He flipped his fellow driver the Lankan Bird.
After spitting out a hearty, “F*ck You!” and glaring at his fellow tuk tuk driver, our suicidal operator cut him off, flipped him off, and put the pedal to the medal until the tuk tuk reached a deadly 50 MPH.
Just another day being ferried around in paradise, feeling like I’d paid the ferryman to cross the River Styxx into hell.
Getting from Point A to Point B can be a harrowing experience as you circle the globe.
In places like Bali and Thailand, traffic signs or signals are often viewed as casual suggestions.
Enjoy 5 of my wildest rides from around the world.
1: Rage-Filled 3 Wheel Lankans in Colombo, Sri Lanka
3 Wheel Lankan drivers in Colombo, Sri Lanka were a combustible combo: imagine the savage aggressiveness of a New York City driver with the reckless abandon of a SE Asian motorbike operator.
I got the feeling that unless you wildly passed 5 people during a 2 minute ride, a 3 Wheel guy believed all onboard would spontaneously burst into flames, a Colombo Cremation worthy of a Michael Bey movie.
Since I didn’t want to go out like an immolating monk, Kelli and I took like 3 tuk tuk rides in Colombo.
2: Dozing Drivers Laos
I coughed like an 80 year old, life-time smoker who left the womb puffing on Lucky’s.
Had to, to grab the attention of our sleepy driver.
The bus guy on the 24 hour ride from Northern Laos to Chiang Mai, Thailand had dozed again as we entered a wildly tight, highly dangerous, blind curve in mountain country.
Red Bulls were strewn to and fro by the driver’s seat, fueling these 2 Young Turks as we hurtled through the night on some of the world’s most dangerous roads.
Every hour or so I spotted a 10 to 20 foot section of guard rail ripped away.
Meaning the driver and passengers of the autos or buses which blasted through the guard hurtled hundreds of feet to their deaths.
A lady began retching not 45 minutes into the trip as we wound around severe curves, climbing higher and higher through the mountains.
24 hours later we arrived in Chiang Mai.
Not in pieces.
3: 1 Way Bus Drivers Cambodia
“Tribute to England!”
My friends and I yelled this – in our best Brit accents – when we drove down the wrong way of the street, on quiet side streets, late at night, as dingbat high schoolers.
Cambodian bus drivers seemed to resonate with our juvenile silliness.
Except they ferried around a collection of blase, “no big deal this guy’s driving like a Kampuchean Kamikaze” Cambodians and pale-white tourists, calling in their will, praying to their Maker, and getting in that critical last Facebook update before transitioning to the ethers.
These jokers regularly passed cars, buses, tuk tuks, cows, dogs and anything sentient – or inanimate – driving into oncoming traffic, cutting it DANGEROUSLY close as buses and trucks and cars hustled toward us at a terrifying high rate of speed.
We avoided becoming part of a Cambodian Steel Sandwich.
4: Death-Defying Logger Run Savusavu, Fiji
I’ve chronicled my near death experience on a logging truck in Savusavu, Fiji.
Sunday ain’t a high traffic day in Savusavu.
NO day is a high traffic day in Savusavu.
Had to hitch-hike from the waterfalls to Savusavu. On the way home.
So naturally, my Fijian buddies picked the first ride: a huge logging flatbed.
The chicks got inside the cab.
Me and my Fiji bro’s and I rode by the lumber.
The set-up: I clung to a steel grate with 2 hands, awkwardly reaching across my body as I balanced on the outside 3 toes of my right foot, on a razor’s edge, as we were buffeted around by 1 ton lumber load shifts, when the driver barreled around tight turns at 30 to 40 MPH.
Like a deadly game of Twister.
If it weren’t for my guns/pipes/arms, I’d have been a Fijian version of Frogger.
5: Agitating ATV Ride Buena Vista, Costa Rica
“Welcome to the Jungle Baby! You Gonna DDDDIIIIIIIIEEEEE!” ~ Axel Rose (or Ryan Biddulph in Buena Vista, Costa Rica)
Kelli and I were transported from the remote outpost of Bribri, Costa Rica to the freaking wilderness in the DEEP jungles of the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, in lovely Buena Vista….via ATV.
4 wheel drive trucks could make it 40% of the way.
Then ya had to do ATV or horseback.
Or, by your tootsies.
I was whipped to and fro, like a spastic rag doll, feeling like Indiana Jones as we were whisked around hair pin turns in the dense jungle underbrush.
The young Tico driver wheeled this sucker up 1 mile high, muddy, rocky mountain as my rear end slid off the back of the quad.
I clung onto the machine for dear life as bullet ants rained down from the jungle canopy.
When the homeowner rode on the quad a few minutes after us he found the critter with the most excruciatingly painful bite on earth climbing up the ATV, ready to sink its ferocious fangs into his fanny.
Honorable Mention: Van from Sihanoukville to Kampot, Cambodia
We were packed in like slimy, sweaty sardines, 10 to 12 tourists (some smelling like they’d bathed in freshly-dredged sewer scum and eaten shit sandwiches the night before) jammed into a van which flew from Sihanoukville to Kampot, Cambodia.
Luggage was tied to the top of the van.
A van without a real luggage rack.
Air conditioning took a while to kick in.
Adding to the sweat.
A child vomited last night’s Cambodian fish stew on some guy’s flip flops.
The kid’s mom cleaned it up, piling said puke into a small plastic bag.
Which she hung from the back of the passenger-side chair.
The bag of child vomit swung back and forth with each turn, creating a Puke Pendulum that teased my gag reflex.
When I arrived in Kampot I swore I was prepared to crawl on all 4’s to my next destination.