On the road, I replayed in my head the images of the accident. I thought about the risks of my trip. On my bike, I suddenly felt so fragile and exposed.
As I was replaying these thoughts, my bike stopped. A breakdown. The throttle was not working. No matter how hard I turned it, it seemed as if the gasoline wasn't getting to the engine. My gas tank was half full. I got off my bike and started to push.
Several amused looks watched me go by.
A multitude of businesses lined the road. I was confident I could find a mechanic in the next mile or two. I just hoped the problem wasn't too bad and that I could get to my hotel before dark.
The first mechanic I encountered would not serve me. I continued on my way.
About a mile down the road, I stopped in front of what looked like a motorcycle parts store. No one was there. I pulled over and I waited
A few minutes later, a young man appeared. I told him what was wrong with my bike. Communication was not easy, but he was kind and willing to help me. I was saved.
Using his scooter, he "towed" me to the next garage, pushing me into neutral with the footrest of my passenger seat.
Once I arrived at the garage, I texted Trung. He called me back right away.
- Where are you? he asked in English.
- I am almost there. I am 10 km from Ninh Binh.
- What is the problem?
- The throttle stopped working.
- I see. Let me talk to the mechanic.
I handed the phone to the young man who was crouched in front of my bike. They talked for a few minutes. Then I heard Trung negotiating the price of the repair.
When I took the phone back, Trung reassured me that there was nothing wrong and that the repair would be simple. The whole thing would only cost me 20,000 dong, or one Canadian dollar.
In less than half an hour, my bike was fixed. I was relieved. My first breakdown had gone pretty well.
Back on the road, my heart was filled with gratitude. Since the beginning of the trip, I had been dreading breakdowns. I considered myself privileged to have someone like Trung to help me with the mechanical problems of my bike.
Trung's presence, even from a distance, was precious to me. He was the support I needed to get through the technical difficulties of my trip. And that day, his phone call made all the difference. He reassured me at a time when I was feeling most vulnerable. He was a true guardian angel.
Then it hit me. I rolled my eyes and smiled.