There's a high likelihood that my mother is going to freak out when she reads this blog post, so a couple of disclaimers: I am fine. I am healthy, and not injured. The incident described below happened nearly a week ago, and I am completely ok.
When I was in college, I spent my sophomore year abroad in Florence, Italy. Before I left home, mom gave me only two absolute rules: no hitchiking and no motor scooter riding. Though many of my friends did both while I was there, I stuck to the rules and did not do either. I was about 18, and still completely dependent on her, so it seemed like a good idea to follow her rules.
I'm 33 now, and still have not ever hitchiked or ridden a motor scooter. Until last week. As a part of the tour, we took an awesome bicycle ride through the country. The scenes were amazing, and the small villages that we passed were enchanting. All I wanted to do the next day was to spend more time in the same area. We were in Hoi An at the time, which is a fairly sleepy town (especially relative to Saigon, which is where I am writing this post from). So I asked Malik, who is still in Vietnam, if he would be interested in renting a motor scooter with me and driving me around. He had already expressed an interest in doing so, and though I remembered mom's warning, I knew that it was going to be the best way to explore the countryside.
We went outside my hotel and rented a scooter from the first person we saw. It was a manual transmission, so Malik rode it around for about five minutes to get used to it and make sure that he knew what he was doing.
Everywhere that we go, we kind of attract attention - being foreigners means that there are usually several pairs of eyes on us, either bemused by what we're doing or curious about it. Add to that the fact that Malik loves to joke around with the locals, and we had quite a crowd watching.
If you have read my blog for any amount of time, it probably doesn't surprise you that the next paragraph talks about a random injury (see posts about me falling off a bike, cracking my rib while running, and slicing through my finger as examples)
So as I hopped on to the back of the scooter, Malik took off. He swears up to this day that he has no idea what happened, but the scooter immediately reared back, and in my first 30 seconds EVER being on a scooter, I was tossed off the back on to my ass in the middle of the street. After the commotion of all the locals who watched this happen, I realized that I wasn't really hurt and we continued on. Though my ego and my bum were fairly bruised, I hopped back on and we went through the countryside and I was able to snap quite a few pictures (notably this one of the guy who sold us a coconut). A week later, I hardly feel the effects save for random bruises on my legs and such. I was really lucky that I didn't get more hurt.
So, I guess this probably goes to prove that, even at the age of 33, we should all listen to our mothers.