I bought this thing in a dank corner of the catacumbal parking garage below September 23 park. A shirtless Bui Vien mechanic and his cash-strapped “brother” wanted $800 for the Win, which they insisted was “good” and “Japanese.”
In the end, I talked them down to five million Đong and my poor Chaly—who had bled all his gasoline out in the newspaper’s cluttered parking garage while I was away in America.
So I pushed him up onto the sidewalk and waited for the the pair to arrive on a single Honda Wave.
The pair took the Chaly without ever starting it.
The Win’s nominal owner jumped onto the tiny seat and let his his brother push him down the road with his big toe. I could hear the owner giggling about how he would give it to his wife to take to the market. Which seemed like a nice enough fate for the Chaly, who had spent the last 40 years as the personal conveyance of a widow in my neighborhood.
But, when I drove past their shop in the heart of Pham Ngu Lao, I saw Chaly up on the chopping block, waiting to be used and abused by some filthy backpacker.
As I coast towards 30, rudderless and restless, I suppose I’ll start doing lots of things like trading reliable, steady Chaly for a bike that’s too fast and too unwieldy for the city that I live in.