Some people you meet you will never forget. We have met two such people on this trip so far and expect to meet one more (can you guess who that is? ;-).
The first of these people was our driver in Vietnam. In addition to being our driver, he was also our bike mechanic, part-time photographer, medic, snack and water boy, comedian and general helper. Although this man spoke very little English he communicated very well. He was passionate about his work and his country and loved to indulge us with local food and stories (explained through our English-speaking guide and through the use of elaborate gestures). He also had quite an eye as a photographer. You could tell this man was living his life exactly as he wanted to. He has his own business renting bikes and supporting bike tours because he loves cycling and sharing that passion with people from around the world. If you take a bike trip in Vietnam, this is the man you want in the support vehicle.
The second person we won’t soon forget was our guide in Cambodia. This man is one of the most cheerful we’ve ever known. This might not be surprising except that he bears visible scars, including the loss of sight in his right eye, of numerous incidences of his torture after being captured by the Khmer Rouge. He also lost 10 family members, reducing his family from 14 to 4 during the reign of the Khmer Rouge (the entire country lost an estimated 3 million people out of a prior population of 14 million to the hands of the KR). He was a delightful person with many talents ranging from tour guide (and teacher of tour guides) to schoolteacher (math and music) to musician to cook and many more. He even started his own school and orphanage. Everyone in town seems to know him and he has a smile and a kind word for everyone. If you can live through what he has lived through and still accomplish so much and be so cheerful, most of the rest of us have no excuses.