A Strange Ride in Laos

It was a warm night in the town of  Luang Prabang. My traveling companions and I had just polished off some amazing Laotian barbecue and thought we’d have a little fun at one of the night clubs down the street from our hotel.I had forgotten my phone at the hotel and told Jeff and Kerry I’d meet them at the club in a few minutes. It was a good 10 minute walk to the hotel. I hurried so I wouldn’t miss out on anything. I got to the room, grabbed my stuff and walked out to the front of the hotel. That’s when I saw her.

It’s not uncommon to see a girl on a motorcycle in Asia. A lot of people ride bikes, many of them women, but they are usually covered with a helmet or face mask. This girl was not. She had long flowing raven hair like some sort of shampoo ad. I felt like I was watching one of those slow motion commercials as she drove past me. She was dressed to the nines. I couldn’t help staring at her. She commanded the street. She looked at me. I looked at her. Then she stopped. There wasn’t much talking. She motioned me to get on the bike. I was agog. Did she really want to give me a ride? Was I dreaming? “Why not?” I thought. Maybe she was just being helpful and giving a lost tourist a ride. I told her where I was going. She nodded her head and we took off.

I could smell her perfume as I held on to her petite shoulders, her hair blowing backwards towards my face. I must admit, I’ve never dated an Asian girl but there was something very sexy about a beautiful girl picking me up on a motorcycle. As I took in the moment, I realized we were not going the direction where my friends were. I pointed where I needed to go  and she nodded her head as if she understood. Maybe she had a shortcut. As we continued down the windy streets into areas of town where tourists don’t tread, I started getting a little nervous. I’d been robbed before and I didn’t enjoy it one bit. I had also read stories about strangers driving their victims to some isolated area and separating them from all of their possessions. I couldn’t imagine this beautiful woman doing that…..or maybe she was just the bait. Maybe she would take me to some remote part of town where a gang of hoodlums were lying in wait for the next victim. They’d give her a few thousand Laotian kip and she’d leave me with the robbers.

I tried to not be too obvious about my fears. I tapped her in my polite American way and reminded her that we were not going the way we were supposed to be. What were her intentions? Maybe she didn’t understand my pronunciation of the club. Laotian is a difficult language for Westerners. Perhaps she was taking me on a sightseeing tour of her lovely city. She wasn’t stopping at any of the sites though. There was the robbery theory of course. The more I thought about it, the more that theory made sense. I was trying to think of how I should react if I found myself confronted with a gang of Laotians. Would my 2 semesters of college karate be enough to defend myself like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill? In an Asian country? Probably not. Why did I think of Kill Bill? I’m Bill.

All of a sudden we were going down little windy back-roads. There was no doubt my escort had a destination in mind. I’ll admit I was curious where this was leading but I was also getting more and more nervous wondering who might be waiting for me. It was very dark by now with only the lights from the headlights showing the way. Suddenly she slowed down in front of a small house. Really it was more of a duplex or series of small buildings bunched together like a string of motels from the 60s. She stopped the bike, stood up and motioned for me to follow her. I could finally get a better look at her since I had been behind her the entire time. She had beautiful skin, amazing jet black hair and a fantastic body. I couldn’t imagine such a pretty girl wanting to kill me. I followed her trustingly towards the little house like a bull walks into  a slaughterhouse all the time hoping that he might be different than the other cattle before him. Suddenly a man jumped up with a machete. He had been sleeping and now he was awake with a giant knife in his hand. At first I was startled. I’ve seen a lot of machetes in my day, but this man had no intention of using this one on me. He dropped it by his side and disappeared. The beautiful Asian girl reached into her pocket and produced a key. Maybe she was having me over for tea? Where could this possibly be leading? Suddenly, my questions were answered.

This tiny house only contained one room. The room had no furniture or really any floor space for that matter. Almost the entire floor was dedicated to a mattress. There was a blanket or two, some frumpy pillows and the usual stuff you see on a messy bed. So, here it was. It was about sex. I was either so incredibly handsome that this woman had to have me, or ……she was a hooker. I wanted to believe that the first was true, but I haven’t exactly had foreign women throwing themselves at me on a regular basis, so I could safely assume that there was going to be an exchange of …er….money. There were 3 issues, however. First, I had a girlfriend (who I was traveling with) and I had vowed to never cheat on her. Second, I had never  been with a hooker and had no intention of starting. Third, I didn’t want to get involved with a woman who doesn’t make her bed in the morning.

She looked at me. I looked at her. She looked at the bed. I looked at the bed. She looked at me again. Okay. We had skipped drinks and foreplay so it was time to just talk about life and where everyone was at the moment. I began by telling her that I loved the girl I was with and wouldn’t ever consider cheating on her. Running off with a Laotian prostitute was just not going to make my girlfriend very happy at all. The beautiful girl looked disappointed and suddenly a thought came to mind. I could set her up with Jeffrey. Jeffrey had been traveling with Kerry and I as we shooting travel videos in Asia and he might be a little tired of being a third wheel. Maybe, just maybe, this could be a Nguyen Nguyen (win win, get it?) situation for everyone. I explained this to the girl and she brightened up with the prospect of bringing another American boy to her lair. We hopped back on the bike and finally went the right direction. The club was rocking and there were a lot of locals dancing and hanging out on the street as we pulled up.

I ran into the club and grabbed Jeffrey to tell him the fantastic news. He was skeptical and not really excited about being with a Laotian prostitute either, but I somehow convinced him to at least meet her and give love a chance. The street was very bright compared to anywhere else in the area and it was a perfect place for Jeffrey to take in the beauty of this lovely lady. He walked over as I introduced the two of them and stopped. He walked around one side, and then the other side like he was inspecting a cut of aged Kobe beef. It seemed a little rude at first and then he started laughing…..”Bill, that’s a dude”. “What?”  That was impossible. I know what cross dressers look like. I’ve seen The Birdcage at least twice, not to mention Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. He looked closer while the young lady sat patiently staring ahead. “Dude, look….he has an Adam’s apple.”

There was no disputing that big bulge on the neck of this Laotian princess. I had been warned about “lady boys” in Asia. There’s so many of them that even job applications have a 3rd box next to male and female for undetermined sexes. Here I was, spending a good portion of my evening with someone of a very questionable gender. As soon as Jeff had pointed out the now obvious Adam’s apple, the lady boy knew the gig was up. He/she sped off into the darkness on the motorcycle. As we walked back into the club I breathed a sigh of relief.

I don’t want to know what would have happened if I had said yes instead of no. That would have been a very awkward moment. A very awkward moment indeed. If you’d like to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, check out this article.

Yes, all the women in these pictures are really men.

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