Happy New Year everyone!!! To celebrate the end of another year, and another year of Teacher’s Friend, I am going to look back on one of my my scariest and fondest memories from Hanoi.

Have a great 2019 everyone!!!

White Knuckles, Classy Entrances and Navigational Difficulties

I used the motorbike again to drive to my private class that evening. Scariest thing ever. Once again, I slammed on my brakes too zealously. Add to that the fact that I wasn’t 100% sure where I was going.

I was almost there by the time that I got really lost. I gripped the handlebars so tight that my knuckles went white. On more than one occasion the panic was too much – I had to pull over to read my half-written instructions. I remember really having to force my brain to think and work properly, it was probably the first time I’ve ever been conscious of trying to calm my thought processes down. It was the weirdest feeling, I also felt completely alone, with no map, no road signs, and no English speakers to ask directions from.

Eventually, I arrived at work. My hands were shaking and my adrenaline still pumping. Just as I pulled into the drive, I caught the throttle, missed the brake and smashed into the front gate with a loud bang. What a way to make an entrance.

Needless to say, everyone rushed out and my boss asked, “Oh, is it your first time on a bike?”

Everyone looked concerned.

Fail.

Almost as I stepped through the door to my classroom to begin teaching, the heavens opened, and heavy rain engulfed the city. I hadn’t even considered that when I decided to drive to work. Which was stupid because it was rainy season. I didn’t even have a coat with me.

I briefly thanked my lucky stars but then got to thinking about the drive home. I really, really didn’t want to do that again – especially not in the dark. I was terrified.

Fortunately, I avoided the worst of that fate because the rain stopped. The roads were mainly dry by the time I had finished teaching, so I only had to focus on driving at night.

It took me about 2 minutes to get lost. I couldn’t find my way home, I was tempted to ring my boss and ask her to show me the way but instead I pulled myself together and worked it out for myself.

I came across a turn in the road and my gut told me to take it. My instincts let me down…five minutes later I was back where I started. Then I realised that I was at a crucial turning that I’d mistakenly taken originally. Maybe I should thank my gut after all.

Finally, I came off too early at a junction and had to turn around. I had driven 50 meters up the road before realizing my mistake, then had to drive 50m back on the wrong side of the road to save me going all the way back down to the dual carriageway.

I decided I’d earned myself a food break, so I headed for a shopping mall. Further fun and games were to be had in the underground car park. They certainly take a bit of getting used to.

As I went down the slope, some man kept waving at me and telling me to turn around, but it was too late – I’d already missed the entrance for motorbikes (which wasn’t signposted). So, I did a make-shift U-turn and drove back up the incredibly steep hill to find a place to park.

I’m happy to report that I ordered a very large orange juice and an even larger pizza! What an ordeal, I made it home safely in the end. Phew!

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