This photo was taken by my friend Laura when we were travelling in Vietnam in March 2010, en route to Hoi An from Hue, both coastal towns. The guesthouse in Hoi An was run by a man called Thuy, whose toddler I remember scuttling around the lobby’s tiled floor on a mini bicycle, pursued at all times by its mother. The guesthouse was in a street of similarly inviting, family-run accomodation.
Hue was the first town in Vietnam where we really felt the heat, having been treated to overcast and quite cool weather around Hanoi, Halong Bay and Tam Quoc, the more northern places we’d visited. We were keen to get even further south, to the beach towns we’d heard and read about. When Thuy offered us an alternative to the bus we’d been intending to catch – a ride to Hoi An on the back of his and a friend’s motorbikes, we immediately agreed. We were already used to catching moto taxis around the towns, so why not? Besides, we knew that this stretch of coastline would be beautiful.
It was, too – bright blue skies and a turquoise, sparkling sea on the left of us, the roads winding along. Sometimes they edged the cliffs so that I was glad to be on such a small vehicle, watching cars and the odd lorry or coach squeeze precariously past each other.
I’d put on jeans and hoody, aware that in the UK we wouldn’t think of getting on a bike without leathers of some sort; although most tourists (including us, in towns) would think nothing of riding along in shorts and a t-shirt. I still can’t really bring myself to ride a moto with bare legs. We passed at one point some endurance-types on hefty motorbikes laden with luggage (my backpack was balanced in front of the driver, probably attached with some sort of bungee).
Many photos were taken of the road ahead of us as we trundled along, all of them looking to my mind like doctored photos from a travel brochure.
We stopped a couple of times along the journey, once to visit Elephant Springs, a swimming spot named for it’s elephant-shaped rock, which I suspect is not quite a natural phenomenon [see picture] and the Marble Mountains, where we wandered among countless marble statues, some impressive, others bizarre and all out of scale next to each other. It was in the gift shop here that the seller caught sight of my fake silver ring, purchased for 99p somewhere back home, and offered me anything in her shop in exchange for it. Knowing it wasn’t silver, I picked something suitably inexpensive, a small marble swan, and, slightly perplexed, agreed to the swap.
A wonderful journey, on which I also learnt not to dismount a motorbike from the side with the exhaust on it, and that if you do do that, to remove your leg from the burning metal and not just stand there wondering what that odd stinging sensation is.
This post is a response to the WordPress Daily Prompt: Snapshot Stories. The task was to go into the first photo album you find and locate the first picture of you.