Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Day I Learned How to Ride a Bike

The new apartment we'll be moving into on Tuesday is just within walking distance to NES (the school where Thea and I teach). However, I realized that I would still need transportation after getting another job as a preschool teacher. With that in mind, I decided that I would rather buy a bicycle than rent a motorbike because of the additional expense every month. I tried to borrow from a friend but I couldn't handle a bike with a high seat.

I was pleasantly surprised when my friend Nguyet(Moon) arrived early this afternoon because she told me that I wouldn't see her till Friday. After our English lesson, she said that we could start looking for a bicycle. We drove around for a bit to look at some secondhand bicycle shops. The first bicycle shop had a nice bike that cost a little bit more than $50, it looked pretty new and the seat was low, but I decided to look at other shops first because I might be able to get a better deal. At the second bicycle shop, I saw some nice bikes. The really good ones cost about $75, but I found 2 possibilities. One was black, which would normally be my first choice, except Moon told me that it's from China and the seat wasn't all that stable. The second one's from Japan and looked okay. It's pink and black, which is one of my favorite combinations. The latter cost almost double the first one's price, but because Moon is Vietnamese, she was able to get a discount. So I got the second bike for 450.000 VND (just a little bit more than $25).

I wanted to get a taxi so I could bring it home, but Moon didn't want to hear any of it. She told me that she'd guide me while riding her motorbike. She told me that I could take it home by myself. It was painfully slow, but we managed... And then it rained! I don't mean a drizzle either. It was a full fledged downpour. Moon insisted that I wear her heavy duty raincoat and proceeded to escort me home. We sure got loads of strange looks. Moon was riding so slowly in the rain, and I was obviously learning how to ride a bike. People were calling out, "Why did you choose today to practice riding a bike?" In a country were virtually everyone knows how to ride a bike from childhood, watching me learn how to ride a bike at my "advanced" age was a novelty.

3 kilometers later and after several mishaps --- I hit a car (yes, I mean it and not the other way around), guttered the bike, almost hit some people --- we arrived at my house drenched to the bone. This is a day that I certainly would never forget. The day I learned how to ride a bike with my friend Moon.

1 comment:

  1. Poor car :-)

    Congrats and may the bike goddess give you more pedal power and safety.