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Extra cardio Tuesday

January 12, 2011

This week, I had the most exciting Tuesday I’ve had in a while. Before two pm, without ever getting near a treadmill, my heart had spent several hours pumping at double speed.

A piece of pigskin was responsible for the first several hours of cardio overdrive. Namely, a piece of pigskin being tossed around between Auburn and Oregon in the BCS Championship. I was born into a family of Auburn alumni and fans. For most of my life this has been a source of abuse since I grew up in Georgia, among Georgia fans (bless their hearts,) and Auburn didn’t always play very well. I hesitate to mention this next item, lest my brother-in-law should have me deported, but the only two times Auburn has been undefeated in the last 25 years were the two football seasons I was living overseas.

Needless to say, when we found out Auburn was going to the championship, we started looking for a place to watch the game. We found Boston’s Sports Bar on Bui Vien, the one sports bar in Saigon that is open twenty-four hours, and called to make sure it would be on. This is how I found myself watching football at 8:30am while eating bacon, eggs, potatoes, and coffee. American sports in Vietnam are an early morning affair. (We reserved a table at 6am next month for the Superbowl.) A decent representation of pilots (all supporting Auburn) came out to watch the game, and we made sure the two lone Ducks fans felt out of place.

It was exciting to text my family back home, where almost everyone was wearing their blue and orange, watching with their hearts in their throats. Even though I was sweating in a tank top and shorts while the rest of my family is up to their eyeballs in ice and snow, I still felt a little bit closer knowing we were all doing the same thing at the same time. When I got home it was wonderful to get a voice mail from my daddy simply saying “War Eagle!”

It was all fun and games until I was forced to stop speaking to Jonathan. Partway through the third quarter, with Auburn leading 19-11, he started hoping for a more exciting game. I couldn’t believe it. So it began – Him: I want good competition. Me: Auburn is winning. Be Quiet. Him: I hate blowouts. Me: It’s not a blowout if you’re barely a touchdown ahead. Him: I love games that make my heart race. Me: I can’t bear the tension. I just want to win!

And we did win. It was glorious. So Jonathan and I were speaking again.

That is, until he decided that after the game, in the noon traffic rush, was a good time to rent our own motorbike. I agreed we should rent one, but not that I should have to be riding with him the first time he goes hurtling through the chaos that Saigon traffic is. Joe, who has even less experience driving a motorbike, had Tanya with him and they were following us. They don’t know the city yet, and I kept trying to make sure Jonathan didn’t leave them as he went blowing through intersections, dodging potholes, taxis, cars, bicycles, pedestrians, and swarms of other motorbikes. This responsibility at least helped to distract me from the terror I was feeling every time we got a little too close to the curb or some car decided to start backing down the street.

We did make it safely home, and safely back out again last night. Jonathan is a great driver, and I know he would never intentionally put me in danger. But, the initial ride was frightening. I’m used to the protection of a taxi everywhere I go. When we got off the bike, we had a conversation similar to the earlier one. Him: that was so invigorating. Me: I was terrified. Him: I feel like I have a new lease on life in this city. Me: I feel glad to be alive at all.

Who knows… maybe before we leave this town I’ll have my own bike and it’ll be second nature. The girls here make it look so easy with their perfect posture while driving in their high heels. It’s a nice thought. Being on a motorbike is liberating, and we are looking forward to exploring places that were previously only a blur as our taxis drove by.

Tomorrow we are off to buy our own helmets (we’re using loaners right now) and probably some nifty masks to keep a little of the pollution out. Maybe this will be us one day – minus the Vietnamese baby with the mosquito net over its Christmas outfit. And, I don’t think you could pay Jonathan to wear a hot pink helmet.



Currently reading: “What No One Tells the Bride” by Marg Stark

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Charity permalink
    January 12, 2011 10:50

    Waarr Eagle is right!!! I was stuck in Valdosta for 48hrs, but my GA Tech fan Captain and my Alabama graduate FO were kind enough to watch the game with me and even cheer for Auburn! I think it was a plenty exciting game… Auburn’s defense came through several time and held those fluffy duck tails from crossing into their touchdown zone. It was a great game… without controversy! 🙂 Sounds like you had a very intense day! Glad you’re home safe. I had to drive on the roads last night… oh the peril! (I say that sarcastically) The roads were clear enough but idiots insisted on driving 30mph on the interstate… if you see a shiny patch coming up, take your foot off the gas… don’t slam on the frikin’ brakes!! Sorry, I’m venting. 🙂 Glad you could watch them game, and I love you and miss you tons!!!

  2. Jonathan permalink
    January 12, 2011 20:04

    Another master piece babe, congratulations! Love to hear what you’re thinking in your words and I know it can be difficult writing at times but keep it up, you’ve got a lot of fans following along.


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