I’d been reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which is little less zen and a little more motorcycle for my taste, but it had me revved up for a real ride on the open road. Since the first time I had EVER ridden on any sort of motorized bike was in India, I would still consider myself a green passenger. So when the opportunity to ride from one town to the next in Vietnam presented itself I really couldn’t resist. It took a lot of convincing but I was able to persuade my new travel companion, Celine, to get on board…I wanted to feel the wind in my hair, the sun on my face and have the earth slide by with no steel barriers.
First, we had to find our way to the hills of Dalat, Vietnam. After an all day bus ride we slinked into The Dream Hotel, it was a dream too – we had a balcony, complimentary soap and an amazing breakfast. The woman who runs the place is so sweet, speaks perfect English and hooked us up with our guides for the next day. After a killer spread for breakfast; our guides from Easy Riders (http://www.easy-riders.net/) arrived, strapped our stuff to the back, gave us our helmets and were off…
First stop: The Crazy House, which is crazy and really called The Crazy House. Hang Nga’s Tree House, built by a woman architect who sounds crazy on her own accord has been building the hotel for several years; we admired at the stairways to nowhere, the wacky interiors and the spires of sparkling mosaics.
It was really easy to let my mind wander, I tried to stay in the present but the mountains and winding roads took me back to Colorado. I kept thinking, “I know this is an outrageous adventure, I mean – I’m on the back of a motorcycle in Vietnam – WTF!” By the time it was lunch we had already started our decent out of the mountains, it was once again – HOT! In the shade of the little roadside restaurant, over a steaming bowl of pho, we embraced the conversation with our drivers about life in the United States and France and all the differences between our countries and theirs.
As we passed more rice fields we saw the men and woman farming and tending to the their crop right on the side of the road. This journey, something specifically about this ride, has made me begin to view life differently – it can be as simple as drying rice on the side of the road or as complicated as the FDA. I didn’t exactly have the wind in my hair or the sun on my face (the helmet pretty much limited both those things) but so much more was beginning to happen – I was zen, I was motorcycle, I was Vietnam, I was am the open road….