Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back to Justin...

Over the next few days we're going to travel back in time together and talk about my five days with Justin. With the timing of my parents' visit, I wasn't able to blog about my adventures with my cousin. Well, now is the time.

The most nerve wracking part of anyone's visit are the first twenty minutes or so after they rent a motorbike. We always rent the bikes in the Old Quarter which is perhaps the worst place to begin learning to ride. The streets are really narrow there and there is exponentially more foot traffic/obstacles to steer around. Before taking Justin to the Old Quarter I gave him a quick tutorial in my neighborhood. I had no doubt that Justin would be an excellent rider since his only form of transportation over the last few years has been a bicycle in Boston. Furthermore, Justin is a pretty gifted athlete and has great coordination. My only concern for Justin was that he would start to day dream while on his bike and smash into something in front of him. I specifically told him, "Justin always keep focused on the road in front of you. That's the most important thing. Oh, and the second most important thing is you should really never be in first gear."

After a few laps around my 'hood, Justin and I went to the Old Quarter to get a bike from Mr. M, my bike dealer. Mr. M asked us where we were going and I said Mai Chau. He then informed me that he didn't have a bike available for Justin -- despite an unrented bike parked right next to him. Mr. M pointed us to a bike shop down the street and said they could rent us a bike as long as we didn't tell them we were going to Mai Chau. Translation: No bike dealer likes to put mileage on their bikes so lie. This is also clearly why Mr. M didn't rent us his bike.

So Justin and I went down the street and rented a bike from a travel agency. The bike Justin got looked brand new and by far better than my bike. The two of us then saddled up and began to ride back to my house so we could pack for our journey. On the way back I had one eye on the road and one eye on Justin in my rear-view mirror. I breathed a sigh of relief after just a minute because Justin completely had the hang of the bike. He was doing a great job AND staying focused on the road. We made it all the way back to my house without any gliches. When we got there I opened my front/garage door and rode my bike inside. Standing there was Ryan, Jessica and Huyen. They asked me a question when all of a sudden Jessica exclaimed "Oh My God!" I immediately turned around to catch Justin flying up my front walk, crashing into the wall between my neighbor's house and mine and falling over. Ryan, Jessica and I couldn't stop laughing along with Justin. Huyen was the only person to look shocked.

Turns out Justin put his bike into first gear and couldn't control it. In the end the only damage was to my neighbor's flower pot which was smashed in half. Luckily the neighbor laughed along with us and told us it wasn't a problem.

The only problem in my mind was that Justin and I were about to get back on our bikes and ride six hours to Mai Chau!