Thursday, May 19, 2011

My poor helmet

(PICTURE: A reflection in Cao Bang.)

Nice picture, right?

Well, I thought so. That's why I stopped on top of a hill to take this shot. Per my usual picture inspired moment, I pulled over to the side of the road, removed my helmet, placed it on the side-view-mirror, and dug through my bag to find my camera. As soon as I removed the camera, I heard Huyen make some noise that sounded sort of like, "Whoooaaaahhhhhhh whoaahhh". What she was reacting to was my helmet falling off the mirror and rolling down a very steep hill into the water below:

(PICTURE: My helmet about thirty feet below us.)

There was no way to climb down to the water because it was extremely steep. The only place to get to the water level was about fifty yards downstream. I immediately gave up on the helmet and said that I would buy a new one in the town we were staying in. The road we were driving on was very back road and I decided I could make it thirty minutes without a helmet. However, my wife isn't a quitter like me. Huyen said we had to get the helmet since it was a very good helmet and we wouldn't be able to get another like it until we reached a major city. I agreed to give it a shot and went off to find a long stick. Huyen's plan was to throw rocks at the helmet and help guide it towards the river bank. As crazy as that sounds, it totally was working until it was about fifteen feet away. At that point it started to drift across the river...

...and that's when the only fisherman we saw all day came miraculously to our help. This guy was floating upstream on a bamboo raft and quickly turned course to get my helmet. You should have seen the look on this guy's face. Confusion would put it mildly. The guy kindly retrieved our helmet, gave us a wave and continued on his way.

(PICTURE: The fisherman getting my helmet.)

The helmet was drenched with water that didn't seem to be the cleanest. I drove back for about twenty minutes with no helmet on as to let it dry. Then when we got closer to the town and traffic, I put on the helmet without the drenched insides. That night we washed and dried the padding and it was practically good as new. However, throughout the trip, whenever I'd put the helmet on the bike, mosquitoes seemed to flock towards it. Maybe it was my shampoo...