Tengs and Fleaks

Buon Ma Thuot to Ngoc Hoi

Ever played the game – Teng? Its a new game we invented where you have to find the cashpoint with cash in it and your card only allows 3 transactions a day. Re-stocking their machines seems to be a monthly thing and everyone is frustrated about it. Especially me as im now down to my last 100,000 Dong (snigger) about £3, such a wierd currency!

Im gunna say it – Over the last few days we have experienced what sitting on a vibrating park bench would be like for 5 hours. This park bench had some particularly good views but my arse is in tatters. The prospect of riding another 250km today on it is unpleasant. However, if we want to get to Hoian for the light festival we have to power through. I’m thinking of investing in a plush seat to sooth my complaining bottom.

Powering down the roads yesterday probably was too much for the bikes. Mikes has developed a small oil leak and mine is sounding more and more agricultural by the day. Lets have a quick rundown of what is wrong with it:

  • Throttle grip is cracked, if it breaks I have no way of running the bike
  • Forks leaking lost all oil, now as effective as pogo sticks
  • Saddle is made of the devils deckchair
  • Main headlight wired into parking light switch
  • Parking light non existent
  • Main headlight illuminates front fender only
  • Key switch doesnt turn bike off, just keeps running, I now have to stall to turn off the bike
  • Intermittantly changes from 4th to neutral and then will only go into 1st no matter what speed im doing.
  • The front brakes are chewing gum
  • The back brakes operate in binary
  • The speedo reads in fleaks, a new measure of distance, somwhere between a kph and mph, as yet undefined
  • Fuel filler cap has purely asthetic key lock

After breakfast we went in search of a mechanics to look at the bikes and hopefully a new saddle. The mechanic did his thing with the oil. I went for a walk and found a chap sewing saddle covers with foam seats hung up, looked like just the guy but he wasn’t interested. Even when I brought the bike over to him after the mechanic had finished touching it up, he couldn’t help me. Was a bit frustrating, especially now I’m laying on a concrete bed about to get the worst night sleep ever.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, at one point we lost the girls! We had just topped up with fuel and the locals were chatting away with us so they mooched on and we would catch them up. Sun cream is a real mystery to rural Vietnamese, they thought it was hilarious. After a while we powered off up the road and came to a T-junction at the end of a small market. Left or right and no sign of the girls. We went back through it a few times and eventually came to the conclusion they had their own map and a brain, they could work it out. We carried on for about 45 mins and didnt catch them up so pulled over for some watermelon. Eventually, as we were about to leave they come steaming up the road, mike waved them down and they explained they had gone the wrong way at the T-junction.

Story regailed, we all set off together again and immediately had a problem. Camilla drove into a ditch… on the other side of the road… that was on fire. She was fine but cracked her scooters fairing when it turned upside down. We took off the damaged bits and strapped them to the bag and carried on. Part of me wished it was broken beyond repair so my arse could have had a rest.