I got off and pushed my bike the morning after the big climb. My legs still felt like slugs and although I knew I only had 25 km to ride, I also knew it was mostly up hill and it would not be easy. I had taken a laneway that cut across to the main highway. It was marked on the map as a road but it was more like a cut through for motorbikes, giving access to the highway through a hole in the fence. Of course it was steep and about 200 metres before the end it got the better of me and I decided to push.
A man was walking down the laneway, he was wearing a simple brown top and pants, he looked like a monk to me, I could see what looked like a monastery a little further up the hill. The man offered to take my bike and push it for me, I was reluctant at first, mainly because it was my bike, I chose to ride this way so it was my problem, and I can look after myself. He insisted and in my tired state I let him, I tried to push the bike from the back but he refused my help. Off he went, I could barely keep up with him just walking, he powered the last 200 metres up the hill.
When we got to the top and he manoeuvred the bike through the hole in the fence and propped it against the guard rail. I was so grateful, I asked him if there was anyway I could repay him. He put his hands together in front of his chest as if he was praying and bowed, saying “it is my honour to help” and he walked off.
I don’t know if it was because I was tired, or I was just feeling a little fragile, but I stood there for sometime after he was gone and I could feel the tears welling up. I was grateful for his kindness and while it wasn’t a grand gesture, it touched me deeply. Eventually I got back on my bike and rode off, taking a little while to compose myself. I wondered if that moment was the entire purpose of my trip to Vietnam, that it is okay to let some one help, I don’t always need to be so stubborn and self reliant.