Yoghurt and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance

I wasn’t going to believe that motorbike workshops all sold Yoghurt. But the coincidence was uncanny. Every motorbike repair shop has a sign saying “Su’a Chau” then on the next line “XE MAY” for motorbike. They often also have phone credit too.

I’m currently in Sa Pa. I’m waiting for repair parts to arrive for the pedal that broke on day 2 and has been bodge repaired twice since then. Sa Pa is a tourist mecca with street pushers selling clothes and authentic silver braclets made out of aluminium cans everywhere. Most of the girls selling stuff are tri-lingual, speaking H’mong dialect, Vietnamese and English. They are also illiterate. Of all the places to be stuck, its quite nice, but its also not anything like Vietnam off the tourist trail.

Its the first time I’ve been able to talk English in a while. Its a relieving change. Its also nice having English speaking hotel staff and the perfect opportunity to ask why motorbike repair shops all sell yoghurt. I asked and she pointed at the sign across the street. “Su’a chau” then motioned eating yoghurt and said what sounded like exactly the same.

The difference in accents on the letters come up in a bunch of places. “Pho” with different accents changes from food to road and something else as well. I guess its still an improvement on words like ‘lead’ in english.

An hour later we hired motorbikes for a day from the same lady to go and check out some waterfalls and some villages. We asked where we should get fuel and she replied “Go to the yoghurt shop”. She has a sense of humour.


About shuttrjames

I`m riding a bike through SE Asia. i come from a country where we only speak english, have good maps and no hills. Here. I am in trouble! Follow me to get lost in the back roads of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. james
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