Day 9 Days to go 1071 – It’s 1.17pm friday 9/12/11 and I’m two kilometers outside of chaing sawn distance travelled 64.4k so far. I think I’ll push on further today given the amount of rice noodles and tofu I ate lat night with leftovers for breaky. The remaining bananas from yesterday have done the trick topping up half way. There’s something about carbs that gives your body the extra kick I wish my body didn’t hate the rice starch but bugga thank goodness for senakot lol. The ride this mornings been great very hot but a real dry heat and a head wind eeeeeeek all good but. There’s something very special about exchanging “Sa mat dii kah’s ” all morning with locals. It’s a middle of the chest cool feeling and the time passes so quickly all the while feeling uplifted and positive or maybe it’s the carbs (just joking). I was Noticing this Morning what a mix of tradition and modern there is about amongst the people in their day to say. Of course technology is all around but other things like people now using a moped to pull an old cart along as opposed to an ox. It’s a mix mash something similar to what I’ve seen in places like turkey. It’s very interesting that’s for sure and no matter where you stop and people watch there’s always something intriguing and peculiar to enjoy. Of course religion is ever present. Mae chan this morning I passed this monastery that was shrined with all sorts of animal statues and mosaics rosters being the main feature, elephants, dogs, monkeys and a great place to stop for a banana break. I got out the lonely planet and read up more about the religion. The following info is respectfully borrowed from their guide on the greater Mekong. Apparently most family lives are married to Theravada Buddhism which is fused very much with animist rituals. For example people offer drink and furniture at shrines so that the spirits will bring them good fortune and smooth daily life . That explains why I have seen pieces of fruit etc with burning incense left at shrines positioned across towns and rural areas. Every Thai male becomes monk in the local wat for at least 3 months. On my first night staying with the rural family the young man was explaining to me that he worked in the church. Anyway very interesting. I read further about how they described the local people as laid back good natured living by a philosophy of sa- nuk or fun and that every task is measured on the sa-nuk meter. I love it!!!!!!!! Apparently the culture is tougher to unravel respectfully but the guiding principles are naa (face) and elder junior hierarchy. Thais believe strongly in saving face. Religion and the monarchy are the cultures sacred cows ( Ray et al. 2009). Anyway onto Chiang Sean and well see how far the day ends. TBC
It’s 12.12pm Saturday 10/12/11 and I’ve made my way to Chiang Kong this morning. What an amazing day yesterday . I ended up doing 102km mostly flat. I had thought I may be able to do the 123ks to chaing kong but the last 23 km was all up and down but the scenery amazing. At Chang Saen the road picks up the Mekong what a buzz seeing it first up awesome knowing were going to be buddies for a while. The land changed green green rice fields plantations and folk working the land busy with their day. I stopped at a small village and bought my first red pawpaw omg. It was then onto the hills and I didn’t get far free that . I was pushing ruby up a particularly nasty section when I came across a tea plantation with the usual roadside store selling its products . The young man working the store came and helped me pushy bike but at the top of the hill I could see what was still to come. He asked at the house if I could pitch my tent and the family welcomed me into the their home. I ate and enjoyed their hospitality soooooooooo special. The food was amazing a mixture of meet dishes with Thai spices lime leaf chili yum. They understood I was a vegetarian as the meat pieces. Gathered on my plate so next arrived this huge omelet just for me soooooo yummy and gone. Cumquats for desert and oolong tea local grown there’s a traditional way to serve and savor the aroma which I followed suit. The young man’s name is seng
And he has learnt English by listening to karaoke music how cool. He was app lovely and shared his background doing monastery and military service and studying economics at university. There were also two fronds staying there Dave from Seattle who teaches English on chaing Rai and Any Pap from nearby Phan who makes and supplies salt and runs a restaurant. They explained further how if you volunteer for military service you do 1 year only otherwise you go into a lottery and if you get picked you have to do 2 years. There is another scheme shock seng did where military sevice and university is combined. Anyway this was an amazing evening spent and this morning after sharing breakfast I headed to Chiang kong. Beautiful ride along the Mekong all the way crossing overland as the river winds. I’ve checked into immigration had my passport stamped to depart and now onto loas to the border town of Hauy Xai. I couldn’t leave Thai without sending the traditional postcard to my friend and found a cafe with Internet to update the blog. It’s a bit wierd now to be leaving Thailand. It’s been a short stay but the people I met opened their hearts and welcomes me at a time of transition and significance for me.i feel I have been looked out for and I am so thankful to the Thai people for this gift. Time to upload this and photos onto the Internet, post my postcard and catch the boat to laos. See ya Thailand you have been awesome. Talk soon x PS tried to upload photos but the internet is tooooo clow or that so this will have to wait til next opportunity xxxxxxxxxx
Photos uploaded. Talk soon!!