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Five billion kilometres of roads network the planet.
Everywhere, new routes are being forged
through increasingly difficult terrain.
Across arctic wilderness...
That was a game of chicken right there.
..over high mountain passes...
That's as big a drop as we've seen so far.
..and through dense jungles.
Good work, very good work.
These roads may be a testament to man's ingenuity,
but driving on them requires skill...
I'm going to get out the car. I can't bear it.
..and a steady nerve.
This programme contains some strong language
Comedian and broadcaster Sue Perkins
is teaming up with the actress and presenter Liza Tarbuck
to take on the Ho Chi Minh Trail,
a road that became famous during the Vietnam War.
Still littered with unexploded bombs,
they'll tackle the most remote and inaccessible parts of the trail.
I'm aware of UXB-ing, so, you know what I mean? Yep.
Round that way, darling.
The road will take them on rough jungle tracks...
A sign there said Death Falls this way.
..across raging rivers... You all right? Yup.
Just need to get right to the river.
..and through swampy, sticky mud.
Every mile hemmed in by tons of lethal explosives.
1,300km along one of the most infamous
and perilous roads in the world.
This is dangerous, actually. The bombs are very near the road here.
Liza and Sue know each other socially,
but they've never been in such close proximity as they will be over the next ten days.
They begin their journey in Vinh,
a city that was completely obliterated by American bombing.
I guess what I really know about this area
is what I've seen on television
and possibly represented by Hollywood films.
I first met Liza in Holloway Prison for Naughty Ladies,
we were both doing a six-year stretch and she, yeah, she ruled the roost.
Welcome to our home!
Am I intimidated by it? No, I don't think I am, actually.
You know, neither Sue nor I are idiots.
I think it'll be a lot of fun,
and she has the best breasts in show business.
Amazing, even better than Chris Moyles. Best breasts.
Let's just do it. Let's get on the trail.
I was really hoping she was going to drive.
Their first hurdle is Vinh's rush-hour traffic.
Go, go, go.
Bit of UK intent for you, right there.
Now get behind this bike. He's going a nice, steady pace.
Vietnam has a population of 80 million people
and 40 million motorbikes.
The result is traffic chaos and 30 road deaths every day.
Not a fact that seems to faze the girls.
Good horn work. Here comes Susan.
Back off, pink hat.
# King of the road
# Trailer for sale... #
Sue and Liza begin their journey in Vietnam
before following the Ho Chi Minh Trail into Laos.
They'll continue driving south,
but the further they go, the worse the road conditions will become.
The last stage of their journey will take them back over the border
into Vietnam to finish on the beaches of the South China Sea.
It's weird, being just sort of five minutes out of the city
and there's just paddy fields.
I did that too fast and I actually ate my own breasts for a second.
Vietnam is one of the world's biggest exporters of rice.
Every year, over $10 million worth goes to the USA.
How do they feel about America?
Have you got a bit of a clue on that?
Is there a general feeling?
I mean, you know, you wouldn't feel great.
You know what, I don't think I would, if, 40 years ago,
someone had napalmed London or any part of the UK.
Well, we're still in living memory. HORN HONKS
Well handled. That was interesting. Yes, wasn't it?
The Vietnam War between the communist North Vietnamese
and the American-backed South Vietnamese lasted 19 years.
It ended in 1975 with over 2 million dead,
victory for the communist North and defeat for the Americans.
Two hours down the road,
Sue and Lisa are approaching Dong Loc,
one of the main junctions on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
During the war, this was a target for American bombers.
Today it's a place of national pride and mourning.
Look at that lovely, lovely temple.
He was going at a lick, wasn't he? This is a shrine, not a motorway.
A roadside stall is selling offerings for the remembered dead.
Please may I have one of these or do I take two of these?
We take two, we want one each and burn them.
A couple of these. Do you want to burn a mobile phone?
No, not particularly. I'd sooner do that
in a sort of what-I-know kind of level,
and perhaps some chrysanthemums.
So, I guess this is where we burn our sparklers.
Hello. Do you speak English?
Yes. Hi, there.
We were wondering what we should do with all these things to be respectful.
So, you pray and then you burn everything. Yeah. OK. OK.
Everything on top? Yeah. The incense smells amazing.
This one, the flowers, you put on here.
So, what does it say up there, please?
Thousands of bombs were dropped on the road,
but 30% of them failed to explode.
It was the job of women to mark the unexploded bombs with flags,
and in 1968, ten young women were tragically killed here
while trying to keep the road open.
So, to Westerners it's quite odd that some of the things you burn
are mobile phones and sunglasses,
this is all because in the next life...
I genuinely didn't know how to feel about that.
It seems very, very alien.
I felt like I didn't know what to do.
And in that situation I feel really disrespectful
because I don't want to be seen to be mocking it, and I'm not.
It's culturally so kind of confusing
to take up these stacks of fake money,
and I didn't know the form.
That's why all worship is a bit confusing if it's not your thing.
Sorry, I cannot... Oh, man.
You all right? Well done.
Think that was a slight education for all of us, including the pup.
It's good, though, driving here, your brain is fully left and right activated.
It's just things come out from the jungle either side.
Buffalo, cats, dogs, farmers, all sorts.
The most remote and challenging sections of the road
lie across the border in neighbouring Laos,
and that is where Sue and Liza are now heading.
This is just heaven.
It's magic, it really is magic.
So, these plugs of limestone have popped up,
and then what's fallen away in between them?
So, limestone, you've got these fissures,
so the rain gets in and it breaks it away in these sort of sheer faces.
The Truong Son mountain range
forms a natural boundary between the two countries,
and they have to climb up through heavily forested mountains
to reach the border.
Amazing that we've just gone one mountain in,
and it's already so visually different.
Yeah. You get a sense of what Laos' going to be like now.
During the war,
the road was extended by the North Vietnamese into Laos.
It became a vital route for arms and ammunition going south.
So, this is the Laos border,
and I'm officially, by about six, seven feet, in another country.
We left Vietnam, we had to change cars,
because you can't take those cars into this country.
We'll use these until we get back down to the Vietnam border
later on in the journey.
I don't know what to expect for the next few days,
but nobody said it's going to be easy.
Laos is a far poorer country than Vietnam,
and it's immediately obvious from the condition of the roads.
It's just gone from nice highway to red, dusty track, hasn't it?
As soon as you go over the border, it changes.
I guess there isn't the money for it, is there?
At the border, the road is forced through a narrow gap
in the mountains called the Mu Gia Pass.
The road became so effective during the war that it was here in 1966
that the US launched the biggest bombing mission since World War II.
You can see all the blast marks in the rock up there.
This feels properly like an adventure now.
I'm sort of so bewildered by the landscape.
It's so beautiful, it's hard to concentrate on the road,
but the beauty is so undercut by sadness all the time.
It's so peaceful.
You just hear the frogs and the crickets and the birds, nothing else.
And just sitting in this landscape now, you'd have no clue
that just a few decades ago this was the most bombed place on earth.
That it was just a channel
through which endless fighter planes dropped ordnance
that smashed into the rocks,
that burnt all the foliage to nothing.
They even thought about nuking the whole place.
Just a basin of horror,
and the reason they were doing all this
and the reason they flew through this landscape
is because of that aperture you can see in the distance.
All the trucks, all the soldiers,
everything had to go through that pass.
Morning rush hour on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Sue and Liza are now in a Buddhist country,
and getting a blessing from a local monk
is meant to ensure their safety on the road ahead.
MONK CHANTS RITUALLY
OK, welcome to Laos.
Got the soggiest pants in Southeast Asia right now. It's like we're on a ship.
Do you know, I feel really honoured about that.
That was really lovely.
I just didn't bank on getting quite as wet as I have.
In the coming days, they'll need all the help they can get.
The Ho Chi Minh Trail has hundreds of river crossings,
and Sue and Liza are about to confront their first big one.
Right, Sue, this looks like it might be quite fierce.
I've never crossed a river in a car. This is going to be excellent.
A sort of a mini-Niagara going on.
What's making me laugh is this is the shallow pool and then you've got the deep pool
where the grown-ups are,
unless the water buffalo have suddenly got this small.
Right. I think we can do it, no problem.
This fella, look, he's doing it on the bike.
They're doing it on a boat, look!
Into first, that's it.
Right, good luck.
Really strong current.
Yeah, you can do it, I know you can do it.
It knocked my bloody...
I'm cured, I'm cured!
My god, it's knocked some sense into me.
I feel alive again!
I'm starving and I think I've probably got a bit of sunstroke.
I've got away with it, apart from the tops of my ears.
I, actually, am rocking quite a good look,
I don't think I've ever looked this good.
H-O-T doesn't even cover it.
Hot doesn't even cover it.
Look at those two, they look fabulous, don't they?
Well, I like the look of this village.
These villages once bore the brunt of heavy bombing,
and it's left them with some challenging recycling.
To be honest, if I came across a load of bombs,
I'd either run like a girl and/or wee myself.
I wouldn't think, "Here's an interior design opportunity,"
which is what the people of Laos seem to have done.
It's Grand Designs in a military vein.
Because what they've done is they've taken all the ordnance
they could find, once it's been defused,
and they've just adapted it to improve their living conditions.
So you've got cluster bombs here, which are providing shade.
I've also seen cluster bombs which have been used as stilts,
so are supporting the building.
But everywhere you go, there's invention.
See the old use with things like this for your pig?
You've got the feed for the pig, this big old boy here. I've got nothing for you, mate.
He's lovely looking, isn't he? Very handsome.
And then up there, you've got some growing out of an old bomb.
The war ended nearly four decades ago,
but there are still people in these villages that lived through it.
Mr Pong, lovely to meet you, sir.
Do you remember when you were a boy when they started to use,
the Vietnamese started to use the Ho Chi Minh Trail?
And how did the geography change?
For example, we've got the mountains in the background,
and I imagine that they were all changed with the bombing, too?
There's very little land that's safe to farm,
so people here risk collecting ordnance for scrap.
Some even hoard live bombs beneath their homes.
Since the war ended, 20,000 people in Laos
have been killed by unexploded bombs.
Even now, between 200 and 400 people,
most of them children, lose their lives to UXBs every year.
The roadside accommodation is proving to be interesting.
It seems it's not just bed and breakfast on offer.
That looks like a brothel to me.
Yeah, it's a Christmas-themed brothel.
It's a grotto brothel.
Yeah, Santa's own whorehouse.
Oh, look at that, come on in.
The fairy lights are up, the grog's on the go,
the rice wine with the deer hoof is ready.
Come and brothel it up in here.
This part of Laos had no roads
connecting the villages before the Ho Chi Minh Trail was built.
Now the road is central to village life.
Just days into their journey,
Sue and Liza seem to have settled into their respective roles.
Darling, I've done your washing.
Would you like me to hang it out in the back of the car?
If you could. OK. I'm just doing some basic car mechanics.
And then what I thought I'd do is I'd sort of mitre off some wood.
OK. And create a nice bench seat for us.
I have a herb rack. Have you?
I'll be right back.
Take care. It really doesn't work like that.
Right, for those people who don't know much about a car engine,
you've got your brake snake there,
you've got a couple of litres of cola there.
That's wi-fi there. Liza's drying her smalls in that.
Clearing Laos' unexploded bombs didn't start until the 1990s,
and today only a tiny fraction of its land has been made safe.
Markers by the roadside are used to signify the level of risk,
and red means danger.
This is dangerous, actually. The bombs are very near the road here,
which, of course, was the point, wasn't it?
Please stay in the middle.
In the middle.
Four decades later, some of the very people who tried to destroy
the Ho Chi Minh Trail are returning to it.
Interesting that they've come back, actually,
so there's obviously something within them. Well, we'll find out, I guess.
Well, wouldn't you want to come back, though? I would. Yeah.
Do they come back because they feel guilty?
Do they come back because they want to connect to their past?
Because it makes it all right for them?
In the East they do pilgrimages, don't they?
And I think it's about that.
That they need to put some things to bed
and learn some things along the journey and honour their chums.
Sue and Liza have heard of two American veterans
here to meet up with their old enemies.
Roger Van Dyken and George Buchkowski were part of the top-secret Misty squadron.
Dedicated to disrupting supplies coming down the trail,
they would fly low and fast to identify enemy targets.
Almost a third of Misty pilots were shot down.
It's hard to use the term "beauty" when dealing with war,
but it's been one of the, I can say joys, of now getting together
with our former enemies, because we can both identify with the conflict
and nobody can quite understand like we understand one another.
Even though we were on opposite sides,
there's a common camaraderie that occurs quite quickly.
Because you're trained to take orders
and you don't question them and you do,
there's a sense of national pride.
There's nothing personal. That shows that both sides have gone
a long way to forgive the hostilities that we had back then,
and I feel like we've bonded with several of these people
that we've talked to. It's just absolutely amazing.
So, if nothing else, we've made some progress here,
it's certainly helped me.
Just one example of that, down the road here,
a US airman was shot down.
We met last night with the head of that nine-gun crew that shot him down.
One member of that crew
went to visit his son in the United States,
and while he was there
he went to Arlington National Cemetery
and prayed at the grave of the person he shot down.
And you met last night and you can all talk about it. Yup.
So, you feel for your own loss, you feel for their loss and that's reciprocated.
Exactly. That's why "slowly" is a key word.
You have to process that and come around
to acknowledge we did terrible things to one another
and at times we were terrible people in a terrible conflict,
but now is a time to forgive one another and move on.
It was lovely to meet you both. Thank you so much. A real pleasure.
Thank you. Thank you.
I did find it very emotional.
Yes. I found his insight really profound.
They were just kids when they were flying over here,
and the whole of their adult life's been spent
dealing with what they did as kids.
When I think of when I was their sort of age, I was just...
Were you not doing the same but different?
I was drinking two litres of cider at the top of a car park
crying about a boy called Richard.
They were flying...you know...planes over Vietnamese mountains
and rescuing their comrades.
I mean, I haven't got over Richard, on some level,
and they've managed to get over, you know,
they've managed to get over...
..sort of, one of the worst conflicts of the 20th century.
Look at the butterflies, Sue!
It's just amazing!
Look at these guys, we're being followed by a line of them.
There are hardly any other cars on the road, but mini tractors
called tok-toks are used to work the land and get people around.
It's like Wacky Races.
Sue and Liza have been on the road for nearly a week now,
but they're not even halfway yet.
Stop annoying me, stop really annoying me.
Stop doing the spider on my knee.
Well, what's a shame is that they've got two women in a car and all they've done is bicker.
You know I'm ticklish on my knee,
and all you're doing is the spider on the kneecap.
I'm trying to put it into fourth.
What, by doing that? Who changes gear doing that?
Wow, this is a bit of a viewpoint, I think.
Look at the colour of that!
What the hell was that?
This powdery road, it's like driving on cocoa powder.
Now we have another little turn.
Do you think it's down and round or straight on?
That's very powdery there, whereas that looks more compacted.
There's a few cobbles there, so there you go.
Good work, Perky.
Are there cobbles there? Yeah.
I think, yeah, 12-point turn here,
you'll be able to do it.
If you have to turn the car around on this road, there is no margin for error.
Sue, very uncomfortable.
With what? With these turns.
What, because of UXBs?
Well, yeah, actually, because,
I think there's a level of slack comes in as you get used to it.
And all the trees round here have got red lines on them saying,
"Don't come in!"
I realise... There's just nowhere to turn.
I know, what can you do?
Fuck it, I tell you what, they're really draining to do when it's this hot.
Oh, look, they're looking for mines.
She's got her faithful little dog with her.
What's intriguing me there is...
It's woman's work.
No, it's a little bit near the bleedin' road.
Yeah. And there's no markers.
The average wage in Laos is just $3 a day,
so some people risk searching through danger zones
with metal detectors to make a living.
And this is a metal detector.
Are you looking for explosives
and bombs are or you just looking or metal?
Do you worry that this work is very dangerous?
Have you heard of people being injured doing your work
and hurt and killed?
Could we look in your basket and see what you've managed to find today?
Steady, Sue, there.
Yeah, interesting. We've got this kind of thing here.
This is the fin of a cluster bomb...
..which they jokingly call a pineapple.
When you start to dig, how do you know whether it's a bit of old motorcycle or whether it's a bomb?
How much money do you make to do this job?
Do you mind telling us how old you are?
Do you know how old you are?
I wish you all the safety, be very careful.
Thank you very much. And thank you.
It's really good to speak to you, thank you.
I was astounded they didn't know how old they were,
because, of course, that's not really that relevant.
It's, sort of, surplus to requirements, birthdays and all that,
just crack on, get on with it.
There's more important things to do
like finding where the next meal's coming from.
Oh, what's this?
Nana foot. Oh, my goodness,
that's a bloomin' interesting bridge, isn't it?
Just bits of timber piled up.
That's impressive, isn't it?
And look, it looks like there was a bridge there but it's collapsed!
I love it!
God, I tell you what's interesting as well,
doing it in a 4x4, with modern-day suspension, allegedly,
that we've probably knackered,
but if you were in trucks, army trucks, bikes or on foot,
and still you're managing to get everything where it's meant to be.
And it's a nice road.
Very. So, we're near the mine.
Yes, I'd have thought.
This is money. There's money in this road.
This is the yellow brick road. There's gold in them there hills!
Sue and Liza are approaching the Sepon gold and copper mine.
The existing road can't cope
with the number of huge lorries accessing the mine.
But before any work can begin to widen the road,
the land must be cleared of unexploded bombs.
Magnus Ahlstrom and his team have been called in.
You want us to follow you into a site where there are possible
unexploded ordnance now?
You will walk on cleared area, all the time, but the surroundings,
there can be UXOs.
So, we basically stick to the path, follow you guys. Yes. Do not deviate.
No. Otherwise trouble.
Do we get to wear a hat? Yeah, sure.
I won't be going to have a look at the danger UXB.
It's a funny old thing, and call me a wuss if you want to,
but as we were coming through the pass, it's the first time we had
any juice on our phones, and suddenly a waft of texts etc came through.
I got 11, three or four of which all said to me, from different mates,
"I hope you're not taking any unnecessary risks."
And then I've been presented with one,
which, because we're on a roll, and we're on a big story,
and we've been going, "War, war, war!"
this is a magnificent thing to follow up,
and how wonderful that people are doing it.
I'm a pansy blooming presenter-broadcaster from England.
I'm not Ross Kemp.
We were going through the safety chat,
and I was a bit gung-ho, because I thought, "Ooh, steel cap boots
"and hi-vis jackets, and, ooh, all that sort of stuff."
Got me, you know, quite pumped up,
and then Magnus, off camera, just pointed out
that there are two unexploded 750lb bombs within 100 metres of here,
and suddenly the bravado has really gone
and I just look like somebody who auditioned for the Village People
and didn't quite make the grade.
So, yeah, genuinely really queasy, plus the fact that, you know,
Liza's very perceptive and when she says, "This is dangerous,"
you know, I kind of hear it and part of me thinks, "Why am I doing it?"
What am I trying to prove to myself or to everybody else?
And yet here I am. So, we'll see, I guess.
Please hold on to the fence.
Yeah, no, I'm not going to mess around.
Not overly convinced by the construction of that fence.
Stay away from the edge.
So, how many pounds is this one?
When you're working with a bomb, what kind of safety equipment do you have?
None. Helmet and boots.
Because there's no equipment in the world that would stop... Nah, won't help you.
You'd vaporise, presumably.
Yeah, you're going to become dust.
So, ironically, your hat and boots would be all that remain.
No, not even that.
So, it would vaporise rubber and steel toecaps, everything.
So, say, you have to do a controlled explosion,
what's the procedure for that?
Yeah, we have to move all living creatures
surrounding about 1,000 metres away from here and block roads.
I have to direct the blast, because the pressure's going out somewhere,
probably go in the bush here and down to the river,
need to seal off the river here, so there's not going to be boats or anything.
I go over there and put some C4 on it,
and a cable, we move away.
And then... Bang.
And you will hear if it goes bang.
You've worked all round the world, all the major trouble spots of the world,
have you found that this has been the most...?
Yeah, this is the most bombed place on the planet.
And how long do you estimate it would take to clear Laos?
You'd probably need like a million people or something.
And how long would a million people take. Oh, man!
A lifetime? Yeah.
So, why do you think this particular point on the Ho Chi Minh Trail took so much ordnance?
Just here is because there's a river crossing.
You smash the bridges.
Really close to the road.
That sort of gives me pause for thought,
because we're driving that road.
There's this huge bomb just yay far from it.
It's easy when you're doing long distances
to be quite cavalier and not think it's dangerous. Yeah.
Because it's hidden, everything is hidden.
They're just everywhere. Expect the unexpected.
Thank you, Magnus. Right, much as it's been an education,
it's not my natural habitat, so I'm going to, I don't know,
go and go somewhere a bit more ladylike. Yeah.
Is this a good way, or that way?
No, don't go in there, follow the road down here.
I've never been on a trip that's made me feel so conflicted
and so brain-fugged, because half of me, it's all about,
my mind is filled with war and destruction and fear and disbelief
that this beautiful landscape, superficially,
kind of draws you in with its gorgeousness,
but it's just rotten with toxins and shrapnel and ordnance underneath,
and the other part of me is trying to be a bit more Southeast Asian
and a little less me, actually, and trying to say,
well, you can dwell on that,
or you can just look at what the guys are doing here, piece by piece,
you know, clod of clay by clod of clay, trying to make it better.
So, Magnus was quite the sex bomb,
everyone within 100 metres of his blast radius
was pretty much sucked in.
Were you sucked in, Sue? I was a bit in the sense,
and I'm ashamed to say this to you,
but thought, "I just want to lie my head next to you,
"just for an evening, because I'd feel safe there."
Look at that!
Let's just enjoy that.
That is beautiful.
Let's just look at the scenery
and think this is the most beautiful place.
This is a beautiful, ladylike country, buggered by war.
Sue and Liza now face
one of the most challenging sections of the road,
400km of jungle, dirt tracks and river crossings
from the Sepon mine down to the Vietnam border.
But first, they have a big river to cross.
The thing is with this river crossing is that if it all goes
horribly wrong, at least we'll be spared another night in a brothel.
Oh, there is that.
There's a part of me that'd rather be washed downstream
than have another night's accommodation like last night's.
Oh, yeah, that's doable.
They've been told that vehicles do cross the river here,
but they need to take a closer look before risking it.
Because once you've negotiated the fallen trees, UXOs, rocks,
I don't think there's going to be much of a problem.
This is shite.
And then it gets really deep there.
Oh, god, yeah.
Really deep there.
There is no way we'll get over there without stalling.
The thing is not knowing what's in the middle of it. Yeah, exactly.
So, I'm going to go human dipstick and see how deep it is. Lovely.
Oh, man, there are some very odd rocks here.
That's good! LIZA LAUGHS
This was in my contract. I said, "Whatever you do,
"make sure there's a calendar opportunity."
This is Sue, she's April.
She's 42. These are her own breasts, as you can tell from the natural sag.
What's the depth like?
What do you think it's like?! I'm a dipstick, it's up to here.
Like I'm going to drive it! I'm not. Why do you think I've gone in here?
Despite the bravado, they girls have to consider another option.
Failing to get across here could mean losing the car
and risking the whole trip.
I understand we're in a 4x4, but I'm slipping all over the shop
and there's this huge patch where there's just nothing,
and however exciting it might be for a millisecond,
the idea of the car actually filling with water...
It's not exciting.
We should check out this other river crossing.
There's a sign back there that says "Death Falls this way,"
so I suppose we're going to the right spot. Of course we are.
There's the river. Doesn't look as bad as the other one, does it?
Let's start this!
Nicely done, nicely done.
You all right? Yeah. I'm just keeping it right up the river.
Straight, straight, straight.
You've done something wonderful there, Miss Perkins,
Do you know what? I'm going to cross the Thames like that.
I've had enough of the Underground. We want to go north to south, we'll go that way.
Let's not even discuss the fact that we're probably leaking quite a lot of fuel.
Ooh, this is a bit tricky, actually.
This is a bit tricky. Stop, let me have a look.
Go down further to the left. Wait a minute, madam.
MOUTHS WORDS SILENTLY
Oh, I've left my effing brolly.
Yeah, I want you...
Whoa, whoa, right up.
Bit more. That's looking pretty good,
just come forward a bit so you've cleared that.
Spot on, and then it's a...
We're probably going to have to go up on that boulder, though,
because I think it's too high for us to...
No, no you'll just make it, you just need to skirt that.
There is enough room. Can you do it, are you all right? Yeah, yeah, I'm fine to do it.
So, I'm going either side of it, you mean? No.
Now I'm going this way, to the right of the boulder.
Don't go too right, because you don't want...
That's when your steering will flip out of your control.
Right the steering wheel. That's it, right the steering wheel,
keep the steering wheel straight, and now...
Round that way, darling.
Oh, right, god, sorry,
couldn't see where the road was, sorry.
I thought we were going up there cos I'm a fucking idiot. Get back a bit.
That's good, that's OK.
Good work, very good work.
Even on this mud track,
any deviation carries a huge risk.
Along this remote part of the trail,
only a tiny fraction of the surrounding land
has been cleared of unexploded bombs.
Not that track, please.
No, no, no, I'm just, you know...
No, no, I'm aware of UXB-ing, so, you know what I mean?
It's what I'm good at.
So am I. I'm not going to try and kill you.
After six hours picking her way across some of the trail's toughest sections,
Sue's had enough.
OK, do you want to swap driving? Yep.
Sue and Liza are on the most remote part of the trail.
Very few people come this way, and westerners are a real rarity.
It's been a hard slog, and the girls decide to take a quick break.
We might chomp on a few hot nuts.
Uh-oh. What? Act normal.
Hello, boys. Hello, darling.
Sabadee. Sabadee. Sabadee. Sabadee. Sabadee.
Do you want some nuts? Any news?
Quite scared by your massive knife,
but I'm going to give you some peanuts and hope you won't use it.
Yeah, he's put it away.
There you go, sweetheart. That's great.
Love the look of you.
I know a few people who would kill for a chest like...
Lovely, lovely chest. lovely musculature. Very pretty.
I see you ogling my jugs, as well.
Yeah, he's having a right good look at yours.
What's in there? Can I have a look in there?
It's basically intestines, isn't it, so do I think?
Actually, that might be chicken.
Is it? SHE CLUCKS
Yeah? Is that a yes? Yeah. Which could mean...
Yeah, they're mental.
See you later, then, lads.
Bye, then. Bye.
They were both really beautiful.
Whoa, there goes the bottom of this poor thing.
I look like an expendable crew member in Star Trek.
I just ate the ceiling of the car.
It's not over yet, Susan.
Yeah, they've requested at the funeral
that Slip Sliding Away be played.
# You know the nearer your destination
# The more you slip sliding away
# I know a woman... #
Oh, that's a bit annoying.
Are you stuck? Yeah.
I'll go and push.
Britain's weakest woman is on push duty.
I'm gonna reverse.
That really smells bad.
This is the only occasion where I've ever thought we might need Jeremy Clarkson.
Why have you mentioned him?
Problem we've got is there's no grip in the tyres,
they're all absolutely ram packed full of the clay.
Even on the road, there is real danger.
Churning up mud on the track can be lethal,
as bombs are only cleared down to a depth of 50cm.
You see, I don't want to touch anything from the side
in case 500 bombies fall down.
Rev, rev, rev.
It'll be dark in less than an hour.
If they don't want to spend the night in the jungle,
they must get moving.
We're getting more traction.
Yeah, we're going to be all right. Just...
Here we go. You can do it. You can do it.
That's flat out on the accelerator, that.
There we go.
I tell you, it just makes a mockery of all the lovely ladies
taking their kids to school in a 4x4.
All rich people driving Chelsea tractors
should be made to do the Ho Chi Minh Trail before they're allowed...
Before they're even allowed.
All those precious yummy mummies.
Delightful people all.
Where did they come from?
Look at them legging it!
Sabadee! BOTH: Sabadee!
Eventually, they make it through
and link up with one of Laos' brand new highways.
This is one of several massive road-building projects
that connects Laos with Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
On the final leg of Sue and Liza's journey,
they hope to make it out of Laos and back over the border into Vietnam.
Da Nang and the beaches of the South China Sea
will mark the end of their journey.
The girls are determined to make it in one day, so they're up early.
At the moment, it's looking like we'll have to go to the beach.
FUNKY MUSIC PLAYS
We love that one.
We nearly there yet?
The first part of today's journey
takes them through a part of Laos that was once dense forest.
Look at these big boys.
Logging, logging, logging.
Now, that's interesting, boys.
Those beautiful trees.
To get to the border, they're going to have to compete
with heavily loaded logging trucks hauling hardwood into Vietnam.
That lorry could topple over there.
God, I don't want to see that, thank you.
We're going to be in a log sandwich in a minute.
OK, burn this.
God we've just hit the logging trail.
Oh, hello, our bloke's showing us how it's done, on a blind bend.
Good god. Oh, my god.
That doesn't look good at all.
And it's right next to a slightly smoky... Oh, god!
That looked like a fatality to me.
Just when you get blase,
you get a sobering reminder like that upturned logging truck.
Just... It's not worth pushing it.
Look at its magnificence.
Rolling forests just so gladden the eye.
I'm going to have the best wee ever at the border.
Not right on the border, though, as they tend to take offence at that.
I think that was one of the dos and don'ts, wasn't it, don't urinate at the border?
The girls are forced to stop at the border,
but they are both keen to get moving
if they're going to make it to the coast today.
It's going to be faster and noisier once we're on the road there.
I'm going to get horny. As soon as I pass that,
I'm bipping that thing.
Anything coming at me,
whether it be livestock or a massive great logging truck,
I'm going to horn the hell out of it.
This is ridiculous, isn't it?
It's just deserted. This is like the M25 but with nobody on it.
And nobody on it for miles as far as the eye can see.
So, who's it for? is it just to go, "We're communists, hear us roar?!"
This is the new Ho Chi Minh Highway, built on top of the original trail.
Just 15 years ago, this area was also pristine forest,
but it's been stripped of its timber,
and now coffee, tea and rubber grow here.
Do you think I'm a bad driver?
No, because I wouldn't have done this with you, you fruit.
Who you calling a fruit?
You bloody fruit. Who are you calling a fruit?
I could have you. I could take you to a tribunal. Take me.
That's what you want, isn't it?
You're just trying to get me into your lair.
# Sue me, sue me
# What can you do me?
# I love you. #
That's on camera now.
It's a song from a film!
Come on, mate. What are you doing?
This guy is absolutely stupid as all hell.
Get right up the side of him. I'm going to open the blimmin' door on him if he keeps it up.
I've got a Vietnamese driving license, have you?
That'll show him(!)
Susan, your blood's up, isn't it?
I was hoping for a bit of... Do you know what I mean,
you think it'll be all easy now, a nice little run into the beach.
Don't be silly. Have we, heck!
As the light fades, Sue and Liza
are still miles from the beach, their hotel
and the end of their journey.
Not another bus. Oh!
THEY SCREAM PLAYFULLY
150,000 miles an hour.
We've both taken an absolute pounding.
It's like a game of pinball,
with cars and livestock and buses just randomly fired in all kinds of directions,
and you have to try and weave your way.
Just when you think, "Surely I've reached the next level," no, you haven't.
Who's this with full beams on?
Christ almighty, they are willing you to fail
at all times, drivers here, aren't they?
Oi-oi-oi-oi. My god!
Single file, darling, and your buffalo.
Oh, baby, baby, baby, careful. Oh!
It doesn't really become about preserving your own life,
it becomes desperate tension about not wanting to kill anything else.
Is he drunk? Has he got a kid on the back?
Oh, Jesus. What are you doing?
There's three kids just...
Oh, my god, the eldest is, what, 14, driving that bike?
Finally, after ten gruelling days, Sue and Liza reach sanctuary,
and the end of their Ho Chi Minh adventure.
We've gone from dirt tracks and indigenous peoples,
from scantily-clad men with machetes and baskets of chicken guts
staring at our boobs
to mellow surroundings where everyone's dressed in pastels asking if you're OK
and would you like a shiatsu?
Come on, Perkins.
I've absolutely loved it,
and I think every single bit of it has been important,
the good and bad.
We actually journeyed through history,
we got to bump along the same tracks that trucks bumped along 40 years ago.
Got very tired about talking about the war
because it was sort of contradictory
to what we were actually witnessing, which is an extraordinary recovery
by extraordinary people, be it in Vietnam or be it in Laos.
Liza drove me utterly, utterly insane.
We had a real laugh.
And I couldn't have wished for a better person to do it with.
Sue is fabulous and I drove her potty.
I told her, "I'm going to drive you mad.
"I don't know how or when or for how long, but I will drive you mad."
I had a wonderful time.
It wasn't the wonderful time I thought I'd have,
but it so far exceeded that
with its depth and its range and its character and its memories
that I feel really blessed, actually. Really, truly, blessed.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd