As we (I was now back with dear Ciara, my partner in Asian bike journeys) set to hop back on the red carcass of the squeaky bike we had hired, the clouds started to come true on their threat of rain. This wasn’t to be any rain, but magic rain which transforms humans in to drowned rats.
Now I thought that this being Asia, where tropical rain comes and goes as quick as Callum Best at a single’s party, it would be over pretty soon. So, sensing the imminent downpour, we stopped before it started, for a strong coffee in a derelict looking open café. It housed several old men, coughing away on cigarettes and Mahjong.
I’m uncertain how well I can explain but really, it was awful! Think, not one item of clothing or crevice in your body that hasn’t been molested by cold rain. Ciara’s bus was in two hours so we had no choice but to keep going through.
The drops filtered their way in to our mouths, tasting of field with a hint of buffalo poo. Not that I know much of the flavour of farm animal excrement. The storm got up our noses. It stung our squinting eyes and ran in such a fashion round my helmet that my wet hair crept along my moistened cheeks and worked its way between my face and glasses, so that I couldn’t see more than 4 meters in front of me.
When we clunked in to a petrol station somewhere outside of I-have-no-idea-where-I-am-please-help, the ‘20p’/Dong poncho I’d bought, which had ripped down one side, was now purely acting as a windbreak. It had kept me dry for all of ten minutes and poor Ciara who neglected to be such a spend thrift, hovered close, freezing on the back of my bike. I had offered to pull it up over the both of us, like some sort of waterlogged windproof bed sheet.
Finally, rolling in to Hoi An town, I praised,“Oh my Buddha we’re back!”
We were met with a scene from the film ‘The Day after Tomorrow’. Maybe it wasn’t that dramatic but nature certainly looked pissed at humans that day. Watching people push their flooded bikes along narrow rivers of streets, made me hopeful for steaming hot Pho. And a non-air conditioned room where my ears might clear of their post-diving clog.