At home our parents are always very strict about car safety. If we forget to put on our seat belt even one time, we get in trouble, probably because it’s the law. “Click it or ticket!'” as the signs say in Georgia. But in Asia, there is no law like that. There aren’t even usually any seat belts. You can hang out the sides of the car, stand on the roof, or even sit on the driver’s lap and no one cares. For instance, in Cambodia and some other countries, the backs of pick-ups are fully loaded with 20 people or more. But the most unsafe part is the roads! Where there are roads, they’re mostly all old and destroyed. One of the holes in the road could easily send someone who wasn’t holding on to the pick-up flying. It’s amazing how unsafe it is. We see tipped trucks all the time! Not pick-ups but the big huge ones, like 8 or 12 wheelers.
In Laos we experienced some very unsafe things compared to Cambodia though. Some more than others. To me the biggest one was the tuk-tuk ride to the Buddha caves. It was a 45-minute ride on a partially dirt road in an open-ended pick up truck. It wasn’t the missing door in the back that was creepy though; it was my dad. He stood on the back bumper because he didn’t want to get sick. He only did it on the dirt road with all the huge rocks and bumps. I don’t know why he would do it there and not on the paved road. Really I don’t why he even did it. Maybe he’s just a big kid. I felt like a parent, because I kept telling him to come down, but he wouldn’t. Too bad I couldn’t ground him.
The boat ride across the river to the Buddha caves was better, even if the seats moved and were just wooden stools. At least it wasn’t dangerous.
Then there was the mini-bus ride through the mountains from Luang Prabang to Vieng Vang. It wasn’t that it was dangerous, it was that it made you sick–real sick. I felt like I was going to puke even with the anti-motion sickness pill I took. I do this really strange thing where my stomach gets real hot, then my head gets hot, then I feel like I’m gonna throw up. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. This time I didn’t, but Asher did, all over herself and mom.There was no warning at all. She just blew, everywhere. That was when mom regretted giving Ash a chocolate milk, in a bus, swerving around mountains. We had to stop on the side of the road to take off Asher’s clothes and put them in a bag. We just wrapped mom’s coat around her. Mom on the other hand couldn’t take off her pants because all our bags were tied to the roof of the van. The worst part about that was that it made the whole car smell. Luckily the two other couples in the van–Australian and Dutch–weren’t mad and used the stop as an excuse for a smoke break.
A little further down the road at a town high in the mountains, we bought mom a skirt, so she could change out of her pukey pants. We also bought me and Kieran new $2.50 coats because the open windows were letting freezing air in. After a 15-minute break in the foggy, cold town, everyone felt a bit better. Next we made our way down the mountains to the next pit stop where it was nice and warm so we didn’t need our coats. We got ice cream there and played with a funny little puppy that was scrounging for food. Luckily, no one else threw up the rest of the way. We felt better when we heard from the people that were in other mini buses that they all had people throw up. The difference was since they were adults, they actually warned the driver to stop before they lost their lunch. We haven’t really done any bad travel since then except for the tuk-tuk to the Buddha park in Vientiane where we got a flat and had to take another one. Goodbye, and so long, McKane is gone.