It’s actually about a month before I begin my next adventure to the jungles of Southeast Asia… Thailand and Laos. But it seems as if it actually began some time ago. The planning started over a year ago. This is not an adventure for the timid and it is taking lots of planning.
You see, I’m not going on one of those twenty-three places in ten day tours. There will be no tour guide… no all-inclusive with meals & booze included hotels… none of that kind of stuff. Instead I will be on my own exploring places most people never go… and where some went but never wanted to go. My biggest goal for this trip is to explore the Ho Chi Minh Trail as it goes through Laos.
As we go along I’ll give you some details about “the Trail” back in the day, but suffice to say for now that Laos is the most bombed country in the world… more than Japan or even Germany during WWII. During the “Second Indochina War” over 10+ years of bombing campaigns in Laos resulted in millions of tons of bombs being dropped by everything from “piper cubs” to B-52s.
The starting point of the trip will be Bangkok, Thailand. In my mind I conjure up Bangkok as sort of an international “Sin City”. I was there many moons ago… far more moons than I’m willing to admit. Back then for a teen-aged young guy there were many temptations. No… I didn’t succumb to the temptations… well, not exactly since I was a newly wed… so let’s just say I skirted danger.
And then there was my day as a “black marketer” in Bangkok. I’ll just say that the statute of limitations has long expired. (I was thinking about sneaking a shameless plug in right about here for my first book, “Memories of Naked Fanny” that tells more about that… but I won’t.)
I’m only going to spend a day or two in Bangkok just to see what it is like today. I’ll tell you all about it here. Then I’ll be going off on a big loop all around Thailand. I want to get to the rural areas and away from the tourist places. I’m renting an on-road/off-road motorcycle (dual purpose dirt-bike) in Bangkok and then will be off on a giant loop through Thailand for about 20 days.
After returning the “bike” to Bangkok, I’m getting on a plane and flying to Laos. Actually I fly on “wing and a prayer” airlines (Nok Air) to Udorn (Udon Thani). Udorn was the US name given a massive air base we built during the Second Indochina war. Today the former US Air Base is an “International airport”. We (the US) built bases all over Thailand that are today used as their commercial airports. From Udorn, I take a bus across the Mekong river to Vientiane the capital of Laos. From there my adventure to “The Trail” begins.
In Vientiane I’m renting another dual purpose “dirt-bike” and I’ll be heading out into the triple canopy jungles that the Ho Chi Minh Trail passed through. I will be spending a few nights in the jungle… no hotels… no air-conditioning… no restaurants or Lido buffets to eat in. I’ll be there with just a hammock… and a mosquito net to keep me from being the buffet and a few modern MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). “Back in the day” our fliers shot down there had less than that and had to spend a night or two there before being rescued… some, too many never came back. So I want to know what it was like to be in the jungle with only the sound of the critters at night. At least no one will be hunting me with AK-47s… at least I hope not.
I hope this doesn’t sound too “heavy” because mostly it won’t be. Although there are some “serious topics” that I’ll talk about from time to time, I’ll usually keep it “light” as I usually do. Today Laos is a magnificently beautiful country with the lush green country-side and rugged karsts rising thousands of feet into the sky. This will be a fun adventure and I hope you will enjoy coming along with me.
Next… planning for this trip. And ya’ll think I over-pack for a cruise.
Return to Naked Fanny