It could only happen to me – standing on a pig in Laos

It had already been a stressful day. We were in the south of Laos, sitting in the boiling heat at the side of the road waiting for a bus which had been due hours ago. We were stuck with a know-it-all traveller and had just witnessed a turkey become roadkill by a speeding truck (much to the anger of its owner who came along and scooped it up for dinner).

By the time the ‘bus’ (pick-up truck) arrived our nerves were frazzled and we were definitely ready to leave. So our hearts sank when we discovered that it was already packed inside, with men, women, children and chickens. Undeterred, the people in the truck motioned for the boys to get on the roof and reached out hands to pull my friend and me inside.

I had no idea where they were actually going to seat us but I grabbed a hand and stood on what looked like a bag of rice balanced on the steps to get inside. The bag instantly started moving and a squealing sound came from inside which was the worst noise I have ever heard. Realising I had stood on a live pig, I was absolutely mortified but it was obviously the highlight of the day for the locals who couldn’t stop laughing.

There followed an extremely uncomfortable journey, during which we became the centre of attention to our fellow passengers; we only had half a bum cheek on the seat at any one time and I spent most of the time saying in absolute disbelief “I can’t believe I just stood on a pig”. Once again, it could only happen to me.

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