Memory a day #13 – Easy Riders

It was January 2011 and It was only my first week in Vietnam. Without any driving experience on those bustling roads three friends and I grabbed a motorbike and ventured off on a five day trip through the country side and highlands with Easy Riders on our way from Nha Trang to Hoi An. The first five minutes is all it took to learn the rules of the road. As I had my head down adjusting something on my bike I heard a loud honk. I looked up and there was a massive truck headed my way on MY side of the road forcing me to the dirt shoulder going about 60 km/h. Luckily I kept control and got out of its way with only a lesson. The rule of the road is: the bigger you are, the more powerful you are on the road. People give way to motorbikes. Motorbikes give way to small cars. Small cars to vans. Vans to trucks. So pay attention if you’re riding out there.

We rode through rain and dust. We road by the ocean and through mountain peaks. We kept ourselves dry with whatever garment we possessed when it rained, rainproof or not. We kept our faces covered through the sand storms and the constant wind. For the next few days we saw Vietnam through a lens that wouldn’t have been possible in any other way. Our frequent stops in towns and villages allowed us to interact with people outside of the hot tourist spots. In fact, I don’t recall interacting with any tourist the whole five days. It was just me three friends and our guide Bo. We ate fresh vegetables, organic chicken (when I used to eat meat) and I was almost persuaded to drink snake blood. We would end most nights with a few shots of “Happy water” which is the Vietnamese version of Sake without the hangover. We crashed an outdoor housewarming party of at least 100 guests where we ended on stage performing made-up music. We were offered bamboo rice by poor villagers as an offering for their new year. We drank Vietnamese coffee on the daily. We visited an orphanage where we spent some time playing with the kids and learning about how they got there. Rode an elephant. Rode our motorbike across a suspension bridge. We even stopped in a village and helped a family hand wash their clothes in a river stream.

It was a fulfilling trip in every way imaginable. We gave. We received. We saw. We laughed. We drank. And most importantly we made life long friendships. I definitely recommend an Easy Rider tour if you are ever in Nha Trang, Vietnam.

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