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A freezer tuk-tuk

I met Pierre, a Quebec-er, in Laos. We were heading north – I to China, him to luang namtha. The tuk-tuk wound around the mountainous regions enroute to Udomsxy. The ride was beautiful; towering pines, meandering rivers, authentic villages filled with dutsy and unsmiling hilltribe villagers in rags.
Oh yes, the ride was incredibly beautiful. It was incredibly cold too.
It’s like being dumped into a freezer full of water. My fingers quickly went numb and I swore through chattering teeth. The tuk-tuk swerved left and right – sometimes it barely skirted the road’s edge. Despite the possibility of plunging over the cliff to a fiery death, I was more worried about  having little bits of my body drop off.
So I devised a myriad ways to stay warm. I shifted from left butt to right butt. But one was always left out in the open. So that didn’t work. I crouched fetal-style against the back of the driver’s cab. For a while, it worked. That’s until the cold seeped into the metal flooring and up my pants. I bobbed up and down – in time to the tuk-tuk’s flying bumps – in a valiant attempt to get hot and bothered. But the wind always robbed what little I had. I tried good ol’ fashioned rub-your-body-until-the-skin-peels-off method. It’s a nice theory except having less skin made it that much colder.
In the end, I found that a combination of all the above was the most effective: I’d hide behind the driver’s cab, rub myself raw, hop from butt to butt while bouncing in time to the tuk-tuk’s flying rhythm. Peirre – he who hails from the land of growling huskies and frozen wastes – simply ignored the cold.
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