When you’re playing with wind, you have to be flexible.
After spending the previous afternoon in disagreement about what to do next (Kallie wanted to go back north, I wasn’t ready to abandon our bicycle plans just yet), we decided to look into our possibilities of going back to Phan Rang. For me, it had to be a pretty sweet deal in order to justify going back the way we’d come. Kallie contacted Phi Kite School and they agreed to barter photos for lodging, and our motorcycle friends said they were still there and we could still use their extra motorcycle. Pretty sweet deal: free lodging, free transportation. Especially since the forecast for wind where we were headed farther south than Mui Ne was light and unpredictable due to what looked like a forming tropical storm farther east. (Not to worry–we’d keep an eye on it–the path of the storm was headed south of Vietnam; it would bring big winds farther north, however.)
We asked at a few bus companies, but no one would take a tandem on board. (I’m not sure what this world is coming to…) So we decided we’d trim down our bags, leave the bike and extra gear stowed at our hotel, and pay the $6 bus tickets.
Leaving the bike and riding the bus was a strange experience, like watching a movie in rewind mode. I looked out the window and watched the landscape speeding past. This was the big hill we struggled up at the end; there are the sand dunes and Lotus Lake; and there’s the industrial stretch with its Chinese coal plant and smokestacks; there’s the Hotel Ca Na we stayed it with its mini bungalow by the sea and tourist buses; there are the mountains we crossed… There was no sound, no interaction between characters, just the whirring of tires on pavement like the rewind of an old-fashioned VCR. And then we were in Phan Rang.
It was good to be back. One of our first orders of business was to walk down to our favorite sandwich lady’s stand–the same stand we’d stopped at every night after kiting when we were here a week before–and get our “usual” (two Banh Bao, two Banh Mi, two dollars). When she first saw us, she looked hard and then laughed, coming up to Kallie and patting her face. She was tickled to have us back, and we were tickled to be there. It was a good reunion. Second, we met up with Jean Francois and Annemilie for dinner, and they handed over the motorbike keys with a smile. They told us, “Don’t worry, you can still be kites on a bike…” It was good to be back.