The 4 Best Things About Driving a Motorbike in Laos, Part 1

Well, we weren't eaten by tigers. We survived the motorbike trip from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng, without a hitch.
Here's the video of the departure:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voUvlHNYjwo&feature=youtu.be

And here are the best things about the trip. Be jealous.

4. The scenery
China doesn't have anything on Laos. We put up a couple of posts on Chinese scenery here and here. Now, China is beautiful, but dang. I mean daaaaang! We saw some of the most beautiful things either of us had ever seen. We drove up into the mountains, I mean straight up into them. And there we were at the top, staring straight at the tops of the other green mountains around us. Lush green jungle surrounded us, and on the hills around us were fields of rice and banana trees. Tiny villages dotted the hills and cloudy blue skies were over the whole world.

3. The road
Now, as some of you may know, I (Talia) am not an expert motorbike rider/driver/pilot or whatever it is you do with a motorbike. Ricky, on the other hand, is. So he sped along, taking the tight curves at high speeds while I tried to get the hang of leaning into the turns instead of braking and inching along. I'll have you know I am improving. Often, Ricky made me go in front so he wouldn't unintentionally leave me behind, because he is the tenderest morsel of them all.  So there I was, struggling around tight mountain curves, dodging potholes, in too high a gear going uphill...
and I freaking loved it. It was the most exhilerating and frightening thing I've ever done, and I can't wait to do it again! Remember all that stuff I said about the scenery? Picture driving through that. Picture the jungle around you, the wind rushing through your...er...helmet. For safety. The twisting roads and the downhill speeds, everything. Everything was perfect.

And here's a video of a little break in the trip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_UkBggue_s&feature=youtu.be

2. The local fauna
No, we didn't see tigers or monkeys or elephants. But here's what we did see.
1 lizard, which Ricky almost destroyed.
1 small brown tortoise, which Ricky did destroy (accidentally).
A million butterflies, 7 of which destroyed themselves upon our chests, helmets, and goggles.
2 dogs gettin' it on in the middle of the road. Don't worry, all the traffic drove around them so as not to sour the moment of passion.
Several cows, which I shot with my finger gun. (pyew pyew!)
A family of sprinting pigs.
4 fat ducks waddling slowly across the road.
Chickens.

1. The people
Oh man. The people. This is where Laos has China beat again. The people are so nice and friendly. Many a time we drove through a mountain village and small children waved at us. When we waved back, they let out a cheerful "wooohooo!" At one point, after we stopped to fill up the bikes, I started to pull away. A girl waved to me, and when I waved back, she ran after me, waving and shouting.
Later in the afternoon, we passed a whole horde of kids going home from school, some walking, most on bikes. They waved, we waved, smiles all around.
Not just the kids were friendly. Many adults waved and smiled at us, including truck drivers, other motorbikers, and villagers. There was no way we could be unhappy.

Well there it is. The 4 reasons we had more fun than you'll ever have, ever. No. I mean, 4 reasons we loved driving for 8 hours despite potholes and humping dogs.

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