The Motorbike Chronicles
If you’ve ever been in a car with me, especially my 2001 Toyota Corolla, Trina (because she’s the baddest bitch), you know it drives like a toy so I tend to treat it like one. My driving may or may not have make you feel like you were going to die at one point or another. Whatever, you pansy.
I grew up driving 30-40 minutes four to five times a week for soccer games or practice. My dad was/is that guy you see on the freeway that makes you say, “What an asshole.” He would weave in and out of lanes until the carpool opened up and then he would FLY. It was common for him to drive with his hand on the emergency brake and it was even more common for me to tell him that he was driving too slow when we were already doing 85. So when I was FINALLY able to drive (it took a while, I threw a party while my mom was in China sophomore year in high school. Belinda wasn’t pleased. Belinda was scary. I pretty much fell off the face of the earth) I without a doubt picked up my dad’s driving habits.
I drive fast, I drive aggressively, I drive with my music blaring. Regardless of all of my driving shenanigans I would say I’m not a reckless driver by any means — I’m safe. I check my shoulders, I scan the road, I cover the brake. I just tend to embody the ‘Move Bitch Get Out The Way’ mentality at the same time. But I guess I can see how some people might be apprehensive about getting in the car with me…..especially Curtiss. She’s seen some shit. SOwwy.
Why am I talking about me driving in America when i’m 8,200 miles away? Because to make life easier in Vietnam I’m driving on this:
A bit intimidating
For obvious reasons (watch the damn clip), I put off getting a moto until it was fiscally idiotic due to how taxis were robbing me of my precious dong left and right. Also, not having my own means to get to and from work gets old reeeaaaal fast. So I did the big girl thing and rented a moto.
Before I did any real motor biking I obviously had to model with my new-ish bike
F i r s t T r y
My first solo moto experience? I went to the grocery store down the street. Getting to the grocery store was actually quite easy. It’s the getting back home which made it difficult.
I’ve never been a human with great balance so staying upright without putting my feet down every once in a while was a bit difficult and picking my feet up after stopping and driving in a straight line also proved to be troublesome……I looked a bit like my freshman year drunk self on my bike leaving Del Rey South with Curtiss, Tawni and Megan. It’s hilariously unsettlingly to see if you are on the moto next to me. Maybe it’s a good thing though, people might keep their distance from me.
Ho Chi Minh City has more one way streets than any other city I’ve ever driven on. My fabulous new apartment is even on a one-way street. This makes getting to and from places a bit tricky. It took me about 3 minutes to get to the grocery and about another 30 minutes to find my way home.
I went the wrong way down a one way, and had to immediately whip back around before some idiot came flying around the corner to make a right turn. After 3o minutes, multiple missed turns, several loops bypassing my apartment, being honked at about 100 times, I finally made it home.
S e c o n d T r y
My second moto experience I had Meg on the back of my bike. I was so eager to get back on the bike I didn’t even think about having the extra weight and how it would have an effect on my driving.
As I was making a left turn I forgot I had Megan on the back of my bike and before I knew it we were pretty much parallel to the ground. It was some Sons Of Anarchy type shit. I haven’t done it since so go me.
Overall the drive was perfect despite the fact that a 20 minute drive home turned into almost a one hour drive because we got so lost. We were basically by the airport. That’s what the one way streets will do to you and your sense of direction.
M o t o C h r o n i c l e s
That one time I was in two accident in three days:
Accident #1: One of the teachers at my campus lives a few streets away from me so she said she I could follow her home. In my head I was thinking, “YES! Thank the lord. A less crowded, easier way home.” But as she started driving, she was going pretty damn fast. I mean, I’m an aggressive driver, but she was moving. I did my best to keep up, but there was no way I was going to try to match her speed.
We were passing a pretty crowded bridge where three different lanes merge to one road when out of nowhere a moto cuts me off (because the Vietnamese give no fucks when it comes to driving). It was the moment where I had the decision to either grip both of my breaks, honk, or try to grab my breaks and honk.
While I thought of taking these preventative steps, I did neither and before I knew it I was plowing into the side of this random moto being thrown to the left. I (somehow) awkwardly completed the turn doing a 360 so I was able to continue driving with the flow of traffic without someone else hitting me and really fucking up my shit. The other driver didn’t stop (what a guy) but when I caught up with him, he repeatedly apologized (yes, while still driving). Thanks for the kind words. And yes, throughout all of this nonsense, I was able to stay close enough to my co-worker so she could show me the way home.
Accident #2: On the way to dinner as I’m sitting with my feet on the ground (Thank God) waiting for the light to turn green when suddenly I get rocked and thrown to my left, my bike nailing my ankle as it’s forced over.
All I can make out is this fool with a long braid flying between my moto and the guy next to me (how come I got hit tho). This fool is apologizing as she is half braking, half hitting the gas throttle with her feet on the ground slightly hopping while she is trying to brake, narrowly avoiding the pole on the corner.
This ‘fool’ turned out to be Megan.
Thank God the cross walk was empty because she probably would have annihilated the poor pedestrians in the crosswalk. Despite almost shitting myself, when I saw it was Megan struggling to control her bike I couldn’t help but laugh, because what the fuck, Megan.
As soon as she was able to get her bike under control and I was able to get myself together I pulled up next to her and made sure she was okay. We were both more shaken up than actually being injured — which I’m okay with. The dinner was worth our collision tho 🙂
That one time I had to transport my life on my motorbike:
I miss a lot of things from home. One of the main things I miss the most was my comforter. I love that thing. There’s nothing better than falling asleep wrapped in a ginormous blanket nearly suffocating you. I don’t care if it’s 100 degrees, I sleep with my comforter. I would rather wake up sweating than wake up without it.
After going on a hunt for a quality comforter for a reasonable price Megan and I finally, FINALLY found a store in the mall that had what we were looking for. Without thinking about how we were going to get it on our motorbikes and home we bought a comforter, sheets AND a damn body pillow. The body pillow was probably the less intelligent purchase. I didn’t even think about having to get it home until I was in the elevator struggling with my bags when it hit me: I have to get this shit home…ON MY MOTORBIKE. RAgrets.
After quite a bit of time of arranging and rearranging with lots of looks from the parking lot security guards clearly having a ball, laughing at me and Meg, I was able to find a way to moto with my hands and find a place to place my feet.
Oh yes, and of course I was wearing a dress. But that was a battle I wasn’t going to fight. I just prayed that people would just worry about themselves and not pay attention to me.
M o t o r b i k e T h o u g h t s
Moto driving sucks. People don’t give a fuuuuuuuck. They’ll cut you off and then brake. This includes the cars and busses. It’s nice being able to get yourself around but this shit is the real deal. It’s scary.
The taxis and cars see you anywhere in the vicinity and lay on the horn. Oh you’re in the right lane? Tooo bad, I’m going to force my way over so you better squeeze past me or suffer the consequences.
The busses are the worst. Lord help you if you don’t get out of the way of a bus. I haven’t seen it, but I’m sure if you didn’t move they would flatten you. I’ve seen them get pretty damn close. They remind me of the Knight Bus Video from Harry Potter except the bus size doesn’t readjust as they approach traffic they just plow through. Scary shit.
My dad always tells me I have to drive for myself and the people around me. Now I am driving for myself and the 100s of mottos flying around me doing whatever they want — going the wrong way in traffic, deciding they need to turn right while in the left lane, dodging the man that decided he was going to run the red light that’s been red for about 10 seconds, the family of 5 that wanted to drive one moto instead of two, the person who thought it would be okay to transport his 15 feet bunch of logs on his moto or the man with chairs and tables stacked on his moto, I have to be aware of all of it. This must be payback for the way I drive back home.