Bathing: mud and sun stylie
The 12th of January marks our 18th month away. It started early, our neighbour the cockrel started his cock-a-do-dul-do kareoke at around 3.30, as his had done every ‘morning’ since we arrived in the relaxed beach town on Mui Ne. The sun has had his hat on too since we rode out of Nha Trang, and as we cycled past huge sand dunes to the right and crashing waves to the left, we both breathed in the warm salty air and exchanged knowing looks that this is a place to stay a few days. We quickly fell into the the morning ritual of riding out to our favored local Bahn Me stall for breakie and banter with the locals, followed by a couple of cafe sua’s and then hit the beach. Having finished reading my book, my tanning time has been accompanied by listening to various comedy shows on my ipod. The local ladies selling fruit seemed to find it hilarious as they watched me erupt into fits of (not so silent) laughter every few minutes. I was unaware of my voyeurs as I was under my well loved Herm hat, but Pete joined the ladies laughing over my giggles. I love laughing. There’s nothing quite like a good belly full of laughter. A real belly acher so it actually hurts. When we were riding across the desert in China I had to stop cycling as I was beyond recovery while tuned into some Mitchell & Webb sketches…I was a danger on the highway unable to control myself, nor the bike. So when I lift my head from under my hat and look out at the active kite surfers, I don’t feel lazy in the slightest, my muscles are getting their own work out session.
Other things that have really made me laugh incredibly loudly, and also scream from the top of my lungs, has been our recent visit to Vinpearl Island. Having met a couple of English girls during the intimacy of sharing a mud bath in Nha Trang together, we all decided it would be great to continue our bikini clad bond with a day trip to a water park. Armed with rubber rings and the eagerness of kids we did the rounds. Screams submerged and giggles gurged as we flew down the flumes and bombed into the finishing pools. As the wave machine started I was delighted to see that all bar a few splasher-abouters were adults, the laughs were deeper and the screams saucier, and it seemed to me that water with a dash of fear go a long way to helping us act our shoe size and not our age. I love it!
My latest bout of grinning from ear to ear has been meeting Hung, my knight in shining armour, a bike mechanic in Saigon. He has managed where so many others have failed. If you are sitting comfortably I shall begin. Once upon a time, about 7,000 kilometres ago, astride her trusty stead a fair maid went. Over mountain and through desert, across plains, under branch and bow they rode together, but loyal and sturdy as her stead was, time and great distance had lamed the beast. From hamlet to hamlet they went in search of a great master that might cure the ailing creature, but none could be found. Many tried, but all failed. So it was with an air of resignation that the fair maid told her predicament to the youthful Master Hung. Young as he was, wisdom lay in those eyes of his and with hands on hips he sank into a depth of thought for a long while. After the sun had stretched it’s fingers to the furthest fields Master Hung proclaimed he knew how to heal her stead, and that she should return to him once the crescent moon had risen and fallen and the birds had greeted the new dew of the day. And so, the fair maid returned to Hung, and like Excalibur was to Arthur in his palm, he did indeed have the magic touch. The fair maids stead was as revived and fresh as the morn they had set out together, all those many moons ago. Ere any of you should befall a similar fate with your own trusty stead, I hope this tale leads you to the door of young Master Hung. My humble hero in Ho Chi Minh.
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If you find yourself in Saigon with a bike that needs a little tlc, go and see Hung –
Le hoang Probike co. ltd 283/ 62-64
(this in alley on left side from number 283)
Cach Mang Thang 8 Str Ward 12
Dist 10 HCM Vietnam