I just stumbled across "Laotian Prayers on a Sinking Raft" in the March issue of Perceptive Travel, penned by Brad Olsen.
Hanging out in Muang Ngoi, Brad and his partner joined two others planning to float down the Nam Ou on a bamboo raft -- turns out it's not as easy as it looks.
Brad finishes in explaining that while the raft trip may not have been smooth sailing, it was an "authentic travel moment".
What springs to your mind when you think of an authentic travel moment?
I was on the public bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, on a seat that had my legs perched over the wheel (which results in leg cramps and stiffness for hours, not to mention added pain in the butt, literally).
Five minutes before rolling into Phnom Penh's market bus station, the sweet little girl in front of me, pee'd. It went straight through her seat, right down, sloshing onto my legs and open sandal-ed feet. Five minutes!
The next thing of course, is to get past the touts when I got off the bus. Picture this: a skinny Chinese woman, desperately using her small water bottle to wash the pee off her feet, surrounded by relentless men at the side of the bus, who in her lack of response, pushed closer and closer in. Lady, I know hotel. Lady, I have tuk-tuk. Lady, I take you, okay, I take you?
Yeap, under that bright sunny sky in humid sweaty Phnom Penh, that was my authentic travel moment. :)