8.5/10 – Grilled Seal of Approval
Some of my greatest memories from Asia are from my motorbike trips. Whenever I visited a new town I rented a motorbike and tried to get as lost as possible. One of the best trips was riding from Da Nang, the biggest city in Central Vietnam, to Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam.
As you ride north up and down and up and down the brilliantly green mountains, the ocean stretches out wonderfully to your right. The sun cooks your skin, but there’s a cool wind billowing around the mountain and you feel fine. You’re getting a little concerned about running out of petrol, so at the top of every mountain you turn off the engine and allow yourself to glide down at the speed of gravity.
On these winding roads, you have to be careful not to drive off the edge or to get hit by the trucks that cross into your lane at every tight turn. You can only hear the whir of the wheels turning and the melodic slap of rubber kissing pavement. It’s perfect, and over and over and over again you tell yourself, you plead to yourself, “Please. Please. Please. Remember this moment. Remember the heights of the climbs and the depths of the valleys. Remember the cool wind and the hot sun. Remember today’s beauty and remember the heartache of its wonder because it will be the cause of your tears one day. When you are older and wiser and weaker and unable to experience the plums of life like before, you will remember this day and weep for the days of significance that have long since passed to the wayside.”
I stood at the top of the mountain and gazed out into the blue expanse, and felt the power of youth and adventure pumping through my veins. I was strong and intelligent and free and, and, and, I sank to my knees as a wave of sadness crashed down upon my body. The thoughts flittered in like morning light through hastily drawn drapes and the tears dripped cruelly into my outstretched hands. “I will never be here again,” I thought to myself, “As time passes, my memories will fade, and nothing will remain of my happiness in this place.”
I stayed upon the crest of the mountain for a few more minutes before gathering my belongings and clamoring back aboard my bike. I had wasted enough time crying over hypothetical depressions. If I am doomed to eventually forget my experience, then at least I want to enjoy it the first time around. I pushed off and let the bike pick up speed slowly. I could see the road up ahead descending precipitously; I wasn’t in a Rush to get to the finish.