Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Method To My Madness

You’ve probably seen the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It’s been a long time since I have seen it, but I remember John Candy trying to get somewhere (for Christmas?) and he has to take all these different methods of transportation. I can relate to that! I thought I would go over a few different weird ways to get around that I have come across in my travels.

Bad quality photo...but you get the point!
Matola: This is an African bus. But it’s not really a “bus”. What it really is is a small pickup truck, stuffed to the gills with people. In the front, there are usually 2 or 3 people, not including the driver (and if you sit in the front, you will probably have to hold some random person’s baby). The back is also filled with people and the amount of people they fit in there is astounding. I rode in one where there were probably 20 people, at least, as well as a few 50 lb bags of maize, a guy with about 15 dozen eggs, our two huge backpacks (I think someone was sitting or standing on mine) and a couple of ladies with babies stuck to their boobs. Just when you think they can’t fit any more people, the truck pulls over and somehow another person gets on.

Speedboat: In Laos, there are no good roads, so you have to travel on the river. The boat I decided to take (because it was faster) was the speedboat. Now, this appears to be a canoe with an outboard motor. It fits only one person across and is roughly 6 people long. And somebody needs to fix the muffler, because it is VERY, VERY loud (like an airboat in Louisiana if you have ever been on one of those). I naively thought I would be able to get some reading done until I saw the boat. I was still a little hopeful until I heard the boat and once it started up and we went bouncing over wave after wave, I lost all hope and donned my mp3 player. Even though I turned it up as loud as I could get it, I could still hear (clearly) the drone of the engine. And my butt, you ask? Yes, it was pretty much numb. Imagine sitting on a piece of plywood for 6 hours without moving. Next time I will choose the slower boat!!!

Puddle Jumper: In the Himalayas, they don’t have roads, so in order to get from place to place, you have to either walk (which we did plenty of) or take a 12-seater plane over the mountains. I am not afraid of heights or small spaces, but if you are, I would suggest the 5 day walk instead. There apparently was not a cargo hold, because a few seats were taken out and all of the luggage was put in front of me, including, you guessed it, a couple dozen eggs. The runway was on the side of a mountain and was probably about, I don’t know, 50 feet long.

Watch for spitting!
18 Wheeler: When there are no buses, you have to do what you can. What we could do was hitchhike. A nice guy in an 18 wheeler picked us up and even let us drive when he was sleepy!

Rickshaw type things: It’s a three wheeled motorcycle cart in India. The same thing in Thailand is called a Tuk-Tuk. In Malaysia, it’s an old guy with a bike who petals you and your heavy luggage around. You almost want to help him.

Camel: This was definitely the most uncomfortable of modes of transportation. We thought it would be great to sign up for a THREE DAY camel trek. After day one, I had already had enough. My groin and behind were so sore! However, we were not done. We suffered enjoyed two more days of it and boy was I glad to get off when it was over!

What is the weirdest method of transportation you have ever experienced? Have you ever ridden on a bus with a chicken? What IS the weirdest animal or thing you have shared a bus ride with?


  1. Fantastic site! Found it for the first time tonight through FTLOB. I'll be back to read your site some more.I can't believe they would be able to fit 20 people in a truck or jeep like that!

  2. This is a great post! Kyria, now I want to know which of those unusual modes of transportation you liked best!

  3. Ha, you have taken some interesting forms of transportation. Mine have all been pretty mundane except the vans in the Dominican which were packed to the gills with people and chickens and men car surfed on the floor boards on one side of the van!