Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Day 24

My Dad, my sister and I were almost finished constructing my sisters bed. We had just finished sanding all the pieces and my sister was priming the parts that had been finished. After the initial coat of primer was applied, we went to Knox Lumber to buy the final ingredient--the paint.

As my sister perused the hallways of paint samples for just the proper shade of pink, I fascinated myself with all the PVC pipe accessories. For some reason all the connectors, joints, and various kinds of puddy drew my 10 year old attention like nothing else.

Finally, my sister had decided on a color. She found my dad who then found me. We took the color sample to the paint section of the store. The man in the red apron behind the dye stained counter read the number and began to open a gallon can of latex paint. When the can was pried open I was astonished to see that it was white. I promptly notified my dad of the mistake. We had wanted pink, not white, paint.

As the man behind the counter went to work "making" my sisters pink paint, my dad patiently explained that the man would add a few bits of colored paint and then the can would be put in a machine and then we would have pink paint. Memorized, I watched the man add just a few drops of paint from the dye dispensaries, arranged circularly around two lazy Susan's in the middle of the paint sections fortified employee's only island. The man then put the gallon can between two sheets of metal connected to some kind of machine. He tightened some bolts so that the can was securely in place and would not budge for anything short of an earthquake. After double checking his work the man flipped a switch and the machine started moving the gallon of paint a centimeter or two vertically with little horizontal movement but at a very impressive speed.

Ten minutes later the man behind the counter stopped the machine and handed us our paint. The few drops of dye had evenly spread through out the creamy white latex to create a uniform hue of purplish pink paint.

Now, I've never been inside one of those paint making shaking machines. In fact, the story above illustrates my only encounter with one ever. Yet, with that said, I can empathize with the paint from the story. I know what the paint feels when it's being created. After the past few days of riding I understand violent, repetitive, and sustained oscillation. See, the roads the last few days have not been of a the highest quality. It's not as if there are gigantic, truck swallowing potholes, the roads aren't bad in that way, no it's the endless series of half inch deep cracks and small bulges emerging through the pavement that have pummeled us riders. My whole body aches, not from the exertion of riding 50+ miles a day, but from the constant undulation of Vietnamese highway 27. These roads have made mush of my knees and scrambled my insides like a Denny's grand slam.

Now, personally, I've been hunkering for a Perkins Belgium Waffle, but I have to say I am hope the roads become kinder and gentler as we approach Saigon. We've only got 300 kilometers to go and I don't want to eat a liver and cheddar omelet for breakfast, even if it comes with a whip cream soaked waffle.

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