Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vinh and Motorbike Trouble

Amber:  Driving motor scooters has proven to be very eventful for Joe, Tim and me.  We spent the the day in Vihn where we found a Big C (SE Asias version of a walmart) for tools, rain ponchos for our back packs, gloves, chocolate, etc.  Everything was exceptionally cheap, they even had wine for about a dollar a bottle.  So, we of course bought one!  After finding the provisions we needed we discovered a fast food place and all enjoyed deep fried chicken, burgers, fries, and blizzards.  Stuffing ourselves on something other than pho was so deliscious, but not something we are going to do every day.  Just as a reward for motor biking in the rain and cold.

Tim: After the fast food lunch with more than 1000 calories each, we hit up the video arcade next door. We played air hockey, basketball hoops, and a few shoot-em-up games. We stayed that night in Vinh. In the evening we visited a Cafe with live guitar music. In Vietnam almost all cafes do not serve food. For the locals they spend their evenings in cafes rather than bars drinking tea and coffee. Vietnamise coffee is probably the best coffee we have ever had. It makes Starbucks taste like rat pee, not that I know what that would taste like. The Vietnamise coffee is very strong, but not bitter like the Laos coffee. It has a lot of caffiene too.

The next day we took off down the road for Hue, pronounced hway. About two hours into our ride, my bike made a big bang noice, but I didn't notice anything wrong. Within a few meters Amber was honking at me to pull over. She had see something fly off of my bike. On closer inspection, I noticed that three of my rear spokes had been ripped off the bike. This happened because a piece of the rear wheel assembly that attached to the framed had cracked off and flown into the spokes. This also disabled my rear brake. It looked really bad! After twisting the broken spokes in so that the would not hit anything, we limped off down the road to find a mechanic shop. They are everywhere over here. We don't really know the name of a mechanic shop in Vietnamise, but most of the ones we have been to have a sign that says Xe May. We found a shop within a few kilometers. He pulled the bike appart. Jumped on his motorbike to go find the broken part. After 20 minutes he returned to tell us he couldn't find the part. After putting the bike back together with some wire we head off down the road, me without any back brakes.

After stopping at a few mechanic shops who told us they couldn't fix my bike and just told us that the bike was fine because I still had front breaks, we found a shop that was able to find the part needed. We cut out the three damaged spokes. Total repair bill, only $10.00. After almost a two hour delay we were back on the road.

Another hour down the road, and Joe's bike began to have problems at a gas station. It would start fine, but it had no power and would stall out when it was put in gear.  To make matters worse, it had begun raining. I had to tow Joe's bike with mine with a small piece of rope that we had been given. Te rope was only about eight feet long, so as I towed Joe in the rain, mud and water sprayed all over Joe and his bike. Fortunately, we found another repair shop only one kilometer up the road. It took an hour or so to repair Joe's bike. It needed a new coil. By now it was getting late, and it was still raining. We agreed to sop at the next hotel we saw. We found a hotel with the next 15 kilometers. We had only made it around 60 kilometers that day. After a Beef Pho dinner we agreed to wake up early and tried to make more progress the next day.

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