to post it around the hostels in District 1, and tomorrow I shall have to give it a clean. It has four and a half months worth of travel etched into it. I think buyers would prefer a shiny bike.

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