Soooo, I’d thought about what happens if I lose my key to my motorbike. And like all self-fulling prophesies, this one came through a few days ago. A good reason not to anticipate doom.
I had parked my bike next to the market and upon return, could not find my key.
A man nearby, seeing our fruitless search, came over, and talked with Trinh a bit to determine the problem. He returned a few minutes later with a Yamaha key for a motorbike similar to mine and voila, it worked, not perfectly, but it worked.
So, it was decided he’d drive with me 50 meters to the spot he anticipated a locksmith to be.
But alas, the locksmith cart turned out to be a watch cart.
Trinh had followed behind on foot and after more talk, new plan: we’d take the key and drive motorbike to a key cart.
Well, the search became ever wider and Trinh decided to go to the key cart woman she knew existed about 10 minutes away near her house. so that’s what we did that.
After looking and trying our borrowed key, that while it worked, was not perfect, she got another new similar key, which she tried in the both the ignition and seat locks.
She then got her metal rasp and started filing away on certain teeth, fine tuning the new key. Ten minutes later it worked (better than the key I lost) and she also made a duplicate for me.
I paid her 50,000 VCD or US$ 2.10
This entire process took less than an hour, on a Sunday no less and cost two bucks.
I ended up better than before and it happened because everyone was helpful and friendly.
Vietnam is a place that just works. They find a way to make a solution, usually a handmade solution.
I kept complaining about my motorbike seat, as I kept sliding forward into an uncomfortable position.
Trinh constantly reminded me that:
I was bigger than most Vietnamese
It is a 6 million Dong bike (US$ 287) and therefore don’t complain.
But if anything, I don’t have much tolerance for things that don’t work as they should.
So, when I mentioned the possibility of a new seat, I expected push-back, because if Trinh has learned, I do buy a lot of things I really don’t need. But this time, she agreed we’d stop and look.
Oh Boy, it was like Christmas. Though she had no idea how much a new seat would cost.
After our little ice cream stop, we stopped at a seat place.
Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City at least, is full of little shops, store fronts, that specialize in one thing. In this case motorbike seats.
Thankfully, the lady running the place was dismissive of my current seat as soon as she saw it. That softened up Trinh right away so that it wasn’t just me wasting money.
Turned out the big discussion centered around color. Everyone assumed I wanted black, the standard color. But I had two goals in mind:
A better, more comfortable seat
A more distinctive seat, something different, since in the parking garage in my building, even knowing right where I left the bike, I have walked past it numerous times. So, I wanted something that stood out. A red bike, I was thinking red seat.
But that was not to be. They had many shades of red in different materials, but Trinh, ever practical, pointed out that if I make
the bike stand out, it will be a target of police.
Now since it is not still not clear to me if I can legally drive a motorbike with my NYS motorcycle license, I figured I better compromise here.
Thus, we ended up mostly black with a red front and back.
And it’s really comfortable.
This operation took about 20 minutes. They cut the fabric and sewed it to the new form core. Like almost everything I have seen in Vietnam, I was really impressed. I got a handmade, custom seat for 360,000 dong, (that’s US$15).
Yes, I am really happy. If only Dauntless was here, but then that’s another story.