February 4, 2011
In the hot afternoon sun in northern Laos, Kat and I took a break mid-span on a bridge crossing a river. The river was smooth. Barely a ripple. And the water was slate gray/green in color.
We heard laughter upriver and saw something floating toward us.
As it approached, we realized that it was two young boys in an old wooden river boat. Whatever joke one boy was telling the other must have had an amazing punchline, because they both erupted in a cackle of laughter that bounced over the water.
Then it abruptly stopped. They had both looked up at the bridge and seen an unfamiliar sight. Two foreign cyclists, loaded for travel.
The silence couldn't have lasted for more than two seconds, and then the boys began laughing again, waving wildly in our direction.
Kat and I were laughing and waving, too, as we watched the boat glide under the bridge and emerge on the other side.
It was a brief encounter, but a lasting memory. Just one of thousands of memories that create this living travel mural housed somewhere in the corner of my soul.
Photo by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His latest book Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist will inspire you to hit the road and just might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.