The Jurassic Park films may have been set and largely filmed in Costa Rica, but the South Eastern Asian country of Laos could just as easily have been the backdrop for the dino-flicks. While riding around the countryside on scooters last month, my travel partner and I both commented that we half expected Velociraptors and T-Rexs to jump out at us from the jungle. The overall terrain was quite flat, but hills and mountains jutted up almost out of nowhere.
Thankfully no dinosaurs did appear, as I'm not sure we would have outrun much on our 125cc scooters, especially on the rough, rutted, muddy roads and paths that wound their way through the countryside. In the nearby city of Luang Prabang I stumbled across a much more capable dinosaur getaway vehicle, however. It was a beautiful cream-coloured 4x4. The rugged, topless off-road truck looked like it was built for mad dashes across the fields and through the jungle.
The big knobby tires, high ground clearance, and spare gas can all hinted at the 4x4s off-road capabilities. There were jump seats in the back, making rescuing stragglers possible, and the windshield was designed to fold forward in case there was a fallen tree to duck under. It was easy to picture myself tearing through the jungle with the hot breath of a hungry dinosaur on my neck...
There were no logos or names on the 4x4, but it looked something like a classic Land Rover or Land Cruiser. Turns out it was a GAZ-69, built between 1953 and 1972 in the Soviet Union. The cream paint and saddle brown seats looked fantastic together, and the crowning touch was a straw hat sitting on the gearshift. It's as if it was begging for me to jump in, prop the hat on my head, fire up the engine, and tear off on a life-or-death race against a cranky dinosaur.
In the end my getaway vehicle stayed parked. No dino-mergency presented itself, and even if it had, the keys weren't in the ignition. I've never hot-wired a vehicle, and it isn't with an imminent risk of dinosaur attack that I should try to learn. Still, if someday in the future you find yourself in a Jurassic-style setting and feel the ground shake behind you, hope and pray that such a perfect escape vehicle is waiting patiently for you!
Welcome! My name is Paul, and I am an old-fashioned, low-pressure, low-buck car fan with lots of automotive stories to tell!