On The Yukon (OTY)/ On The Ayeyarwady (OTA) – 9

OTY: Driving a forklift on a barge was a trick. Driving a loaded forklift off the barge was suicidal. Two wooden planks were between me and eternity. The learning curve was steep…and you mastered the balancing act quickly or you rolled on down at your peril. As the driver, you relied on manual dexterity with one hand on the wheel and the other keeping the forks level on descent, and a spotter who guided you. There was no time to let my life flash before my eyes, I needed all eyes front and center…not looking down. The spotter’s job was to keep s the forklift tires on the planks by signaling the direction of the wheels, so that the driver could make mid-course corrections. The spotter needed a poker face so that eminent danger was not conveyed to the driver. Signals needed to be subtle, without betraying urgency or the driver just might panic and over correct… and plunge into the Yukon. Once I accomplished this task (without death as an outcome), I felt like the Flying Wallenda river rat.

OTA: The various modes of transit provided to carry us around to Myanmar tourist sites were unique. The bikes with side cars were the most unusual and the most rickety pedicabs we have encountered. Our bicyclists were ingenious. Pedals were made of wood, and the side cars assembled with all sorts of spare wooden pieces. Some of our larger fellow passengers barely squeezed into the seats. Though our speed going down the roads was never at Tour de France velocity, there were times when I felt we were going to splinter asunder, leaving me in a trail of debris, splayed across the road as potential road kill.

About Whittoons

Cartoonist, and community organizer who has covered the globe as a doodlebugger, gandydancer, supernumerary steward, Able Bodied Seaman, Wireman, monkey man, Night Baker and dishwasher, Hobo, hitchhiker and husband.
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