10 April 2009

Motorcycle diaries

motorcycle diaries
I finally got round to requesting for the hi-res photos of my Harley bike rides and the good folks from »Wild Rides Sydney sent a CD over recently. It occurred to me that I was becoming a biker gal on my travels. Just the year before, I was in Paris and was zipped around in Mr C's vespa. For the record, let me declare here that the most exhilarating way to see Paris is to vroom by Place de la Concorde and Champs Elysees, on an ultra-blue autumn day in a bike.

It was in part because of the memorable Parisien experience that I decided to go for a Harley in Sydney. I was right: spectacular cities are born to be seen on a bike. Particularly bridges. Going through the Harbour Bridge made you feel dimunitive.

Sydney marked the second time Ms L and I have been on a bike ride together. The first time was in Phnom Penh, where we asked our restaurant to help us hail a cab to go to the Russian market. In a classic case of lost in translation, we found two grinning bikers waiting for us at the doorstep instead. After two moments of hesitation, we decided not to be lembeh city gals and hopped on. Some eyes wide shut was required.

Mexico, however, is the country with the honour of my virgin bike ride. At a heady age of 22, with a good friend ill in the hotel and only one day left in Mexico, I decided that it was of utmost urgency that I see a real »cenote before I left (not a Mickey Mouse touristy version). So I asked the young security guard at the entrance of Tulum how I could see one. To my surprise, his answer was, "I can take you there". "How?" I asked. "On my motorcyle," he replied, matter of fact.

Again, two moments of hesitation, and I said yes. On hindsight, this was probably foolhardily dangerous. I spoke roughly five words of Spanish, had told no one - this was the early days of cellphone, let alone roaming - and was riding pillion at 60 km/h with some random guy on some random Mexican highway. Thankfully, the young man did not rape, rob or kill me and leave me by the side of the road. Instead, I got to see a very local cenote in the middle of a jungle (incredibly clear water) and rode back home on the dusty highway with just my bikini, sun shining, wind blowing.

No photographs unfortunately, of this splendid scene of youth.

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