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Walking in Cumbria and Beyond

Bananas in my Backyard

Bananas in my Backyard

I have bananas in my backyard. 

Thinking of how life is different from my Cumbrian norm, 

bananas growing outside my window is most definitely.


This week I have opened a bank account, been carried, sidesaddle, on the back of a motorbike and driven my own scooter through a magnificent storm.

Many butterflies, insects and lizards

Many butterflies, insects and lizards, but this the only to oblige me and stay still

I need a bank account to be paid, fairly mundane but on the list of experiences it rated highly.  There is a love in Vietnam of paper.  Bits of paper to prove this, to show that.  Each photocopied in triplicated, scanned and stored and checked.  Anything, even mailing a package, needs a passport number.  Mine is now indelibly etched in my memory.  So the pile for a bank account was fairly high.  I had the undivided attention of not one, but two employees who filled the forms and guided my hand through innumerable signatures until  I emerged at the end of several desks and rooms clutching a debit card and bank account number.  


My city navigation is improving.  I can drive to quite a few places without getting lost.  But the periphery, my own district aside, is somewhere I tackle as  I ‘need to know’ .  My week day work can be anywhere in the city.  Thankfully my Vietnamese employers realise my incompetence and take me to the school or business the first time.  Usually the first time.  There is one school hidden down a warren of lanes and alley ways I feel I would never emerge from if left to my own devices.  

flower de

Sometimes I follow, not the easiest of tasks in the heaving melee of bikes, and sometimes I am given a lift.  Little did I realise the first time I was offered a lift it would be on the back of motorbike.  The only way to maintain any decorum while dressed for work is to ride sidesaddle.  Suggest this to me a few weeks ago and I may just have laughed, where as this week I was unceremoniously told I could not drive fast enough (my lift was late, and the assumption was correct) so I would have to ride on the bike of a somewhat larger bike than mine on a jaunt down the 6 lane highway.   Yes, sidesaddle.


Neighbours – in among the des res.

The rainy season is hanging on by a thread.  It should end in November but for now there is still a near daily deluge.  Rain falls in sheets.  More like a bath being up ended rather than a shower.  Lightening flashes horizontally across the sky while the thunder exacerbates the ever ambient noise of motorbikes.  Grey mist blots out all but immediate vision.  At least if you’re caught in the city then dripping into the nearest cafe is an option.  Out on the highway the only shelter is bridges.  Masses of bikes congregate to wait out the worst while cars and lorries hoot in annoyance.  Just as  the UK is pathetically equipped for snow, the planners here must have forgotten about the rain.  Drains overfill,water is soon lapping over footrests, seeping up sleeves and down necks.  I will be pleased when the dry season begins, for now I shall just have to remain ‘dressed to kill’.

Pictures, if not quite in ‘my backyard’, within a couple of 100 meters.


Dressed for rain!

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One Comment

  1. I admire your courage and independence. Well done. Thanks for sharing your expedition and the lovely photos keep it up.

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