Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Day 18: From the perspective of the white van

Several people have had to miss out on part or all of certain riding days due to various things, ei illness and bike problems.  When such reasons prevent full participation there is one man who is responsible for transporting the invalid to the next destination. That man’s name is Mr. Coung. Mr Coung is a friendly, gentle man with little to no English speaking abilities. He is, however, extremely efficient at fixing flats and putting chains back on. He is also an Abba enthusiast and appreciates a good classic rock ballad.  I know these special qualities about Mr. Coung because I have had the pleasure of spending the last two days with him, thanks to my completely mangled bike.

Sandra, Phong and I all had to deal with bike repairs so we spent the day in Kon Tum while the rest of the team cycled on to Pleiku. We left our bikes with a mechanic last night and came to retrieve them in the morning only to find them in worse shape than they were when we dropped them off. Sandra worked side-by-side with the mechanic to repair our bikes.

After several hours and lots of work they managed to get two of the three functioning again but Phongs was still not in any shape to ride. We decided to hop in with Mr. Cuong so we could get to Pleiku before dark to find a bike shop to repair Phong’s bike. By the way, Phong couldn’t have been happier to ride in the van.

After arriving in Pleiku we learned that other than a couple of blown inner tubes there were no real issues. Apparently several people biked into some sort of butterfly migration. Johnny said there was a butterfly plastered to his face for several seconds until he managed to swat it off. All in all, from what I hear, the ride today was mellow and relaxing compared to the last few days. The boys somehow managed to get Phong’s bike in working order and all bikes seem to be ready to rock and roll for the morning. 

For culture night, Mike read a Vietnamese children’s book bought by Hanneke that roughly translates to “The Ass, the Cock, and the Lion.” It was a harrowing tale of a hungry lion, a cock and a "stupid" ass. The hungry lion lures the ass into the forest only to ambush and eat him. I can’t remember the moral of the story, but it was completely irrelevant to the storyline.

I hope I didn't make too many grammar mistakes,


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