I booked a sleeping bus to Hanoi and, not sure what I would do with all my time there and being the newly flexible person I’ve become on this trip, I was coaxed by my friends to get off in Ninh Binh with them. We checked into Bamboo Homestay at 4 AM and rather than stay up for 90 minutes to see the sunrise I went to bed. I’m sure the sunrise over the mountain and rice fields was beautiful …
A few hours later we had breakfast and I reluctantly rented a scooter along with my group. I was terrified, having promised myself I wouldn’t do it because I’d heard so many terrible stories about injuries and accidents and I’d already met a few people with nasty scrapes and broken shoulders. BUT, (being that newly flexible person … ) I did it anyway. After a quick lesson on how to operate the scooter, and feeling pretty confident about the rules of the road (honk if you’re not planning to stop, go around obstacles and stay to the right and just GO) I went. It couldn’t be that hard – right? We gassed up and after a few minutes on a quieter back road, we made our way to the freeway. The freeway?! Yikes!
The scariest part was turning left, as I had to weave in and out of traffic going straight through from the opposite direction. As chaotic as the traffic seems here, everything works surprisingly smoothly as long as you don’t hesitate. So, I didn’t. I cheered when I made it through! Such an unbelievable feeling to ride down the road on a bike and to begin to understand why my dad loved riding so much. I tried not to tear up as I continued to drive, but it made me miss him and think about how proud he would have been of me and I felt like I had an angel watching over me as I got through the day without any problems.
The next morning at breakfast, the hostel lady yelled, “Everybody! Typhoon coming! Very dangerous!” So, instead of renting scooters again to explore some more, we booked the next bus out to Hanoi.