Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Driver

(PICTURE: My "Easy Rider" driver)

As I mentioned, yesterday I took a day long motorbike tour with this company called "Easy Rider" (They named themselves after the classic movie). Well, my ride wasn't so easy post lunch following this conversation:
Ben: So how long have you been an easy rider?
Hung: Seven years.
Ben: What were you doing before that?
Hung: I was teaching in high school. Mathematics. Eight years. But boring. 
Ben: So you became an easy rider after that?
Hung: No. I was taxi driver. But I got in accident and killed a man. So I become a motorbike driver. Lets go...

And then we got on his bike and rode off. 

Da Lat

(PICTURE: The Future Mrs. August?)

Lana in Cambodia has a new rival. Mom, Dad meet Kalak. I met Kalak today on my bike tour of Da Lat. One of our many stops was a minority village (there are something like 70 minority tribes in Vietnam. I don't have my guide book with me but that number sounds vaguely familiar) and I was given a private tour by Kalak. Not only was she cute and sweet but she spoke English really well (learned just from tourists) and had a great sense of humor.

From talking with her I found out that she's the fourth of seven daughters in her family. Her three older sisters have gotten married already which means she's next. She told me that women in her tribe need to give a dowry of 6 buffalo, twenty scarves and something else ridiculous to the future husband's family. I asked if she knew who she was going to marry and she told me this: "No. If I buy the buffalo I get to choose my husband. If my parents buy the buffalo they get to choose." For those of you who are curious, she currently has bought three buffaloes for herself. A buffalo costs roughly $350. That's an insane amount of money for anyone in Vietnam and especially for people in her village. So, if we all chip in a few bucks we could help contribute to Kalak's future happiness. Oh, FYI, Kalak also hinted to me that her friend from the village married a tourist and now lives in Seattle. Zev, how would Rocky and Bella like to have some buffalo to play with in your back yard?