What has frightened you the most?
I was in Luang Prabang, Laos and was going to cross this bridge. The bridge itself was a single track for autos – planks laid down for the tires and absolutely no room for a person to be on when a car was on it.
Alongside the bridge, attached to it, was a foot path. This was a little below the main bridge so that when standing on the foot path, the car bridge came about to your neck. The foot path was made out of planks of wood that were variously broken or missing. There was a steel cable hand rail, but the whole thing moved and was very unsteady.
Add to this the fact that the river below was probably 50 meters down and the bridge itself was about 50 to 70 meters across.
I started to cross the foot path and after getting about 40 percent out there, began to get panicky. The thing was narrow (about a meter wide), the boards were loose, some were missing, the whole thing was shaking, the water below was very far down…it was a deathtrap. I finally stopped, clutching the rail and thinking, “I can’t take another step.” I looked at the situation and thought that going forward 60 percent would be better than retreating nearly the same distance (I wanted to see what was on the other side).
Well, of course I inched my way across…while native Laos passed me walking on the path without even touching the cable hand rail.
It was a strange sensation, gradually getting to the point were I could not move…petrified I think is the word. I have never before or since been so immobilized.
(And fyi, I came back across running on the car road. Better to face a truck head on than that fucking path again.)