One Second Encounters

I left the Council of the Monkey in Pai and headed north through Laos to China. The other council members headed south to bangkok for school and such … I ran out of money in Chiang Rai on the Laos border and had to trade a bottle of Sambuca for a broken bike.

I strapped my big pickle bag to the back of this bike with bungee cords and went off on a hilly ride across Laos to the border with China at the town of Mengla. I think it was about 100km or so to get there. In my bag i had two hookahs, three bottles of Sambuca, leather supplies and oils, clothes and books and a collection of teas, herbs and other junk collected over the past three months on the road.

There are no well-off areas in Laos and the hills I was biking through are poorer than most. I had a one second encounter there …

As I rode through one road side village, the old women mobilized and rose up on skinny legs, yelling to the huts in the back and waving their arms in excitement when they saw me. At first i too was excited and slowed to see what kind of welcome they had for me …

then a beautiful young girl, maybe 14 or so, came rushing out of the back huts holding up her skirts. She was surrounded by yelling and gesturing young boys and old women urging her on to the road. to me. I looked at her and her face was flushed red, beautiful against her brown perfect skin and her eyes held the young bride’s combination of fear and anxious excitement …

I was shocked and attracted at the same time. I felt obligated to stop and love her even as my soul screamed “PEDAL fool!”

Who knows how many men stopped here and paid for a month’s worth of food for this village with just an afternoon or two with this young girl?

I caught her eye as i pedaled away and in her eyes she showed me that she was not only dismayed but hurt.

tell me about your One Second Encounters if you can remember them …

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Sascha Matuszak
Sascha Matuszak

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