First long ride in Vietnam

Sunday was going to be the transit day.

I was initially happy, because on Saturday it was raining a lot until 1 pm, and Sunday seemed all clear, on multiple weather apps too.

Packing the bike took me almost an hour – as expected. Since there was an additional bag that I was going to leave in hanoi, but nobody wanted to keep it for me for 3 months, had to go with me too. Inside were the motorbike accessories that I took from Poland (phone holder and disc lock – none was useful here), winter jacket and some more.

This is the final version. Quite happy with weight distribution too.

The problem was at the gas station. I forgot that refuelling takes place after opening the seat up. Which meant dismantling everything and putting back together after.

The road was nice for initial 60 kilometers. Not too much traffic (Sunday!), very few passbyers…

However, 40 kilometers before my destination, it started raining. Initially lightly, then heavy storm came. I decided to stop next to the road and wait under the roof.

2 hours passed. Each weather app was telling me that there is no rain, neither chance of in my area. Either I should have my eyes fixed, or those apps suck. Started browsing, and several sources confirmed, that those apps accuracy is so low that I could as well stop using them.

Time was passing by, rain by no means was getting lighter. Had to make a choice:

wait several more hours (and possibly drive in the dark), or

drive now.

Chose to drive, since the temperature also dropped significantly. Had my raincoat, however it wasn’t completely covering me, and the wind wasn’t helping either.

Only 40 kilometers, I can do that.

FUUUUUUCK!!!

AAAARGH!!!

I can do it, can do it….

On the semi highway, there were intersection, where the trucks coming from the opposite directions, were crossing my lane while turning left (I was going straight).

What do you think, the correct answer to the following question would be?

What does the truck driver do, while turning left on a motorway?

A) turns with the steady speed, regardless the traffic on the opposite lane

B) doesn’t honk or use the indicator light

C) cuts right ahead of your vehicle, because he’s larger

D) all above answers are correct and widely accepted in Vietnam.

Of course it is D. It happened to me twice during that heavy rain. Heavy rain means that the breaking possibilities were really limited.

Once I decided not to break, since I would most probably lie the motorbike down. It was a very, very close call, given that the truck driver didn’t even put the foot of the gas. I would say if I was at the intersection 1/4 of second later, crash would be imminent.

So next time I saw at similar intersection the truck going opposite direction, I stopped breaking much ahead. Out of 5 intersections, it saved me from hard breaking, or crashing, once.

Halfway there I was all wet. Also, because those fucking trucks were overtaking me, mostly with speed difference of no more than 10 km/h, meaning that the water splashes from the puddles were all over me.

Cursing in every known language, I had few kilometers from the destination left. My phone, which had a navigation launched, started dieing. It had a full battery, but it absorbed so much water, that started launching various apps randomly. Luckily, I managed to turn them off (while driving), and putting the navi back. When it told me I arrived at my destination, I clicked “finish the navigation”. This was when the phone became dead, white screen of dead, not responding to touch neither to buttons.

And yet, I wasn’t at the place. And nobody spoke english in where I arrived.

Only thing to do was sit down and cry. Did for 2 minutes, then got my shit together, trying to remember the name of the place I had my booking done. Started driving around.

Is it surprising, that once I was at the destination, the fucking rain stopped?

At the “homestay”, it turned out that the owner didn’t speak english. Neither anyone around that could translate into vietnamese. And I didn’t have a way to use google translate.

Soaking wet and pissed off as fuck I started repeating:

room, reservation, room, Artur, reservation, booking, room.

The guy connected the dots after 2 minutes. Now wanted to fill in the form, take the passport and so on. And all I wanted was to get that bloody key and take off that fucking wet clothes, since I was shivering.

Few minutes later, I was finally shown the way to the room. There was no hot water, but there was something, that was a blessing after that shitty day. A HAIRDRYER. I was directing the hot air on me, wet dead phone, and clothes for 2 hours.

The good thing (always look on the bright side of life, as per saying) was that I had a bag with winter jacket with me. It was the only dry, warm cover I had left. Blessing the fact that I didn’t leave it Hanoi, I put it on.

Willing to finish the day, ordered dinner and the hot tea with ginger&lemon, and after several more hours with hairdryer in hands finished the day.

Reassuming the day:

Motorbike survived severe conditions, new phone that I bought few weeks before the trip unfortunately didn’t.

Fucking truck drivers, to hell with all of them.

Speak vietnamese or die.

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