Born to be scared

I’ve made some good calls on this trip

But I’ve also made some catastrophic errors which will live with me….

High on the hit parade of screw ups was a decision to do a 20 km hike after a night on the rice wine.

But a new entry – coming straight in at number 3 was The Motorbike Ride From Hell

Despite the hangover the trek had gone well. Lovely Shan villages , stunning mountain vistas (etc any article in National Geographic for further superlatives )

Bit of a shock to end in a village where the Shan Army (rather than the Burma Army) were on street corners idly cradling AK 47s in their laps
But they smiled and posed for photos

It was what came next that – had i not already been suffering the effects of a stomach bug – would have scared the crap out of me.

A soldier approached me and asked me if I was staying in the village overnight. The vibe wasn’t great so I decided to hire a motorcycle driver to get me back to Hsipaw.

The drivers name was Ju Jo and his motorbike was held together with sticky tape and string. But, man, could he ride that thing.

Which was just as well

He warned me that the road was “not good” after recent rains

What he should have said was that the road non existent.

It was simply a rutted muddy track winding through jungle and forests At one seriously scary point it narrowed to just a few feet with a sheer drop into a tree covered ravine on one side.

We slithered and skidded from side to side with Ju Jo keeping us upright with his legs

I had insisted on a crash helmet.

He laughed “Yes yes !” – and carried on without stopping.

Despite my growing yelps of alarm he began to pick up speed on the semi solid sections.

“Slow down!!”

“Yes . yes ha ha!! … and he went faster.

We saw no other riders for an hour. Just me, Ju Jo and the bike.

I peered over his shoulder to see how fast he was going. A fruitless exercise as the speedometer was knackered. As was everything else

Ju Jo knew this track well. He was able to duck under every branch and
plant that stretched across the track.
Which merely meant that on several occasions a slice of wet plant life smacked ME in the mouth.

The track got so muddy I had to get off and walk. I promptly fell flat on my backside

“Ha ha very slippy !” Says Jo Ju, somewhat unnecessarily.

Occasionally we’d pass another villager on a bike. . Usually a girl

“I love you !” He would coo as we went by.

After an hour and a half of this we made it to a gravel and rock track
Good: no more slithery mud
Bad : if I fall off and crack my head, I die

Bit somehow he got us back to the hostel. The light was fading and he had a 2 hour journey back

I hope he’s still alive



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