I don’t know if I screamed before I crawled on my bleeding knees through the dust to turn the key of the fallen motorbike. Nothing, but a bit of my pride, hurt at that moment.
A Vietnamese man grabbed my hand, while another propped the motorbike back up on its kickstand. He led to me a water tank, gave me soap and a bucket and motioned for me to wash the dust off of myself—he disappeared into a near by hut.
My friend had yelled Oh my god! after the fall. She watched it, it could have been worse, but we were still not in a good position. Vulnerable. She watched him prop up the bike and he signaled for her to join him to drink something.
The man returned with a tin of Tiger Balm, he slathered my cuts with the medicated cream, but only after he patted my legs, arms and hand dry with a clean cloth. Kindness. He placed the tin in my palm and closed my hand, meaning that this was for me to keep. Generosity.
He led me to where my friend was drinking green tea and playing a game of language barrier charades with another Vietnamese man, this was a game we had both mastered after months of being expats. After many rounds we won, and had communicated the story of the broken bike. The Vietnamese, mechanical motorbike geniuses, took 15 minutes and had solved the problem. Go-getters. They asked for nothing in return and sent us on our way.
This was my favorite Vietnamese moment.