March 07, 2006 GMT
Laos I

Nobody really saw what happened to Marlon Brando (alias colonel Kurtz) when he was struck on the head by Martin Sheene in Apocalypse Now. We could only assume that he died. However, in Apocalypse Now II (Even More Now) - as we imagine - it becomes clear that the colonel miraculously survived and fled up the Mekong River to heal the gash on his bald head. So we started there, by the Friendship Bridge in Nong Khai, popping malaria pills and planning our search in the jungle of Laos.

Unfortunately the search crew got drunken thus spending six days to recuperate on the Vang Vieng air strip used by the Americans during the Indochina War. Even though the bomb raids ended more than thirty years ago the Saisombun Special Zone still have some security issues, with an occational tourist accidentally caught in line of fire and then getting the face cut off with a knife. This disfiguration is merely to hide the f@ck-up, an act that works the opposit way because this is only done to westerners. "Hey, look at that mince face. Yep, another tourist."

Anyway - about our recuperating - in the absence of western pharmacies we turned to ancient Asian therapy such as bicycling in the countryside, swimming in underground caves, and floating down rivers on bloated tractor tubes. We even watched a film, something I had not done in a very long time. Other key words are bungalow, banana pancakes, hammock and sunburn. Slowly but steady we became fit enough to realize that the colonel never made it to Vang Vieng. In other words, a search further north would be in vain. We had to drive back south, which was nice because on our way north we oozed through the Lao capital with an ignorance that makes the Ku Klux Klan seem excited about African architecture.

The Buddha in the Tham Phu Kham cave was not colonel Kurtz

Vientiane is a peculiar riverside capital because there is a hundred meter buffer zone between the river shore and the city. That is, hundred meters of nothing. In other riverside settlements they cannot build their houses far enough into the riverbed. Some places they even acquire bulldozers to make more land and so the river slimmer. But not in Vientiane. Ah, who cares, they seem to think. After an hour of promenade you realize that the locals are laid-back about most other issues too. In a central road crossing a tuk-tuk (taxi) and a moped crashed. Now, if this was in e.g. Germany an ambulance would have been on the spot within minutes. Then Derrick would show up. Not to forget the wonder dog Rex.

Vientiane accident: How are you doing in there? Can we get you a Coca-Cola?

Posted by Erik Saue at March 07, 2006 12:24 AM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!