The “Top Gear Dream” – Part 7: The Breakdowns to Nha Trang
After the weather cleared, some of our group opted to stay in Hoi An a little longer, while others decided they needed a break from the road and loaded their scooters onto a train and departed for Nha Trang. Alice and I decided to head out on our own to meet up with those already in Nha Trang as we knew it would take a couple of days. We had just given ‘Muffin’ some much needed TLC as the rear luggage rack had nearly snapped off of the scooters frame, AGAIN, so a few new welds were needed to make it as good as new! So off we went to the highway along some extremely muddy backroads that caused us to topple into the mud on more than one occasion. Before we had even reached the highway we felt our bags bouncing around on the back more than they should have. When we stopped to take a look and make sure everything was strapped on correctly we noticed that our brand new welds had snapped . This forced us to do some rearranging so that our bags were stacked precariously on the back of the seat and one shoved between my legs at the front, giving me an awkward bow legged look. Our scooter now looked authentically Vietnamese as we had far too much crammed onto it in a very precarious looking position.
We then set off towards the highway hoping that this would be the end of our bikes issues, unfortunately it was just the start. Not long after we began cruising down the highway we lost all power and the bike stalled thanks to a carburetor that had a little too much flood water to drink. Luckily in Vietnam there seemed to be a repair shop every 100 meters no matter where you were along AH-1; all you had to look for was the XE RUE sign and someone would come running to perform an on the spot half arsed fix it job. As we walked ‘Muffin ‘ up to what we suspected was a repair shop, a little Vietnamese man came running out to us and immediately started oiling the chain. After many hand gestures and lots of pointing at various parts of the bike, he produced a metal tray that looked as if it came from a cafeteria and began dismantling the bike onto it. We weren’t quite sure if he knew what the issue was, but it looked much more promising than oiling the chain. Low and behold, 5 minutes later ‘Muffin’ roared back to life and we were on our way….Only to be stopped later down the road due to a flat front tire….that went flat again shortly after being patched.
The road to Nha Trang caused us the most problems mechanically speaking but otherwise the drive was quite enjoyable as we were out along the coast for much of it. We ended up staying in two wonderful towns along the way, Quy Nhon being one of our favourites. It is not so much of a town as it is a beautiful coastal city that we ended up staying two nights in as we needed a break from the constant breakdowns that we had dealt with along the way. After a little rest and recovery, we finished the rest of our journey to Nha Trang where upon arrival it began to rain and then proceeded to rain…and rain….and rain.
Nha Trang was apparently a beautiful city that boasts picturesque beaches and fantastic waterfront resorts, when its not raining. It also seems to be a Mecca for Russian tourists and you find more signs and menus in Russian than you do Vietnamese. Despite staying in Nha Trang for almost a week, Alice and I were a bit disappointed with it, but I am going to blame that on the weather and maybe a few rude Russians.