It really is amazing how often we put our lives in the hands of strangers – pilots, surgeons, architects, the guy in charge of washing the chicken at TGI Fridays. I found myself marveling at this fact as I was herded into a mini van for the 45 minute drive straight down the mountain out of Sapa. A mountain with sheer cliff edges. And no guardrails. At night. In fog so thick you could bounce a quarter off it.
The guy driving brought along a couple of buddies who loudly distracted him by chatting and laughing and singing along to the crackly radio that was lamely attempting to pull in a signal while we bounced down this MAJOR FRIKKEN MOUNTAIN at alarmingly high speeds, in the dark, with the aforementioned fog. I kept thinking to myself, these people live here, they do this every day, it’s no big deal. Loosen your bone, Wilma.
To make matters even more pant wetting, the chick next to me was late for her train and kept breathing down the driver’s neck to step on it. Could she not see the lack of guardrail or the slick wet rocks or the not so generous 2 inches left between the road and the cliff every time we passed someone? I mean, where the hell was she going that was so important anyway?
I would like to point out here that I’ve been in many equally hairball situations and only turn into a crybaby if I can’t see where I’m going. Like that time I took a bus up the coast of Brazil driven by Mr. Brakes Are for Sissies. I sat there gazing out the window at the countless rusted carcasses of buses that had rolled over the edge before us while he pitched us onto two wheels every time we hit a curve. I thought it was exciting – those Brazilians are so wild! So sexy! – because I could see. But flying through thick fog with no idea when I’m going to hit the ground, no thank you. I’d like a death with a view please.
Anyway, we arrived unscathed and the dingbat with the death wish made her stupid train, but I have never, ever seen fog so thick and so omnipresent in my life.